Which materials can I use with Powertex?

Powertex art by Tracey Evans

Have you wondered what materials, embellishments and bases you can use with your Powertex? Here’s what you need to get started so you can reuse, recycle and get crafting with what you have at home.

Use natural materials with Powertex

Powertex works best with natural materials. Think about cotton fabrics, cardboard, heavy papers, glass, metal. wood, cork, string and natural yarns. Powertex does not adhere well to soft plastics as it can peel off. If you want to use a plastic item such as a pot or toy as your base, it’s recommended that you prime the surface first. You can do this with masking tape or Gesso.

What materials can I use with Powertex Universal Medium. Photo by Kore Sage
Use natural materials with Powertex

What to use as a base

There are plenty of options from mdf kits to and canvases to items you can find at home. Bottles, jars and boxes are an easy place to start for any Powertex addict. If you’d rather create on a flat surface how about a notebook, wooden picture frame or even a mirror? Styrofoam pieces can be primed with Powertex and paper mache blanks can be worked on directly. Altered hats, shoes and even mannequins are popular too!

Fabric tips

Try different weights and textures of fabric for interesting results. 100% cotton fabrics will harden thoroughly and will be weatherproof when coated. Lightweight muslin, cheesecloth, t-shirt fabric, denim, cotton jersey, hessian, burlap and cotton lace trims are all popular choices because they add fantastic textures. Reuse old cottton clothes or bedsheets or raid your remnants.

Choose a variety of textures, photo by Kore Sage
Choose a variety of textures

You can coat synthetic fabrics with Powertex but they won’t harden as well and will not have the weatherproof quality of natural fabrics. The higher the percentage of natural fibres, the better your results will be!

Using glass

Bottles and jars are a brilliant starting place for Powertex beginners. Create vases and fairy houses from your empties with fabric scraps and embellishments. Glass can be slippery to work on so leave the labels on or use pieces of masking tape to add some grip for your fabric or Stone Art clay.

Use empty glass bottles and jars with Powertex
Use empty glass bottles and jars
Photo by Aserusainhuu on Unsplash

Using organic materials, leaves flowers etc

Using organic materials such as leaves, flowers, seeds is possible with a few things in mind. Plants, leaves, seeds etc contain moisture and if you add Powertex, that moisture could cause the materials to rot or decay underneath. However you can use dried pieces to ensure your project lasts.

How to use leaves and seeds with Powertex Universal Medium
Using leaves, flowers and seeds
Photo by Diana Akhmetianova on Unsplash

Adding embellishments

Whatever you’ve got, Powertex it! From wooden and clay shapes to metal treasures, Powertex will glue pretty much anything. However, it’s slow drying so hold your pieces in place until it starts to set. Powertex is a strong glue so will even hold heavier embellishments in place. Prime plastic pieces before use with Gesso or masking tape.

Blue bird tage with Powertex by Tracey Evans
Powertex mixed media tag by Tracey Evans
Powertex steampunk hat by Suzanne Tarburton from Crafting with Love and Fairy Dust
Steampunk hat by Crafting with Love and Fairy Dust

Texture mediums

Add your favourite Powertex textures such as Stone Art, Easy Structure, 3d Sand, 3d Balls, mdf shapes or Powercotton and you will have lots of different gorgeous texture! Use Powertex to prime, paint, coat your textures and glue your layers together. When it’s dry you can add colours in your favourite products.

Powertex art by Tracey Evans from Powertex UK
Powertex art by Tracey Evans at Powertex UK

If you’ve been inspired to start a new Powertex creation, join us in The Powertex Studio on Facebook to see what Powertex Addicts have been making and share your own. You can also follow us on Instagram where we love to share Powertex creations from all over the world. You can get your Powertex supplies from Powertex UK online.

Here in the magazine we have hundreds of tutorials, makes and tips to get you crafting. Take a look at these project ideas by UK Powertex tutors Shell and Donna to inspire you.

Powertex tutorial – rainbow of hope

Powertex rainbow video tutorial by Tracey Evans

Designed by Tracey Evans

Powertex tutors may have put their workshops on hold during lockdown but Tracey Evans has created a video lesson for you. Create your own rainbow jar for your water, brushes or pens with this Powertex video tutorial. Use Powertex Universal Medium with fabric and learn how to mix Powercolor pigments into a paint with Easy Varnish.

Create a Powertex rainbow of hope with Tracey Evans Powertex video tutorial
Create a Powertex rainbow of hope with Tracey Evans

Learn how to use fabric with Powertex to create texture and how to colour your textures using Powercolor and Easy Varnish.

Tracey used:

  • A clean glass jar
  • Masking tape
  • Fabric scraps in natural fibres and a variety of textures
  • Powertex Universal Medium in a dark colour (Black, Bronze, Lead, Red or Blue)
  • Easy Varnish
  • Powercolor pigments, rainbow or in your favourite colours
  • A paper or plastic plate or container for your Powertex
  • A craft mat, plastic or paper plate to mix your pigments
  • A flat paintbrush
  • Gloves are optional

(All supplies from www.powertex.co.uk. Please note the online shop is not currently processing orders due to COVID-19.)

Watch Tracey’s Powertex video lesson here

In this time, maybe you have limited supplies or you’re not able to shop for a product. Powertex works well with so many materials, just work with what you have. If you don’t have a jar, try a bottle or box. If you don’t have all the colours of the rainbow, pick your favourites and use those to create a unique rainbow of hope.

This gorgeous jar is a perfect entry for the monthly challenge in April. Create your own rainbow of hope and enter the challenge in The Powertex Studio. Look for the April photo album to enter. Remember one UK entry will win a prize and entries may be featured here in the magazine.

If you would like to see more of Tracey’s projects take a look at the Powertex UK YouTube channel.

There’s snow place like gnome

Designed by Shell North

For my last blog I’m reminiscing from 4 years ago when I made my first ever Powertex Gnome ‘Amon the Shaman’. He was inspired by a supposed origins story of Santa, collecting Fly agaric, flying with his reindeer and delivering presents.

My original Powertex gnome seems to have inspired a flourish of gnome making. They are one of my most requested items to make in my workshop schedules. So I decided this, my last article of the year would be dedicated to them.

Powertex gnome by Shell North
‘Amon the Shaman’ First Powertex gnome by Shell North inspired by the legends.

So the legend as I heard it…

*Take this tale as you please, a bit of fun or maybe something to make you think…*

The image as we know

Long before the early 20th century Coca Cola adverts, Santa was commonly depicted as more of a gnome-like little man.

Gnome Santa

As old as tales

The origins of Santa’s style, and his bag of goodies, flying reindeer, entering through a chimney to deliver gifts, Pine tree’s may link way back to the ancestral traditions of a number of indigenous arctic circle dwellers. (He may well have come from the North Pole after all!)

On the run up to solstice the village shaman would go out to gather mushrooms, they would wear a mainly red outfit with either white trim or white dots, in honor of the mushroom’s colors.

The eve of festivities

On the eve of the Winter Solstice the shaman of the village would gather Fly agaric mushrooms. They would use them to travel on a spiritual journey to the (pine) tree of life. The tree of life located by the North Star held the answer to solve all the village’s problems for the coming year.

The Shamans would feed the Fly agaric to reindeer, their digestive systems can filter out most of the toxins. This makes (dare I say it) their bodily excretion safe for humans to drink.

*Warning* Fly agaric mushrooms are seriously toxic for humans to consume. So I am in no way promoting it! Maybe this is where the saying don’t eat yellow snow comes from?!

Solstice celebrations

The legend says that the shaman and reindeer would journey (fly) to the tree by the north star to retrieve the gifts of knowledge. These gifts would then be taken back to distribute to the rest of the village.

Returning home to the village yurt, for solstice. He would enter through the hole in the roof. The hole acted as a chimney with a central pole that held the yurt up over the fireplace. In gratitude for these gifts they would decorate Pine trees with offerings.

So that’s it, the story I’d heard that inspired my original gnome creation

Modern celebrations

It seems that maybe some of these traditions were carried down to the European pagans, taking on elements originating much farther north. Inevitably different cultures influenced one another due to migration and intermarriage, becoming merged with many other cultural traditions that we celebrate differently from one another today.

However you celebrate at this time of year, give thanks for any gifts, kind/wise words. Share precious times with your loved ones, and in your community (never let anyone go lonely). look towards the New year and the light that builds ever brighter from now until summer.

More about gnomes

Of course after my first gnome I loved making them, you can make them for any time of year. Here are a few of my gnomes that have developed over the years

Powertex gnomes by Shell North
Gnomes from top right to left: Amon the Shaman, Dumbledor, Norma,
Bottom right to left: Oakley, Noel, Nose-stradamus.
By Shell North
Powertex gnome by Shell North
‘Nose-stradamus’ the gnome.
My latest up graded gnome with new nose design made from Powertex stone art clay
– He predicts gnome domination 🙂

If you fancy making one of these little guys with me, my next gnome workshop is Feb 1st, find more info here.

Well that’s all from me, thank you for taking the time to read my blogs this year.

I hope you all have many festive blessings.

Peace, love and cheeky gnomes,

Shell x

It’s Cold Outside

Designed by Patricia Williams

Wintertime is upon us and Christmas, but not all projects have to be Christmas themed there are lots of other ways to express the beauty of Wintertime. The brief for this month’s article in the Powertex magazine is “It’s cold out there”. I am building my idea around no matter how cold it is the young will still play and maybe the not so young, after all who said fun was only for children.

Having a surplus of foam balls left over from workshops, makes it the perfect starting point, I also have a fair few stands and little plaster and resin pieces. You know the sort of thing you gather up but never seem to get around to using.

It's cold out there by Patricia Williams, Powertex tutor
Powertex Winter craft
by Patricia Williams

Materials

Powertex Universal Medium supplies for a winter craft project
Materials

How to make my Winter Powertex project

I started by pressing my foam ball onto the stand, in this case I used a black metal stand with a single spike; available on the Powertex website.

Styrofoam sphere

I gave it a coat of White powertex and allowed this to dry, while I cut up my fabric.  

This was a a generous size square of fabric, to allow for folds and creases. I cut a small hole in the centre for the spike on my base to push through. Soak in Powertex and massage until it is completely covered. Take the ball off the stand and drape the fabric, positioning the hole at the bottom. Arrange your fabric until you are pleased with it. I left quite a bunch at the top to represent piles of snow.

Powertex Winter craft project by Patriicia  Williams

While it is was wet, I settled in my centre piece (cherubs on a swing). Then around this I placed three little hares frolicking in the snow. Leave over night at this stage to make sure your pieces are secure; you can of course use a drying box to move it onto the next stage more quickly.

Finishing touches

Time for dry brushing; simple is my choice on this piece as I love the white snowy look. I added a light brushing of white pigment on the Hares to make them look as if they have a light dusting of snow in their fur from frolicking in the snow.

A few flat backed clear gems represent a sparkle as the sun hits the snow. I really think that’s all it needs. This was a simple and quick piece to make but would make a very pretty table centre or feature piece.

It's cold outside
It's cold out there Powertex craft sculpture by Patricia Williams

Why don’t you have a go at making your own and show to us on The Powertex Studio, I would love to see your makes and of course any other projects you have done. If you would like to see more of my work, head over to my Facebook page Alex Henry or see more of my projects here in the Magazine.

Thank you for reading my blog I will see you in the New Year, so until then enjoy your festivities with family and friends.

Scared Crow Scarecrow!

Designer – Annette Smyth

Powertex Scared Crow Scarecrow by Annette Smyth

Hello, welcome to my latest article. This month the design team were invited to use a step by step article from another design team member as a source of inspiration. I chose to use the Scarecrows in September by Fiona Potter as I loved this little man as soon as I saw him. However, I wanted to put my own spin on the project so decided that instead of a scarecrow I would create a scared crow. He would make a fantastic Autumnal centrepiece for the table and I can see him surrounded by a group of ornamental gourds.

Materials Used

How to make a Scared Crow Scarecrow

Building the armature

Step 1. Build the armature and head

Attach dowel to base with tape.  Use foil  to build head, neck and beak onto this.  Cover with tape ensuring it is secure.

adding the arms

Step 2. Add the Arms

Gather a small bunch of twigs and secure with masking tape. Secure these to the ends of the dowel with more tape.

building the body

Step 3. Build the body

Using foil fill out arms.  Tape cardboard rolls to wooden base, cut to required length and fill in the torso with more foil.  

Cover everything with tape and coat with a layer of black Powertex.

Adding feet

Step 4. Add the feet

Use 2 more twig bunches, dip strips of gauze in Black Powertex and wrap around tape on the twigs then slide up the tube legs.

The head

Step 5. Cover the head

Coat the hessian in Black Powertex and shape around the head and down neck. Push eyes into place.

Dressing the scared crow using Powertex fabric hardener

Step 6. Dress the Crow

Using Transparent Powertex I dipped the fabric as follows

  • a square of fabric for the top – cut a hole in the centre to fit over the head.
  • rectangles for the dungaree legs
  • smaller rectangles for the dungaree bib
  • strips for the shoulder straps
  • a length of rope for the belt

DESIGNER TIP – You could choose your fabrics to suit your own rooms colour scheme?

Step 7. Make the Hat

The video below will show you how I made the hat. I decorated mine with Paper decoration dipped in Black Powertex.

WHY NOT try using hessian to give a straw hat effect?

Dry brush the hat for the scared crow

Step 8. Drybrush the hat

I used Powertex Easy Varnish and Yellow Ochre Powercolor to drybrush the hat .

Watch my video here if you’re not sure how to drybrush.

Finishing touches with Powetrex powercolor

Step 9. Finishing touches

Using Transparent Powertex I added fallen acorn husks to the hat, dungarees and base.

I hope you have as much fun as I did creating your very own scared crow. There is no end to the different types of scarecrows you could make. How about a scaredog or scarecat…..What scare animal would you create?

We love to see what you create so post your makes on our Facebook group – The Powertex Studio and inspire other people to have a go.

If you would like to see more of my work or join me for a workshop in my home studio then please take a look at my website – www.annettesmyth.co.uk or contact me via my Facebook page.

Until next time Happy Creative Adventures

Axx