Craft foam – Made for altering

by Annette Smyth

Hello everyone

By the time you are reading this the Yuletide season should be in full swing. I’m sure, by now, you will be ready for a little escapism with your crafty stash.

Powertex Picasso art by Annette Smyth
Powertex art by Annette Smyth

Did you manage to catch Tracey Evans on Hochanda on Thursday 21st November? If not click here to watch her on Rewind.

Tracey introduced a crafting foam substrate which works beautifully with all of the Powertex product range. Available on the Powertex website in 2 sizes – 30cm x 30cm or 15cm x 15cm both 5cm deep.

Altering craft foam

This craft foam base is crying out to be altered. Using files, rasps, old carving knives, scissors and other mark making tools, you can change the shape anyway you choose. I also tried using a hot wire cutter (designed for home use). However the density of the foam made this a more difficult option.

Keep all of the bits that fall off. Mix this into your Powertex later and reapply to the base to give even more texture.

Here are a few examples of how you could use the foam …..

Powertex craft foam art clock by Annette Smyth

Example one

Here the foam would be fashioned into a more circular shape before using the files etc to breakdown the edges to give a more worn stone effect. This piece has bronze Powertex Universal Medium, Stone Art, Yellow, green and brown Bister and is finished with matt and metallic pigments and Easy Varnish. The flourish and clock face are MDF and are available here.

Powertex craft foam clock by Annette Smyth

Example two

In this sample I drew out the shape I wanted onto scrap paper then used this as a template to draw around on the craft foam before cutting. I used white Powertex Universal Medium and Stone Art for the base and Stone Art clay in the Bee trio, Queen Bee and Ivy leaf moulds. The piece was then sprayed with yellow, brown and green Bister before being finished with pigments and Easy varnish.

Powertex craft foam Picasso art by Annette Smyth

Example three

In this piece, based on Picasso’s work, I again drew out a template on paper before transferring it to the foam and cutting. Use 2 pieces of 30cm x 30cm foam pieces for the elongated style.

This piece was achieved by using an extensive range of techniques and colourings across the full Powertex product range. Using White Powertex Universal Medium and the Acrylic Ink Sprays gives you a more vibrant colour scheme to work with.

Well that’s all for this year folks. I hope you have a Happy Yuletide season and look forward to creating with you again next year.

Until then please post any of your makes into the Powertex Studio group on Facebook. If you would like details of my workshops please visit my website here. Read more about my Picasso inspired art in this article.

Happy Creative Adventures

Annette xx

Powertex Steampunk Flying Machine

The Secret Art Box June 2019

Designer: Abigail Lagden

Powertex steampunk flying machine by Abigail Lagden
Steampunk Flying Machine by Abigail Lagden

There is nothing better than getting a surprise parcel is the post – especially when it is full of Powertex goodies. So I was super excited to receive and have the chance to play with June’s Secret Art Box. The box didn’t disappoint as you can see from my Powertex steampunk flying machine!

This month’s theme is steampunk and as many of you will know, I am a regular at the Whitby Steampunk Weekends, so this was the perfect kit for me.

Powertex UK Secret Art Ox Subscription box contents June 2019
Secret Art Box June 2019

The first thing that struck me was just how much was in the kit, here are the contents in and out of the box. If you have been getting these each month, you will be building up a pretty good stash of products, embellishments and reusables like the moulds and stamp.

In case this is your first box or even your first foray into Powertex, I wanted to create a project that could be completed with very little extras than the contents of the box. So here is my Powertex Steampunk Flying Machine.

Materials used from June’s Secret Art Box:

Additional materials used:

  • Foil
  • Masking tape
  • Cotton fabric
  • A zip
  • Wallpaper
  • Jute string
  • Air drying clay (or Stone Art clay)

How to create your Steampunk Flying Machine

Step 1

To turn the flat MDF balloon into something three dimensional, scrunch up pieces of tin foil to form the sides of a rough balloon shape. Cover the foil shapes in masking tape to give a better surface for the Powertex to adhere to and cut a piece of textured wallpaper to fit in the gap in the middle of the foil.

Adding dimension to mdf with foil
Step 1

Step 2

Paint the front of the MDF balloon shape with yellow Powertex. Use the yellow Powertex to stick the wallpaper and MDF wings in place and then paint the top surfaces. Attach and paint the foil shapes and the cogs using yellow Powertex.

Using Yellow Powertex Universal Medium
Step 2

Step 3

Coat the zip with Powertex and position in the middle of the balloon with the sides of the zip sitting on the foil shapes on either side. Then use strips of cotton fabric coated in Powertex to cover the foil shapes and create some ruffled texture.

Also cut the grey cord into pieces, coat with powertex and lay onto the basket element of the balloon. Mould a switch using one of the switch moulds and affix to basket. (I used some stone art clay I had laying about, but you can use any air drying clay).

Adding embellishments and textures with Powertex
Step 3

Step 4

Spray the whole piece with Mahogany Bister spray.

Using Mahogany Bister spray for colour
Step 4

Step 5

Once the bister has had a chance to dry a little, use a damp sponge to clean some of it back off the upper surfaces of the fabric.

Highlight textures by wiping away Bister
Step 5

Step 6

Time to add highlights and pigments. Use a little bit of the yellow Powertex to dry brush over the fabric to add highlights. Use the Black Magic and Silver pigments mixed with the easy varnish to colour the cogs and the teeth of the zip.

Adding metallic pigments
Step 6

The last thing is to attach the basket to the balloon of my flying machine using some jute string.

Powertex Steampunk Flying Machine by Abigail Lagden
Powertex steampunk flying machine

A little extra Powertex steampunk bonus…

As I had so much left from the kit, I couldn’t help having a little play with some of the other bits and created this little piece.

Powertex steampunk heart by Abigail Lagden

Here I used some Stone Art to make a clay with the yellow Powertex and pressed this onto an MDF heart template. I used the clock stamp and one of the small wooden angel wings to impress designs into the clay.

I added parts of the large MDF clockfaces, the rest of the cogs and a stone art clay switch using the yellow Powertex before spraying it all with the mahogany bister. Once dry I cleaned back the bister and highlighted with copper, bronze gold, rich gold and silver colortricx pigments.

And I’ve still got all this left, along with around three quarters of the Powertex, Bister and Easy varnish, plus loads of the two pigments! What shall I create next?

Pieces left from Powertex UK Steampunk Secret Art Box after 2 projects

I hope you’ve enjoyed my projects and hopefully been inspired to get creating yourself. If you’ve got this month’s Secret Art Box, have fun. We’d love to see what you’ve created with it – please come and share your work in the Powertex Studio Facebook group.

If you’d like a surprise package full of Powertex goodies, check out the subscription options for The Secret Art Box here.

Thank you for reading my article. To see more of my creations to you can visit my Curiously Contrary facebook page, instagram or website.

If you’re a fan of a bit of steampunk, you can read about my Steampunk Top Hat, here (you’ll see I like my zips and cogs!).

Or why not come and visit me at the next Whitby Steampunk Weekend – Friday 26th – Sunday 28th July. Everyone is welcome, including those who are just a little bit steam curious…

Until next time, Abs xx

A kelp forest – under the sea

Kelp Forest by Fiona Potter

It was a beautiful, clear blue sky morning in the glorious heat of Summer 2018 we arrived at Porthgwarra Beach in far west Cornwall just as the tide was receding.  It’s such a beautiful cove and we kept spotting something in the water around the rocks and went to investigate.  It was a whole area of kelp – a Kelp Forest! Wandering through the pools left by the tide there were beautiful shells, stones and shiny pebbles.  This was my inspiration for this Under the Sea piece.

Kelp Forest by Fiona Potter
Under the sea: Kelp Forest

Supplies

How to make a Powertex kelp forest

Step 1: The ingredients
Step 2 - Setting in the wires

Step 1: Use either Stone Art or other air dry clay to push into moulds, leave to dry. Cut 9 or 10 lengths of wire and randomly drill holes into the mdf base.

Tip: I had a tennis ball size piece of Stone Art clay left over from a previous project that I kept. Spray water lightly over a piece of clingfilm which I wrapped tightly around the clay. I sealed it in a reusable plastic bag.

Step 2: Push wires into holes, secure with masking tape then rip lengths of masking tape sticking it the full length of both sides of the wire to create lengths of kelp.

The base

Step 3: Building the composition

Decorate the base

Step 3: Build a thick random layer of Easy Structure on the base, push shells, moulded sea shapes etc into the easy structure. Spray with bisters, set aside to dry.

Tip: If you use a large central shell like I did, it is worth masking off with some cling film or paper before you spray with bister

Step 4: Washing back and adding a top layer

The kelp

Step 4: Wash back the bister from shells and shapes. Use red ochre to colour some of the coral like shapes. Add a generous layer of transparent Powertex fabric harder on the base and drop in mixed art stones.

Step5: Adding the Kelp

Metallic colours

Step 6: Bringing out the colour

Step 5: Rip up lengths of pale green tissue paper and paste onto the kelp using transparent Powertex. Leave to dry. Transparent Powertex helps to keep the transparency.

Tips: Paint the transparent Powertex onto the masking tape and press the tissue onto it with a Powertex soaked brush.

Step 6: Using the blues and greens metallic pigments bring out the highlights of the bottom of the sea.  Brush Mojito Lime and Golden Olive, Limoncello Gold randomly on the kelp. If you leave lighter patches the sun will shine through enhancing the kelp.

Leave it in a place where you get the sun. Watch it at various times of the day to see where the sun lands and where you might want to add further metallics and maybe a pearl or crystal.

I hope this easy but interesting focal piece inspires you to create your own under the sea project. You might also like this lovely fish sculpture project by Annette.

Don’t forget to share your makes in The Powertex Studio and if you can give me a shout out that would be awesome.

That’s me for now, check back in June when I’m upcycling one of my early Angels that has been keeping watch in my garden for the last couple of years.

Bye for now

Fi

Powertex Kelp Forest by Fiona Potter
Powertex Kelp Forest by Fiona Potter

New Year’s Resolutions and the Key to a Craftier Life

Hello, I’m Claire, the Operations Manager for Powertex UK Ltd. I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts for sorting and organising as I know how this can easily get on top of anyone with a crafting stash!

I’m not naturally a tidy person. However, the internet (mainly Pinterest) has given me some great ideas of ways to store things that really help in my day to day life. If there is a place for something you know where to put it, and more importantly, you know where to find it the next time you need it. Being organised helps me take control of one part of my life and that helps me – big time. In a world where we are often running around with a to do list longer than your arm making life easier any way we can is a bonus!

The New Year is a great time for starting afresh; drawing a line on old, less productive behaviours and embracing a more positive and intentional way of being. I like to clean out my cupboards, defrost my freezer, clear my wardrobe of clothes that no longer fit and of course…..organise my craft area!!! I get rid of scissors that no longer cut properly, empty bottles, brushes that have passed their best and try and coordinate all my equipment into types and section off areas for items that I often use together.

When I saw the fantastic range of art and craft storage solutions from Candy Box Crafts I knew these were the business. They mix and match to your needs and stack up, so you can choose the products that work best for you. There are drawers, storage bins, caddies, pigments trays and boxes all available on the Powertex website. As they are MDF they can be decorated with Powertex products; your storage can also be a work of art. Tracey has already made use of these products and made some beautiful and, oh so useful, storage pieces for our studio here at Tex Towers. I know a few of our tutors have also got some and use them for their workshops; portable, functional pieces of art.

So this January why don’t you give your craft area the attention it deserves and create an orderly and easy to use space so that your creative juices can flow? We would love to see pics of your craft room and how you store your art supplies, please share them with us on our Facebook groups. Happy crafting.Powertex Storage