Thursday, December 8, 2016

Tyvek is such a wonderful material.

Tyvek is a wonderful plastic like material that is used in various ways. The building industry uses it for insulation and it is also used to make those white coveralls that people use for protection. Textile artists like Kim Thittichai also talk a lot about wonderful ways to use it. I love the stuff because it is so unpredictable and I love experimenting with it.  I recently did a demo for my textile group on different ways you can use it.

My favorite way to use it is by creating bubbles with an iron. First I color it using Ranger's distress stains or a light coat of acrylic paint. Then I lightly iron it between two pieces of baking paper. I use the heat of the iron to make the bubbles but I don't press down on it. If you press on it you will get a flat piece of hard surface. You can also use a heat gun to shrink it but the heat gun makes it shrink a lot tighter than the iron does.

This was the piece I made for the demo with various techniques using tyvek.

1. The top circle was layered with organzas and painted tyvek then stitched. I used a heat gun to melt through the layers.
2. The bird was an old painting I scanned and printed out on a medium weight tyvek. I did it with an inkjet printer, not a laser printer that would melt the tyvek and ruin the printer. Later on I added some stitching.
3. Next to the bird I have a bubbled piece of tyvek that has some transfer foil stuck onto the ironed side. After you have ironed the tyvek to make bubbles, lay a piece of transfer foil on top and lightly iron again. The foil sticks to the tyvek like glue. When it is cool peel away the foil sheet and the color should be left behind. You can see in the close up below the foil on the back of the brown area. I also tried it on the front of the blue area. It worked both times. It is a shame you can't see how very shiny it is.
4. Below that is another layered and stitched circle. This one has straight lines for the stitching to see if it was different to the swirls in the first piece.
5. The flower circle was stitched and then I used a wood burning tool to melt away the petals of the flower.
6. The next two small brown circles were colored with the same brown distress stain. The top one was shrunken using a heat gun and the light brown one was ironed. You can see how concentrated the color becomes when it is heat gunned.
7. The next large circle was printed with a swirl pattern and then ironed. I thought it would distort more than it did.
8. Finally I used a die cut machine to cut out the small white flowers. They were about 1 inch (2.5cm) in size until I ironed them and they shrank. They did not shrink evenly but I quite like that look.

I have also used the tyvek on previous artworks that I have shared:

Both of these have tyvek as part of the textured backgrounds. I hope you find some inspiration and use tyvek in your art. You can even glue it onto canvas or in art journals. You may have to google to find out where you can buy it in your country. I got mine from the Australian online store, Thread Studio.

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