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, August 15, 2016

Background Check - Week 3 - ZAPPED

OK....I KNOW there is a more professional name for it perhaps but this is what I call it in MY studio!


Using a commercial synthetic organza to create an interesting background.....AFTER it is zapped with my trusty heat gun!  Not QUITE setting it on FIRE...at least that is not the plan! Although I have
create a few hot messes with it in the early days!

Step 1
Choose the Organza
This bit is for a background in which I need a part of the ocean just before it breaks on the beach. Just as it is slightly kissing the tops of the reef just out from the surf. I also wanted it to have a shimmer to it because it is a bright sunny day at the beach and I wanted the sun sparkle to be there as well as the whitish bits of the beginning surf. So I also chose another synthetic organza of a shimmery blue. For the background of this bit, I picked out a hand dyed very pale bluish-green. So the whitecaps are not stark white.

For zapping you must have a synthetic fabric (in this case organza).Otherwise it won't melt.

"Ocean" organza

The pale green is the backing, then the blue dotted organza in the middle, topped with the "ocean" organza

Step 2
Stitch the Fabrics Together
(this could be an optional step depending on the look you want)

I like to stitch it first as this can help to create the spaces of little or no melting. On this piece I just stitched around the organic shapes in the fabric.

Unfortunately, I was having so much fun, I forgot to take a photo of this stitching step. However, I think from the following photos you can see how I stitched it together.

Step 3
Let the ZAPPING begin!!
NOTE: You really need to do this on a heat resistant surface. Heat guns can get really hot and despite the name of this group...we don't ALWAYS want to set stuff on fire! For this short session and since I had a backing fabric, I just did it on my ironing board.

I start with my heat gun about 8" away from my fabric and slowly bring it closer until it begins to melt. Then I move it over the fabric, closer and farther away as I go, until I get just the right melting
for the effect I'm looking for.

Here is the zapped organza for this piece.

zapped detail

Now you have a very interesting piece with texture and depth. You can use this for a whole background or, like I'm doing with this particular piece, for part of a larger background.

Here is this part of the developing background as it stands today.

So hope your Monday is off to an inspired start! I'll see you here on Wednesday!

Kelly L Hendrickson


  1. Thanks Sue! I have to admit...melting stitched synthetics can be a little bit addicting! I love watching a process that happens right before my eyes in a matter of seconds.

  2. Having said that...I feel I need to post a small warning!! If you are going to zap a synthetic fabric you have not worked with before you just might want to do a test bit outside insted of in your studio. Some can be really smelly and probably not too healthy to inhale.


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