A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Meet Mr Heat Gun

I am mostly satisfied with the texture on my compost fabric trees so now it is time to start auditioning leaves.  Since I want a leaf with as much character as the tree trunks, I have tried burning a variety of types of fabric and non-fabrics.  Here are my experiments and my results.

 First I made a quilt sandwich with the same type of fabric as the trees.  I wanted to know what the leaves would look like on the black linen and whether the felt I used as batting would be a problem if melting stuff on it.

Next I photocopied some leaves that I had pressed.  I wanted to have the copies to help with the size, shape, and veins of the leaves.

Then I started stitching various fabrics, including tyvek, onto the quilt sandwich. The tyvek I had previously painted green.  All of the rest of the fabrics were various weights and types of polyester. The stitching was the outside edge of the leaves and the veins.

 Once  I had several leaves sewn, I started heating them with the iron to see what would happen.  Not much. I should have done a better job of trimming the leaves before I ironed them.  I had expected the fabric not sewn down to just melt away.  Not so much. It melted into the fabric.   I'll do better next time.
 So then I moved on to the heat gun.  Much, MUCH better.  Now I am starting to get the texture I wanted and the extra fabric on the outside edge finally melted away.

Take a look at this one.  It is really nice.  However, the leaves were flat.  FLAT!  I could just not bear to put them on my lovely trees. 

So then I moved on to melting plastic.  I put some of the more promising polyester between some layers of Glad Wrap and took the iron to it. While it was still warm, I cut the melted stuff into leaf shapes.  Pretty but not enough texture yet.

Here they are after meeting Mr. Heat Gun (he is one hot dude).

I also tried cutting the tyvek into a leaf shape and taking the heat gun to it for texture.  Much better results burning the tyvek before sewing it down.   Here are both the green tyvek leaf and the plastic leaves pinned on the trees.  Beside it are the leaves on my quilt sandwich.

While I like several of the results, I am not satisfied that I have found the right leaf for the trees  yet.  I will let  you know if it turns out to be plastic like this month's technique or tyvek like a couple of months ago.


  1. Oooooh - fabulous! I love what you've done here!

  2. What would happen if you stitched a bit of lightweight wire onto the leaves? Would that give you the ability to give them leafy curl?

  3. I like the wire idea. I also like quite a few of the leaves you've made. I know what you're like when you're intent on getting a certain effect... Can't wait to see the results.

  4. These are great effects. I wouldn't have thought of doing any of those things. I really like the lacy effect you are getting. ...and of course, I LOVE your trees.


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