It’s a fabulous book packed with the most inspiring illustrations imaginable and great ideas for creating all manner of things with different types of fabrics. Chapter 5 is all about using ‘manipulated methods’, distorting fabric to create form and texture, and includes a beautiful photograph of what looks like decaying seed pods. The caption says they were made from fine-weight Tyvek but, although I loved what I was seeing, it didn’t mean a thing to me! This changed a couple of days later when I was visiting Crafty Notions in Newark and, lo and behold, there on a shelf near the felting supplies, I spotted a bag of Tyvek…fate or what? It seems I was meant to try this stuff out!
So, for the uninitiated, what is Tyvek? Manufactured by DuPont, it’s an extremely durable, man-made fabric, available in different weights. Being light-weight but very tough, breathable and water-resistant, one of its most popular applications is in the construction industry. Other uses include industrial packaging, signage and protective workwear. Its characteristics make it an ideal choice for crafting as it can be coloured using fabric paints, acrylic paint or felt pens. It can also be die-cut, laminated, embossed, printed onto and stitched, but the real fun begins when you apply heat to it. This will cause the fabric to shrink and bubble and, if you apply sufficient concentrated heat, holes will appear creating a beautiful, lacy effect. I found you can produce some fabulous distressed effects using a heat gun, clothes iron or soldering iron (I didn’t have the latter so I simply held a piece of wire in my pliers and heated it over a gas ring!).
Anyway the result is shown below…my take on the Tyvek seed pods. The first image was taken after holding the pod over a gas ring, supported on a spatter guard. The second photo shows the pods after I used the ‘Papermania’ heat tool on them and then added more holes with my home-made soldering iron (hot wire) and added gold metallic thread across some of the larger openings. My mind is racing with ideas for more ‘manipulated’ projects and I am wondering if I can find a way of combining Tyvek with felting….watch this space!