Fabric Bowls

After making a felt and scrim fabric bowl a few weeks ago I have been experimenting with alternative ways of stiffening fabrics. The water soluble fabric worked well and has produced a moderately stiff bowl but I am concerned that if it gets wet it will loose its shape and possibly its strength too.

As an alternative I have been experimenting with PVA glue (commonly used in schools for art classes and also known as wood glue).

Here is a bowl made from 4 layers of rainbow dyed scrim, machine embroidery for decoration and PVA glue.

A close up of the embroidered centre:

However, it is still quite malleable…

I would like to stiffen it some more, but am not sure how, some possibilities include threading coloured wires through the fabric or spraying with a diluted mix of acrylic medium but I’m not sure I really like either idea. Do any of you clever people have better /other ideas?

10 comments

  1. I like your bowl. I would think that you could add another layer of PVA and that would stiffen it more. There a bunch of fabric stiffeners available but I haven't used any of them so I'm no help. Sorry 🙂

  2. I like your bowl. I would think that you could add another layer of PVA and that would stiffen it more. There a bunch of fabric stiffeners available but I haven't used any of them so I'm no help. Sorry 🙂

  3. I have used PVA on thin felted bowls and that worked well and lasted. I never tried rewetting it though. I have also seen references to using shellac for stiffening but I am not sure how that works.

  4. I have used PVA on thin felted bowls and that worked well and lasted. I never tried rewetting it though. I have also seen references to using shellac for stiffening but I am not sure how that works.

  5. Thank you both for your thoughtful replies. I think I will try spraying on another couple of PVA coats and see what happens if that doesn't work I have found some commercial sprays that apparently will stiffen fabrics and are intended for outdoor use (Powertex and Pavepol) but not sure if they are available in the UK…. need to do some more searching 🙂

  6. Thank you both for your thoughtful replies. I think I will try spraying on another couple of PVA coats and see what happens if that doesn't work I have found some commercial sprays that apparently will stiffen fabrics and are intended for outdoor use (Powertex and Pavepol) but not sure if they are available in the UK…. need to do some more searching 🙂

  7. It's lovely bowl! As for more stiffening it's very much depends on your preferences and the purpose of the bowl itself. I used a fabric stiffener (liquid) once but at this stage you may prefer sprays? Spray starch?

  8. It's lovely bowl! As for more stiffening it's very much depends on your preferences and the purpose of the bowl itself. I used a fabric stiffener (liquid) once but at this stage you may prefer sprays? Spray starch?

  9. We've made bowls and applied CMC paste after the final rinse to the felt and fabric while it's still wet (not dripping wet) – dries as stiff as a ceramic bowl!

  10. We've made bowls and applied CMC paste after the final rinse to the felt and fabric while it's still wet (not dripping wet) – dries as stiff as a ceramic bowl!

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