This afternoon I started experimenting with my new nappy (diaper) liners which I had read were fun to heat treat and use in mixed media art.
I have read that for UK users, the best brand is Boots’ own brand, as other makes do not melt so well. Not sure about the USA.
I’ve got 2 packs of 100 each, and they are nice and big, so I’ll be playing for years!! They are quite cheap. I cut one into quarters and experimented with three of these pieces.
I used my Pebeo fluid acrylic paints as I thought they’d soak into the fabric quite well. I mixed the blue and green to form the turquoise colour, and used the other two colours neat.
Using a fairly broad brush, I coated the first piece really well – so well in fact that it soaked right through onto my craft mat and made quite a mess!
I kept some areas as pure colour, and deliberately mixed them up a bit where they abutted.
I used the first of the other two pieces (on the right in the next photo) to soak up most of the excess paint, not moving it around too much, so that the colours would remain separate. There was still quite a bit of mess after I’d done this, so I took the other piece and just cleaned up with it, not being careful to keep the colours separate, but deliberately mixing them up, to see what effect it had. In this photo, you can see that the paint has brought out the texture of the fabric a bit.
I melted the original piece first, the one with the most paint on it, using my heat gun, and holding the fabric down with a wooden barbecue stick. The paint did seem to protect the fabric from the heat quite a lot, and I think in future, I shall not paint direct onto the fabric prior to melting, but apply it to my craft mat and soak it up, as I did on the second piece. Anyway, the melting was OK:
There are some nice holes, particularly in the middle where there’s a bit less paint, and the surface has crinkled into a quite nice texture.
The second sample was the most satisfactory of the three. I am very pleased with how subtle the colours are, and how they’ve blended. There’s a nice overall pattern of holes.
The third piece is more subtle again, of course, because I made no attempt to keep the colours separate. It also melted and distorted a lot more quickly because the smaller quantity of paint protected the surface less than on the other pieces.
I laid these two onto a piece of scrap black card, and I really like this effect – I shall probably mount them on black, as it shows the holes nicely, and really brings out the colours.
I decided not to mess with these two samples because I like them and didn’t want to spoil them, so I used the first sample to do some experimenting with, adding different surface treatments to see what they looked like. Here it is with different treatments on the different areas of the sample.
Unfortunately the photo doesn’t do it justice – as always, it’s extremely difficult to get any iridescent, shiny or glittery surfaces to photograph adequately. I took several close-ups which I hope show it a bit better.
The first one shows the yellow corner with gold embossing. I took my Versamark pad and rubbed it gently over the surface of the sample, taking care not to press too hard as I wanted the embossing only on the surface. I then sprinkled on gold embossing powder and shook off the excess, and then heated it with my heat gun.
The additional heat didn’t seem to affect the fabric any further – I was careful to stop heating immediately the embossing powder started to melt. It’s quite a nice, bright effect.
Next, I selected the purple corner, and with my fingertip, lightly applied some gold Rub’n’Buff, taking care not to press too hard down into the texture. I continued rubbing gently until it buffed to a nice bright shine.
I continued with Rub’n’Buff on the upper green corner of the sample, using first gold, then silver, and then copper.
Finally, on the lower green corner, I did some more heat-embossing, this time with my Cosmic Shimmer embossing powder in the colour Aurora Crystal Sparkle, which looks like white glitter in the pot. When applied to colour, it picks up the colour of the sample underneath, and in this case it’s the most glorious bright shimmery glittery green surface, again just on the raised part of the texture. I wish the photos did it justice!
I took another of this part, from a lower angle, hoping to pick up the sparkle a bit better – it does show the texture of the sample, though.
This has been the most fun experimental session! Last week I received some Butterfly SoftSpun fabric from Chris Gray – you can read all about it on her blog: http://chris-gray-textile-art.blogspot.com/ – you can order from her. This is a thicker fabric than nappy liners, and comes in A4 sheets. Before starting with that, I wanted to experiment a bit and see how this sort of material behaves, which is why I started on the nappy liners. I think I’ve got the confidence to go ahead with the Butterfly SoftSpun now!
I also asked Chris whether she’d be doing a tutorial on how to make the gorgeous beads she makes with the SoftSpun, and I see she’s done a blog post about it now – thank you Chris!! – unfortunately at the moment Blogger isn’t letting me see any photos grrr… but I can’t wait to learn how to do it!!!
This is soooo much fun…