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Bakelite Color, Pattern, and Texture Guide


The world of bakelite isn't as intimidating as it may seem. One part of understanding it better is to know the terminology for colors and patterns. Knowing how to recognize the colors of bakelite will make it easier to identify and distinguish from other vintage plastics.

1. Solid Color

There are over 100 individual colors of Balkelite know including pink, violet, and turquois. It is hard to know the true color because oxidation is so common that a piece that was once a brilliant turquois will now apperar green.  Colors come in either transparent, translucent, or opaque forms.

2. Marbled

Marbled Bakelite is a compination of any two or more solid colors in a swirled pattern.

3. Applejuice

Applejuice Bakelite is simply clear Bakelite that has oxidized to an pale amber color.

4. Stardust

Transparent Bakelite with flecks of metalic is called "stardust". Flecks can range in size from confetti to fine glitter. Stardust is most often found in applejuice Bakelite.

5. End of Day

Photo: EraPhernalia via Flickr

So that nothing went to waste, any Bakelite left over at the end of the day was melted together and molded. The result was strange combinations of marbled bakelite, or muddled solid colors. End of Day Balkelite was also called "Jazz" or "Variegated".

6. Carved/Reverse Carved

Bakelite is easily carved by both hand and machine. The most common carvings on the outside surfaces are leaf and flower motiefs. Reverse carved is when the carving is on the inside surface. Recesses of reverse carved surfaces are often painted.

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