Playing with Tyvek

Playing with Tyvek

My art group met at the first of June and we played with Tyvek. We were inspired by Karen L’s recent post here.  We cut up Tyvek envelopes, painted and heated them with a variety of heat tools including an iron and heat guns.

Paula had already made a few samples but we wanted to heat them a bit more than just the light heating that causes bubbling. The results are much more lace like.

Here’s another before and after. The results are really organic. So you just have to decide when you want to stop the melting process.

So everybody started painting Tyvek sheets.

Then we started melting them. These are Deb’s and she used the heat gun and then added some shimmery spray ink afterwards.

Here are a couple of Sally’s pieces. She stitched the leaves on the sewing machine before melting.

Here’s another one of Paula’s that turned out looking like a bunny.

Here are a couple that Louise made. The one on the right reminds me of forest floor.

And here’s one that I did. I added the darker blue paint on the high points after melting. I am looking forward to seeing how everyone uses their Tyvek experiments. I am planning on adding some acrylic mediums and paint and mounting them on a canvas.

30 thoughts on “Playing with Tyvek

  1. That looks really interesting and I am ordering some tyvek to get a chance to see how it works. Did you use a certain weight of tyvek as it is very confusing which ones to buy. Do you have any guidance as the ones I have seen are 55gsm, 75gsm, 105gsm. Does it make any sense to you?

    Any advice greatly appreciated.


    1. Hi Carol, I would go with the lighter weight variety, so the lower numbers. We just used recycled envelopes. Good luck, we’d love to see the results over on the forum.

  2. Carol, I have just checked for you and the weight i bought was 75 gsm. Great results. What paint did you use? I had a go with acrylic paint and it melted correctly but looked something or nothing so it went in the bin!

    1. Thanks for helping Carol out with the weight of Tyvek. We used acrylic paint and acrylic inks. They all seemed to work fairly well. But they do take a while to dry.

  3. Oh wow, they all look great, Ruth 🙂 I remembered to get one of my Tyvek envelopes out when I was painting recently to keep at hand to add some colours to. I might try some stitching before melting too after seeing these!

  4. These look interesting to have a go at..I do have some tyvek stashed away somewhere but I’m not sure I bought the right thing as it has a grid texture to it, not smooth. I’m also interested to know what sort of paint you used. Whatever I used before didn’t really ‘take’. It sat on the surface in sort of pools before eventually drying. I certainly didn’t have any control over where the colour went.

    1. I’m wondering if you have bought the Tyvek fabric rather than the paper as this does have a small grid texture to it. I’m always conscious of not applying too much water to my paint when using Tyvek as it does sit on the surface, as you found out, and can take a while to dry. I also find the paint can act as a resist if you put too much on and so the Tyvek doesn’t distort quite so easily.

    2. It was fun and unpredictable. We had some of the woven textured kind too. We tried it but it didn’t melt as well and the end result wasn’t as nice in my opinion. We used acrylics but it does pool easily and is hard to control. This is one of those techniques where you get what you get without a lot of control over the process.

  5. Wonderful Tyvek work from your group Ruth! It’s great to hear that my post may have inspired you to have a go at this. The delicate lacy pieces are particularly beautiful.

    1. Thanks Karen! Yes, we were inspired by your post and the Tyvek leaf post on your blog. We all did like the lacey effect best.

  6. Great results for everyone! I particularly like the lacy effect along with the bubbles. Thanks for sharing. I will have to try this sometime. I look forward to seeing yours mounted.

    1. Thanks Marilyn! We had a good time. I’m looking forward to seeing how these will integrate into a painted canvas too.

  7. How smelly is melting this stuff?

    I have chemical sensitivities and wonder if should be done outside and not breathed!

    Jamie 🐾🕊🌻


  8. Thank you Karen. I’ve googled Tyvek fabric and that is exactly what I bought. And the results when heated were nothing like your pieces or Ruth’s. Its taken a few years but at last I know why 🙂

    1. Thanks Carole! The stitch definitely adds to the end result. Most of my pieces are of the lacey variety because I love the look.

  9. I’ve made some of my Tyvek pieces into cuff bracelets. Is there any way to attach pictures here? I’ll put some pictures on my website, if they’re not there already.

    1. Hi Frances, thanks for the link to your jewelry. You have really integrated the Tyvek into the pieces very well. Gorgeous results and thanks for sharing.

  10. Hi Ruth! This is very interesting and beautiful. I have a health concern with that product. Is it plastic? Could melting this would produce dangerous fumes to bread? Thanks for all your work on the forum it is very appreciated.

    1. Yes, it is plastic so you need to be cautious about breathing any fumes or by working outdoors or a well ventilated area. The fumes are not really noticeable though but people with sensitivities might want to wear a mask.

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