Experiments with Lutradur...
Lutradur is a spun bond web material manufactured by Pellon. Originally created as a roofing product, its horizons expanded when some enterprising artist realized that you could use Lutradur in mixed media and fabric art.
I decided to experiment a bit with different mediums and paints to see what effects I could achieve. I used gesso and gloss gel medium to prepare the Lutradur and then applied Lumiere and Dye-na-Flow paints. Though both products are manufactured by Jacquard, Lumiere and Dye-na-Flow are very different Lumiere is thicker , more opaque, and filled with Pearl-ex which provides the shimmer and sparkle. Dye-na-Flow is a very thin bodied paint that can be quite transparent, especially when thinned with water. Both are suitable for fabric, but must be heat set for durability.
To begin with I cut pieces of Lutradur and coated two with gesso and two more with gloss gel medium. I then applied several colors of Lumiere to each of the gesso and gel medium coated pieces.
This is Lutradur that has had gesso applied to the upper half. I spread it across the length, brushing from end to end in a haphazard fashion and did not try for even coverage. Once it dried I painted three colors of Lumiere; halo blue gold, pearlescent silver, and halo violet gold, in the opposite direction so that the colors spanned the area with gesso and the untreated section. Oddly enough, the glimmer from the paint is most noticeable in the lower half where the Lumiere was applied directly to the Lutradur.
This piece had gloss gel medium applied from end to end, but this time across the entire piece of Lutradur. I painted in on quite liberally in some areas and once it dried you could not only see the brush marks, but also areas where the gel was thicker and had dried quite glossy. That's the lighter appearing areas you see, especially in the halo blue gold paint.
This is the gesso/Dye-na-Flow piece and I really like the effect with this combination. This time the gesso is in the lower half of the piece. Three colors of Dye-na-Flow; teal, claret, and hot fuchsia, were painted on in the opposite direction so the colors spanned the gesso'd and untreated sections of the Lutradur. If you look at the lower section where I applied the gesso, you can see areas that were not well coated. Those areas absorbed more of the Dye-na-Flow and so appear darker. The areas that are lighter are where the gesso coated the Lutradur and prevented the Dye-na-Flow from seeping into the fiber.
I think if you took the time to carefully apply the gesso, leaving some areas more sparsely covered you can get some interesting effects. I'm also betting that you can paint the gesso on in deliberate patterns, perhaps using a stencil or simply free-handing motifs or doodles to create an overall design.
This is the piece I coated with gloss gel medium and then painted with the same three colors of Dye-na-Flow. There are light and darker areas on this piece, but it's pretty unremarkable otherwise.
The next product I tried was Radiant Rain sprays. I used a couple of colors and just misted them onto the surface of the Lutradur. These sprays also contain shiny mica which causes them to shimmer, but that effect was mostly lost on the Lutradur. The color was nice and transparent and allows you to still see the fibers. I think it would work well where you wanted subtle, transparent color.
Just a light spray here...
On this piece I sprayed the pink on first, beginning in the upper right corner and then gradually applying it more lightly toward the middle. I sprayed the upper right corner a couple more times, even allowing it to puddle a bit. I then sprayed the turquoise color on in a much lighter fashion from the lower left corner up into the middle, overlapping the pink in places. I think there's way more potential here that I've not yet tapped into.
After a while of messing with this stuff it occurred to me that since Lutradur is a synthetic it would likely react to heat. With that in mind, I pulled out one of our new Milwaukee precision hot tools and did this...
This is just a small, untreated square of Lutradur that I zapped with the heat gun. You have to be careful, especially with the Milwakuee heat gun since it gets very hot. Keep the air moving and watch how the Lutradur is reacting. Too much heat will cause it to shrivel into a messy bit of nothng.
***WARNING*** Heating Lutradur causes odor to be emitted. Be safe, sane, and sensible... ONLY do this in a well ventilated area or outside.
Once I knew I could control the distressing the heat caused I decided to see how painting the Lutradur would affect the process.
This is Lutradur with Lumiere halo blue gold paint applied. You can see that I left a lot of areas either lightly painted or with very little coverage.
This is what the piece looked like once I zapped it with the heat gun. The paint seemed to protect the Lutradur from the heat, at least briefly. Remember, the heat gun gets hot and distressing can accelerate faster than you were expecting!
I tried one more piece with halo violet gold Lumiere paint...
This time I applied the paint more heavily though I was careful to leave some areas only lightly coated. I concentrated the heat from the gun in those areas and allowed it to do its' thing...
Here's a closer view of how the heat totally disintegrates the Lutradur in some places and leaves a more lacy texture in others.
What I find the most exciting about all of this is that no matter what I did with the Lutradur it always remained in a state that could be worked with. I could have applied more paint at any time and left it alone or further distressed the piece. And best of all... any of these pieces can be sewn on!
Think about the various possibilities for sheets of Lutradur that you paint and then stitch or paint, distress, and stitch. Then add beads and other embellishments; fibers, ribbons, and who knows what else. The sky is the limit here!
If you want to play and need supplies...
Click here for Lutradur - we sell the 100 gram/3 ounce version.
Click here for gesso and all types of gel mediums
Do you need a heat gun? Click here for the Milwaukee prevision heat tool
Copyright © 2007 Barbara Strembicki. May not be copied or used without written permission.
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