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Monday, May 21, 2012

Heat Wave

Okay, a few weekends ago I was down South, with my hubby’s family. The girls were having a blast with their cousins, and my sister-in-law took me aside and taught me some really cool stuff. She has been making vessels for awhile now, and she makes them out of the coolest things. Wire, wood, nails, tacks, beads, and fabric. She uses a heat gun and puts it all together. It’s pretty awesome! So she was teaching me some of it that weekend, and let me play and make a bowl.
Organza Bowl (5) copy
Here’s the finished product. Pretty cool huh? This isn’t a great how-to, because it’s really hard to stop and take pictures when you’re melting things with a crazy hot heat gun… So, here’s the supplies we used:
Organza Bowl (2)
A Milwaukee heat gun. I think it’s this one here. It had heat temperature settings so you can control the heat you’re using, and 2 fan settings, high or low. We used leather gloves, and parchment paper too. For the fabrics, I thought I took a picture of all the fabrics before I started piling them on, but I guess I didn’t. I used silks, organzas, satins, and sheers. Basically anything that will melt with help. Synthetics fabrics work the best. Cotton obviously wouldn’t do anything but burn the fabric. Finally, I used a glass bowl as my form, and wire to help the fabric stay on until I got it rigid enough.
Organza Bowl (3)
Here it is with several layers already on. Basically, I’d put a piece of fabric on, wrap a wire around it to hold it on at the bottom of the bowl, and then heat gun it to melt the fabric. I was using temperatures between 500 and 900 degrees, depending on the fabric and how much I wanted to melt it. Once I had a layer melted how I wanted it, I’d add another layer of fabric and keep going. As you’re melting the fabric, it’s getting more rigid. I’m sure you’ve had the experience of ironing something synthetic on heat too high, and it melts it a little and makes it stiffer? Same idea. As I’d melt it, I had a piece of parchment paper scrunched in my left hand, heat gun in my right, and I’d push the fabric down to the bowl while it was hot to form it. Once I got the structure, I’d begin to put layers on and melt them through so you could see the fabrics underneath. If I’d wanted to, I could have wrapped some wire and beads throughout some layers to give it that look too….Look farther down to see what I mean….
Organza Bowl (4)
Once I got the base how I wanted, I took it off the bowl, and started melting the edges how I wanted them to look. I was using golds, oranges, red, and yellow to make it look somewhat flame-like, So I kept the edges crazy and jagged to look like a fire. I’d melt it and hold on with the other hand with a pair of pliers, pulling it how I wanted. Good times.
Organza Bowl (1)
So, now it’s a pretty catch-all, but those will all be put away…soon!
Organza Bowl (5)
Fun stuff, huh? I have another heat gun fabric melting project to show you on Wednesday, if I finish it today Smile. Now, my very talented sister in law that showed me how to do this as some other amazing projects she’s done with this method. Check this out:
Kirsten vase
Isn’t that amazing looking? She built it onto a wood base, and put wire throughout with beads on parts. Here’s a close up
Kirsten closer
You can see wires at the top, and a few beads on top and in the middle.
pomegranate ornament
Here’s a Christmas ornament she made with this sort of method, and made it look like a pomegranate with intricate beads for the seeds.
living water
She seriously puts me to shame with her sewing/craft/creativity skills. Look at this amazing wall hanging she did. Seriously. She’s awesome. On top of all of this, she has 9 kids and home schools them. Wow.
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  1. Awesome! I'm thinking about trying textiles with hot guns and your blog inspired me. Thank you for taking the time to help newbies.


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