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Experimenting with Tyvek

April 15, 2009

Today I just started pushing things around out in the studio,  making a halfway attempt to straighten up a few things and also to get some inspiration. I knew I didn’t want to start on a big project today. I’ve wanted to just play for the past couple of weeks when time hasn’t permitted me to really get focused on a big painting project.

I’ve been eyeing this big printed piece of Tyvek in the studio. It was originally an experimental giclee print of one of my old paintings, using Tyvek as the substrate. I liked it a a printing substrate, but never did anything more with it, and have no further need for this print.

So this morning I started applying heat to it, both with a heat gun and with an iron. I knew you could manipulate this material with heat, and just thought I’d see what I got from this piece that already had color printed on it. The first thing I did was take it out on the back porch! Those fumes are not nice to smell, and I can only imagine what they might do to your body. So if you do this, please take precautions!

Here’s what it looked like when I got started.


I’m not trying to make anything sculptural out of it. I thought it might be fun to cut it into small pieces for either collage or to incorporate texture into an acrylic piece.

I’ve now cut it up. Here are some smaller pieces.


This could become a lot more scrunchy if I took the heating further. As these pieces are now, they have really scrunchy areas and some smoother areas. Any part that has had heat applied to it is stiff, sort of like a big thick dead leaf. Except of course not brittle like a leaf. It’s very tough stuff.

Here’s an excellent online tutorial if you want more inspiration for playing with Tyvek. I found this when I got curious about just what other artists are doing with it.

More inspirations here and  here as well.

My only hesitation are the fumes. I really would like to get away from all art process that have fumes or environmental hazards. If you do decide to heat this stuff, be sure to do it outside. The tutorial advises that you should ventilate the area, but outside is best as far as I’m concerned. But there’s an upside. You could recycle old Tyvek envelopes and incorporate them into your mixed media projects.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 16, 2009 8:06 am

    These are looking almost like fabric now. Great experimentation.

  2. April 16, 2009 8:29 am

    Seth, sitting here thinking about it, I think I need to blog a sequel with individual scans of some of these pieces. They are ver-ry interesting!


  1. More Tyvek Fun « An Artist’s Journal

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