Powertex structure lamp
In April my Powertex Design Team project was to create a lamp. There are so many possibilities of course but I wanted to show how to create a sturdy Powertex structure lamp using a bottle as a mould. Powertex Universal Medium is a powerful fabric hardener when used with natural fibres. I can build structure with wire, bases, bottles etc but this project shows how strong Powertex can be without these foundations.
The lamp is fun idea for home decor or for a gift that can be completely personalised in colour and embellishments. Be careful to use only LED lights in these structures as they stay cool. Do not allow these structures to be used with a naked flame as the structure will be flammable.
This project originally appeared on The Powertex UK Mixed Media Magazine in April 2019.
Use the techniques
These techniques can be easily applied to create a freestanding structure from Powertex. Use bowls, boxes and bottles to act as your form, wrap it in plastic and build your structure. Just be sure you can separate your project easily by using a loose wrap and a wide opening to remove your form. Additional parts can be added afterwards or a project can be created in two halves. There are lots of options for building up even quite large structures.
Powertex Universal Medium in Ivory, Ready Made Bister Spray in Blue, Colortricx pigment in Rich Gold, Easy Varnish
A large bottle or container for a mould, a plastic bag, masking tape
Cotton fabric strips about 2″ – 3″ wide and a square for the bottom
MDF Dropouts, alphabet, Texture balls
Battery powered LED fairy lights
Prepare and wrap your form
To create a freestanding structure you first need a structure to act as a mould. This can be anything really but it needs to resist the Powertex from sticking to it. I’m using a simple bottle shape as it’s easy to remove. Wrap your bottle with plastic and secure with small pieces of tape. Don’t wrap too tight and ensure there are no holes or you won’t be able to remove the bottle afterwards. I speak from experience!
To make the Powertex structure, simply coat your fabric pieces in Powertex medium and wrap them loosely around the form. I started covering the bottom of the bottle first and then wrapped in spirals around the bottle until I had covered the whole “wide” part. As it’s a lamp, I left gaps in between the strips in places for the lights to shine through. You can remove the bottle after a few hours when the structure is dry enough to hold itself up. The fabric and Powertex will shrink a little so keep that in mind.
Add to your structure
Adding additional embellishments can be done at this stage. You can apply textures while the bottle is still in place but be sure that you can remove your bottle before you do this! Use Powertex Medium, fabrics, textures, embellishments or whatever you like you add interest to your structure. You can build onto your structure with confidence but be aware that your structure needs to be balanced or heavier at the base to stop it falling over.
There are lots of ways to add colour to your structure. They won’t compromise the weight or strength of the hardener fabric either. I used a ready made Bister spray to run into my Ivory textures but you can choose whatever you like. Dry brushing will work very well and if using a lamp style project metallic pigments can be a great choice. If you’re adding colour to Ivory or White Powertex you might find this blog useful.
Applying the techniques
The lamp is a simple example of how I use Powertex Universal Medium to create structures. It’s quite small but these same techniques can be used to make larger Powertex structures and build up parts together. I cover the chosen form with plastic and ensure I can remove it without damage. Remember Powertex is a very strong water resistant adhesive! The structures take about three weeks to cure completely and if you use natural fibres they become very solid.
If you’d like to know more about Powertex you might find this article, 10 things about Powertex, helpful. There is also a series of articles for beginners on my blog. I like to use Powertex to create art on canvas and you can find examples of this in my gallery and also in my Pinterest boards where I gather my favourite Powertex art inspiration.