Powertex sculptures from recycled items

Designer – Annette Smyth

One of the great things I love about working with the Powertex product range is the ability to recycle and upcycle everyday objects into something completely different.

I love to create 3D sculptures, especially animals and birds. I often walk around car boots and local charity shops dreaming of all the things I could create from the weird and wonderful items on offer.

Sometimes I find an object that just attracts me but I don’t have an immediate project in mind. In cases like this, I sit the item in my studio and wait until I get that lightbulb moment.

Powertex sculptures from recycled items

Here are a few of my upcycled sculpts.

Lamp bases make great legs!

Lamp base

These beautiful lamps were no longer working and were gifted to me by my good friend Jacqui Mexson. Jacqui knows me so well that she knew I would be over the moon and brimming with ideas with their beautiful shape.

I removed all the electrical gubbins and the lampshades (I’ve reserved these for another project!!). Along with some polystyrene, pipe lagging, foil and masking tape, they were then ready for their transformation into…

Powertex flamigoes by Annette Smyth.  from recycled items.

The flamingoes

Using Powertex Universal Medium, Stone Art and packaging from an Amazon delivery, these birds just came into being.

Candle holders are perfect armatures

Candle holder as a sculpture base

This candle holder was a pleasant find at the local tip shop for the grand price of £1. Candle holders are often solid forms with a decent weight so lend themselves perfectly as armatures. The flowing curves of this treble clef shape immediately called out for a sea themed project. I removed the top flat plate and built up the shape with tin foil to create…

Sea horse by Annette Smyth

A fabric draped seahorse

Again I used Powertex Universal Medium along with pigments and 3D sand and balls for the base.

Empty tape rolls make perfect circles

Powertex fish sculpture by Annette Smyth. from recycled items.

Here I have used the empty masking tape roll to create a perfect circle to build on.

Powertex fish by Annette Smyth

Some foil, masking tape, Easy3D flex and pigments made this fish a fun project.

Plastic milk containers as animal bodies

Powertex rabbit from milk container

My rabbits and dogs are created from 4pt plastic milk containers for the bodies. The cardboard tubes from the centre of rolls of tinfoil are the perfect for shape for legs. Foil enables me to add bulk and shape for the head, ears and paws.

Powertex dog from container Annette Smyth from recycled items

Once formed these are covered in masking tape and painted with a layer of Powertex Universal Medium.

Powertex rabbit from milk container by Annette Smyth

Before being covered with fabric or Stone Art clay.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing a few of my Powertex sculptures from recycled items and that I have inspired you to have a go yourself. If you would like an easy start into sculpting check out my previous article on sculpting penguins.

Don’t forget we would love to see your makes by posting them on the Powertex Studio Facebook group or into the Powertex Addicts Facebook page.

If you would like to join me for a workshop at my home studio then please take a look at the workshops page on my website.

Until next time, Happy Creative Adventures…..Axx

Powertex Fairy Lights Bottle

Van Gogh Inspired Powertex Bottle

by Donna Mcghie

Van Gogh Powertex bottle
I was inspired by my favourite artist Vincent Van Gogh

For this month’s Powertex step by step article I was asked to use fairy lights to create a lighting feature. So it just had to be a powertex fairy lights bottle!

The thought that immediately sprang into my mind was a painting by one of my favourite artists, Vincent Van Gogh.  I love his style of swirling, vibrant colours, and thought this would work really well with Powertex.

The painting I decided to pay homage to was Starry Starry Night.  I loved the thought of twinkly fairy lights shining through a swirling Powertex sky. 

Where to start

I decided to use a bottle as my base, and to use Powertex Paperdecoration as my main medium.  I love how it organically has all the textures and swirls I was hoping to recreate.  Paper dec  would also conveniently give me lots of gaps for those starry lights to shine through.

Powertex bottle light project
Powertex paperdecoration is just perfect for this project

There were some challenges with my idea.  Such as how to keep the glass showing through the gaps nice and clear.  But a bit of thinking outside the box overcame these, and I am really happy with the end result.

I’ve always loved Van Gogh, but fell in love with him even more after reading a book of his letters to his brother Theo. He wrote, like he painted, from his heart and soul.

Materials List

Step by Step

Wrap your bottle in bubble wrap to ensure the glass does not get too smeared to allow the lights to shine through.

prep for Powertex bottle project
I also wrapped my paper decoration round to ensure it was wide enough. Be sure to leave a few strands of this separate to use later.

Carefully soak your Powertex paper decoration in blue powertex. Lay it flat and swirl some yellow ochre powertex over the top.

blue and yellow powertex fabric hardener
the yellow swirls are prominent in the original painting

Now gently wrap the coloured paper decoration around the bubble wrapped bottle and leave to dry.

powertex blue paperdecoration wrapped around bottle
Ideally leave overnight to harden

Once dry, remove the bubble wrap and place the paper decoration back over your bottle, along with whatever embellishment you have chosen for the moon.

powertex blue moon bottle
I used a fabric button soaked in Blue Powertex for the moon. Also added some material strips around the bottle neck

I made white swirls using tiny strips of paper decoration soaked in transparent Powertex, and also added my twisted willow securing in place with strips of material.

powertex twisted willow
the twisted willow fits in perfectly with this design

Finally I enhanced the whole thing with dry brushing, and also added some minute stars, gems and eco friendly glitter.

powertex fairy lights bottle
Back view of my Powertex Light Bottle

I’m really pleased with how this powertex fairy lights bottle turned out. The powertex pigments I used to enhance the design were Colortrix Silver, Powerpearl and Terragreen, Powercolor Titanium White and Pearl Pigment Sherbet Dip.

I chose to pay tribute to Van Gogh, but I do think there are so many other artists whose style could be used for these bottle lights. I’d love to see any versions you come up with over on The Powertex Studio Facebook Group. If you are inspired by this, you might also want to check out my last blog which also has a painterly theme.

Thank you so much for reading.

If you would like to see more of what I get up to you can follow me on facebook, or check out my website. I look forward to seeing you again in June. Donna 🙂

Step by step to techniques used to create a Powertex Box – Donna Mcghie

Hello and a very Happy New Year to everyone.

One of my resolutions for 2019 is to try and catch up with the modern age by getting to grips with videos in my blogs.   As you can also see, my daughter has been very helpful in getting them onto my computer for me, hence the titles of the videos.

What you will need to create your button tin:

Step by Step Instructions and Techniques:

1) As the box I was using was plastic I covered the base section with masking tape and then painted over this with Powertex Hardener so that the material would have something to adhere to.

2) I painted the lid with white gesso

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I painted the lid with white gesso so that my art deco image would show up

3) Once the bottom section was dry enough,  I turned it upside down and proceeded to soak strips of material in the Powertex Fabric Hardener and after squeezing out thoroughly placed them over the base.  At this point I was keeping the material nice and smooth as I laid it on as I wanted a flat bottom for my tin to rest on.

4) I dried this with a hair dryer and once dry enough, turned it over and started to work on my sides.  I wanted more texture on the sides, so scrunched up my fabric and added buttons as well.

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This is  a photo of the side once it has been dry brushed

If you want to you can also do this on the inside of your box.

5) Whilst this was drying off, I started to work on my lid.  I gently tore around the image I wanted to use from the Powertex Art Nouveau Rice Papers.  Then, using a good quality brush I brushed a little of the varnish onto the dried gesso, before carefully placing my image where I wanted it to go.  I then secured this in place by brushing over with a couple of more layers of varnish.  (NB: It is worth using a good quality brush for this as you want the image to be nice and smooth, the Powertex Brushes are perfectly designed for the job).

5) Once my image was in place, I carefully built up a pattern around it.  I wanted the most texture on my lid, so have done a short video to demonstrate how I did this.

6) Once the lid was covered, I added pieces of jewellery from my junk stash.  I also liked the idea of adding a frame, so used a small mdf one, and then, in memory of my nan and her tin, added some more buttons as well.

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I couldn’t resist adding a choker to my lady

7)  I left my box to dry off completely overnight

8) The next day it was time for my favourite part, dry brushing.  I wanted to give the impression of a bronze tin, whilst also subtly incorporating some of the colours on the Art Nouveau image, so I opted to use pigments in Bronze Gold, interference Blue and Interference Red.  Dry brushing is simple once you get used to the technique which is this:

  • Dip your flat brush into a small amount of Powertex Easy Varnish
  • Then dip the same brush into a small amount of whichever Powertex Pigment you have chosen
  • Now wipe the brush off on a sheet of paper towel.  This may counter productive, but it really is worth doing as you will get the best results when the brush is quite dry and will only pick out highlights, rather than smothering your design with thick colour.
  • Now you are ready to very gently, sweep your brush over your design.  Being sure to keep it flat.  You will be amazed at how quickly your design starts to come to life.

My best tip for dry brushing would be to start off gently and gradually build up to the depth of colour you want.

9) I did this over the whole of my tin.

10) And voila!! A rather bog standard plastic chocolate box that was destined to be added to landfill is now a  beautiful button box, in memory of a lovely lady.

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My finished box

I really enjoyed making this, and obviously similar boxes can be transformed in so many different ways – to reflect the personality of whoever you are making it for, or in memory of.

I hope you enjoyed this blog (please excuse the amateur video techniques, I will get better, I promise).  If you create your own version of one of these I would love to see it, and you can post photos on the Powertex Addicts Facebook Page

If you would like to see more about what I do, and why I do it my website page is www.artandmurals.co.uk