T1-MMT-P1-p3-e1 Fusing plastic – third session

Sample p1-39. The plastic is from a US postal sack. Quite heavy. It looks like woven strips, but in a quick attempt I couldn’t pick it apart, so perhaps it is already fused in some way.

Sample_p1-39. Material

Sample p1-39 Material


Inclusions are plastic drinking straws, cut into little rings, tubes, slivers, and longer bits with the bend in them (accordion folds? linear crumpling?).
Sample_p1-39. Before

Sample p1-39 Before


The iron at my normal silk-to-wool setting had no apparent effect. At a higher setting the postal bag shrivelled up. There was no adhesion of bag to bag. Some of the straw bits and pieces adhered to a layer, but there wasn’t enough flexibility in the bag for the bendy bits to bend (plus they were ironed flat, which impacts bending).
Sample_p1-39. After

Sample p1-39 After


Sample p1-40. Continuing bendy idea, this time with carrier bag (with colour, but turned to back so not too strong, and clear polythene on top.
Sample_p1-40 Before

Sample p1-40 Before


Sample_p1-40 After

Sample p1-40 After


Sample_p1-40 After reverse

Sample p1-40 After – Reverse


Adehesion of layers was good, as expected from earlier samples. A festive, party look, and the colour showing through on the white reverse is quite good too.
When cooled I could get some bend and distortion with just a bit of force and determination.
Sample_p1-40 Bent

Sample p1-40 Bent


It didn’t seem to damage the lamination too much, but enough to show some interesting colour on the back.
Sample_p1-40 Bent reverse detail

Sample p1-40 Bent – Reverse detail


Sample p1-41. I had a roll of material, sold as shelf liner. The top is foil embossed in a grid, the back a thin sheet of plastic flexible foam of some kind???
Sample_p1-41

Sample p1-41


On the left the original material, centre with a light iron on the top only, right a longer iron on both sides. All pieces started the same size, and there is little if any shrinkage. I particularly like the texture in the centre -a space-age tree bark – but there is a lot of curling, which could make use difficult.
Sample p1-42. Plastic non-slip mat.
Sample_p1 42a

Sample p1-42a


On the left the original material. On the right after ironing both sides. No distortion or shrinkage, just flattening.
Sample p1-42b. I ironed the original piece above left, just up the centre, then held it stretched as it cooled.
Sample_p1 42b

Sample p1-42b


Some distortion where it was ironed (warm), and ruffling at the sides.
A new world of possibilities, introducing distortion while cooling.
Sample p1-43. Made a shape in the sand tray – a mound with a cross in the middle.
Four layers of carrier bag.
Sample p1-43 Shaped sand

Sample p1-43 Shaped sand


During this session Nola left a comment suggesting Kinetic Sand. Too late today, but on the agenda for Sometime Soon.
Sample p1-43

Sample p1-43


Definite shaping. I can push it flat, but it mostly springs back.
Sample p1-44a. Decided to try a simpler shape and thinner material. Three layers of polythene.
Sample p1-44a

Sample p1-44a


OK-ish, but very floppy. Hard to move quickly enough, and the sand is cold.
Sample p1-44b. Can I iron it while on the mould?
Sample p1-44b

Sample p1-44b


Nope – didn’t work.
I had been thinking of another version, with inclusions and lacey edges, but there isn’t enough of anything here to bother.
Sample p1-45. Lots of little bits, looking for a lacey effect.
Sample p1-45 before

Sample p1-45 Before


Sample p1-45 After

Sample p1-45 After


Lacey is an understatement. Very fragile – but it could be part of a wonderful textural base to something.
Sample p1-46. Perhaps something more dramatic- a single layer of black with colour bits on top.
Sample p1-46

Sample p1-46


Not what I was expecting. The thin layers have degraded badly and it is just dull.
Sample p1-46 detail

Sample p1-46 Detail


A detail shows the mix of texture and colour. The photo flatters it.
Sample p1-47. Back to white plastic and no base sheet. Included some non-slip stuff – no idea if that will adhere. Also many more pieces of white.
Sample p1-47 Before

Sample p1-47 Before


I was expecting not to like this, but I do.
Sample p1-47 After

Sample p1-47 After


Reasonably solid, interesting textures and layering.
Sample p1-48. In the past I’ve used disperse dyes on synthetic fabrics (dyes suitable for cellulose and protein fabrics, eg cottons and silks, won’t hold). You paint disperse dyes on paper, then when dry iron the paper on the fabric, and the colour transfers. Would that work on plastics?
I used four layers of white carrier bag, and strips of 3 colours of paper I’d painted years ago with the dyes.
Sample p1-48

Sample p1-48


On the left the plastic, on the right some more of the paper. (The strips I used are all curled up. I left them to cool on the plastic and they stuck. A quick re-warm fixed that.)
Good colour. The surface of the plastic is very smooth there – I think there was an embossing effect – yet another thing to experiment with.
Sample p1-48 Reverse

Sample p1-48 Reverse


On the other side the colour is fainter and textured – a weathered effect.
Being able to add colour really opens up possibilities.
Sample p1-49. On the last sample a corner got caught up before / as I ironed, giving a multiple layer effect. Possibilities?
Two flat layers of white carrier plastic, with three strips of linear crumpled plastic between.
Sample p1-49 Before

Sample p1-49 Before


Sample p1-49 After

Sample p1-49 After


Good texture, although it really needs the lighting to work. Flat on a surface is dreary.
There are so many more possibilities and leads to follow up here, but I’ve used up my allocated time and need to move on.

T1-MMT-P1-p3-e1 Fusing plastic – third session
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 1: Surface Distortion
Project 3: Heating and fusing
Exercise 1: Fusing plastic

6 Responses to “T1-MMT-P1-p3-e1 Fusing plastic – third session”


  1. 1 Nola April 11, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    OK today’s comment… I’m not sure what your course notes are telling you to do, but one obvious way to add head without flattening everything is with a heat gun. Or am I being too obvious? It would lend itself to melting things into 3D shapes, e.g. over sand moulds, or even over a simple wire armature that could later be removed, leaving the shape. Maybe this is not what you’re aiming for…


  1. 1 T1-MMT-P1 Sorting | Fibres of Being Trackback on May 23, 2015 at 7:47 pm
  2. 2 T1-MMT-P2-p1-e5 Forming corners and angles | Fibres of Being Trackback on June 27, 2015 at 6:00 pm
  3. 3 T1-MMT-P5-s1 Review – A beginning | Fibres of Being Trackback on January 10, 2016 at 7:19 pm

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