Umbria roof (fiber)tiles, a tyvek tutorial

The Brady Bunch cottage cheese texture (the only texture I hate!!) has been scraped off of DS1’s new room-to-be. I’ve been up since 6:30 to start painting said ceiling and it’s time to get to the walls. But first, a blog post! I am so totally procrastinating! And that was so totally a So. CA sentence from this Midwest girl!

I promised to share some step-by-step photos of my fiber tiles made with fabrics and Tyvek. Without further ado, but with some procrastination of the painting kind, here goes.

The roof “tiles” from my fiber piece, Umbria: Roof I were fascinating for me to make. I drew heavily from the book, Surfaces for Stitch by Gwen Hedley. After reading it cover to cover, and then going back and reading it again, I closed it, grabbed a journal, and began scribbling ideas from memory. This way, I was able to merge Gwen’s instructions with my own experiences and ideas. This was a new way of organizing my experimentation, and I must say that I like it. Not only does it arrange my ideas, but it keeps me going when I get interrupted. I don’t make a firm step-by-step list, but rather a loose gathering of ideas, with notations on “what if’s” and “try this’es”. In addition to helping me through the tedious and numerous interruptions to my day, it also helped me get over the initial resistance I always feel when trying new ideas. What is that about, anyway?

On to my roof tiles. I first gathered together most of the fabrics I thought I might use. I hand-dyed and painted several segments of cotton, silk, dry baby wipes and paper towels (great texture!), used dryer sheets, cheesecloth, and lace. Some fabric was rusted. The inspiration photo of the actual roof tiles in Italy was indispensable for color. Here is a photo of the gathered fabric, with some painted Tyvek in the center:

To paint the Tyvek, front and back, I grabbed some craft acrylic paint in the tile colors, and swiped it on randomly. I did experiment with different patterning, but in the end, it didn’t make any difference to the finished product.

Next up: play time! I cut random chunks of different fabric, laying them down on a square of painted Tyvek. Sometimes the fabric hung over the edge.

Then, I took the square to my sewing machine, and sewed my beloved interlocking circles. Around and around and around I sewed. Wheee!

The above photo shows an experiment on unpainted Tyvek.  I ended up zapping the Tyvek enough to have it shrink back and hide behind the fabric, so I didn’t paint the tyvek for this tile.

Once the squares were sewn, I took them outside, along with my heat gun and a chopstick to hold the square in place. The chopstick complained less about the heat from the air gun than did my fingers. Ouch! I have a cheapie heat gun from Michael’s, so I let it run for a few minutes to heat up.

I experimented with zapping the square with hot air from the back and from the front. The back side won, hands down. The Tyvek curls and bubbles and generally has a party, all the while being constrained by the sewn lines. Here is a specific square, shown before and after zapping:

Below (shown before being zapped) is an experiment that, to my eyes, is a failure:

I had a square of Tyvek/fabric and couched on some yarn. I didn’t realize that the yarn made such a pronounced “S” shape (really, I was just going for some curves, but the small size of the initial square didn’t allow for much patterning with the yarn….) I had hoped that the shrinking Tyvek would obscure the “S” in some freeform way. Didn’t happen.

I share these yucky photos because I always find much to learn from failure, and I will definitely try adding yarns to the Tyvek square again.

Well, I have to go paint the walls of DS1’s room now. I do have some more close up’s of the squares to share, plus some other experiments. You won’t have to wait too long to see those– I have a whole ‘nother bedroom to paint, so I’ll need to have some more procrastinating excuses!

Note:  another tyvek tutorial follows this blog post!  I’m on a roll!!



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3 responses to “Umbria roof (fiber)tiles, a tyvek tutorial

  1. That was fascinating sp? Susan. I did not know Tyvek would do that.

  2. Diane F

    What a cool tutorial. I sure do need to get a heat gun. I have been saving used tyveks envolopes for a while.
    On another note I have some good green smoothie news over on my blog. I owe you the hugest THANK-YOU for turning me on to these.
    Happy painting!

  3. Is this the same tyvek as the envelopes or is it the tyvek fabric that Joggles sells?

    Susan wrote: Judi, this is tyvek from a used USPS mail envelope! I like to recycle as much as possible with my art.

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