h1

Using Tyvek Polyethylene Fabric for Artwork

June 9, 2018

I recently purchased a large sheet of synthetic fabric that I wanted to experiment on as a painting surface. It’s called “Tyvek,” made by DuPont, and is a paper-like fabric made of polyethylene fibers. There are different brands out there that have different textures, and other features. The sheet I bought is 60×52 inches, and came folded in a letter sized envelope. I’ve seen rolls of it in larger sizes at hardware stores with “Tyvek” printed on it in large type. This was blank, and other brands in rolls may be also. This sheet is 43 GSM (grams per square meter) which is very thin, but it’s extremely tear resistant. Some other brands I’ve seen have a puffed up canvas-like texture, but this is smoother.

The folded sheet has creases, but I was able to mount it to a scrap piece of 9×12 inch mat board, and that removed the crease. In the picture above, the Tyvek board is on the left. I used an acrylic gel medium, and also painted the back of the mat board with a single coat to flatten it out when it dried, and then folded over the edges of the fabric to the back.

In this photo above you can see what looks like wrinkles, but it’s actually very smooth. These are fibers that leave wavy streaks of matte and sheen lines that looks something like wood grain. If you wanted to leave areas unpainted this would be seen, but an opaque coat of paint would hide it.

Here I’ve scribbled some ink lines to on the back to show an example of what that media looks like on this surface. Even though it’s soft to the touch, it does have a texture. You can see a grid of square lines running through it like a canvas weave. A thick paint layer would cover that, but thin washes would not. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but something to keep in mind. I used sumi ink with a brush, a PITT brush pen, and a ZIG Millennium marker. Markers draw well on this in general, but water based inks may bead up some. Metal dip pens don’t work so well, tending to snag on the surface. Dry media, like charcoal or pastels work okay, but this is a little too smooth to be ideal for them. Hard leads of graphite or wax pencils don’t work very well either.

Once I figure out what to paint on this, I’ll show an example of how it performs with paints. I may just paint example swatches and nothing in particular, but I’ll still wait for a later posting.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: