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, July 11, 2016

Working with Lutradur Part 1

I have to admit to being fascinated with "hot" textiles, and the works of people like Kim Thittichai.  So I got her book at the library in the hopes of learning a little more about them..and since she is based in the UK, it's almost like learning a foreign language when trying to interpret the supplies used, it seems that just about everything is called something different here in the US.

She uses a lot of Tyvek, so I got some old envelopes out and painted them with acrylic paints.

I also want to share a tip: If you want iridescent paint and only have regular acrylics or fabric paints, add some Iridescent Medium to your paint (available in craft stores.)

I melted the tyvek with a heat gun, which was too quick, and a huge hole appeared.

I just cut some circles out of the finished product, but haven't used them yet in a project.  Tyvek isn't my favorite product to use, haven't had much luck with it!

Not wanting to give up yet, I layered some interfacing (painted), organza in various colors, nylon netting, and lutradur on top.  I stitched some leaf shapes into it, then hit it with the heat gun.

You can hardly tell I added all those layers, the lutradur melted really fast, and not much else because I was afraid of melting the whole piece. Obviously I need more practice using the heat gun!

Now more on Lutradur.  Lutradur comes in two different weights (probably more, but that's all I could find here in the US). 

And I learned that Lutradur is sold on Fabric.com as yardage, not just the little sheets generally found at craft shops, and at a way better price.  Check it out Here

I painted some Lutradur with acrylic paints, then layered some organza on top, and stitched some designs into it using free motion quilting.  Then got out my stencil tool, which is just a fine-tipped soldering iron, and started tracing the edges with it.

Sample 1:

Sample 2 - with some angelina fibers sandwiched in between the lutradur and organza

Sample 3

Positive and negative

Next, I stitched some designs onto painted Lutradur and using my stencil tool, melted some sections by applying heat.  The stitching was SO tedious, I'm not sure if I'll ever want to try this again...

Anyway, more on this topic next time!


  1. Very interesting! I have only done a little with tyvek, and nothing with lutrador. And your stencil tool is intriguing... haven't seen anything on these before. I may have to see if I can find that book, 'cause I like what you are demonstrating here! Thanks, and I look forward to seeing more.

  2. I share your love of "hot textiles" and I know how difficult it can be to get Tyvek to do what you want it to do. One way I found of controlling it is to use it wrapped around wire. I use the fabric Tyvek rather than the paper version, make a wire frame, cut the Tyvek slightly larger and roughly stitch it to the wire using thin wire, rayon thread or any other thread you may have that doesn't melt when heated. You can then blast it with your heat tool and colour it, stitch it, etc. Individual pieces can then be added to a textile piece or simply regarded as a 3D piece of work. You can see an example on my blog here https://lincsinstitches.com/category/tyvek/

  3. Judy, I got the stencil tool at a craft supply store (Michaels or AC Moore, I can't remember which).

    And Karen, I checked out your blog and love your Tyvek leaf and pods. The only Tyvek I've been able to find here is the envelope type, which feels more plastic-like instead of fabric-like.

  4. I found I had much better luck with Tyvek by using heat with it before painting it. I then use transparent paint, ( Seta-Color) and carefully paint several layers, usually ending with a metallic layer. I have had some wonderful results with this and have used it in many ways, including some of the ones mentioned in previous comments. It makes great rocks for a landscape! I buy it in envelopes at Staples or Office Depot. I'm very intrigued with your use of Lutradur, as I've not had much success with it, although I really haven't put that much time into working with it. All of these techniques take lots of experimentation and practice.
    Pat F in Winnipeg
    Mouse Factory Designs

  5. That first Tyvek piece with the hole in it - I would have added some black stitching here and there and entered it as is in a show with a title referencing breast cancer. Powerful imagery and the gentle body shape really grabbed my eye.

  6. Interesting post. Thanks for sharing your experimenting!
    I haven't used Lutradur in several years and actually prefer to use Tyvek You can buy it by the yard at Joggles.com, at least that's where I purchased it last!
    I actually paint the Tyvek then burn with iron or soldering iron. You can see some of my pieces on my blog here:

  7. Really interesting samples. I've never played with this before but your experiments make me want to try it out.

  8. Hi Laura, those final Lutradur pieces are lovely. It sounds like it might be one of those "been there, done that, off to the next technique" experience. For some reason I stay away from paints and fire, but I do want to play with Angelina. I bought a tiny bit in the fall and can't find it! I guess I'll play with it eventually.

  9. You should also check out Susan Lenz' work . . . she has a great online tutorial of doing heat-activated work. http://artbysusanlenz.blogspot.com/2007/07/how-to-make-in-box.html.

  10. Laura, I haven't done much with Lutradur because I was never sure what to do with the finished piece. I love your's! This is definitely something for Beth and I to try!


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