Powertex Universal Medium can be used on almost any surface and for a range of art or craft projects. As people explore Powertex in their own projects, questions come up.
Using Powertex on plastic and other questions
Here are some of the questions I’ve come across as a Powertex artist and tutor, about using Powertex.
When I say “Powertex” I mean Powertex Universal Medium.
Can I use any fabrics with Powertex?
The quick answer is yes but not all fabrics will behave the same! Natural fibres work the best with Powertex if you’re looking to create a solid sculpture or texture. The more synthetic fibres in the mix, the less the fabric will harden. Aim for at least 70% nature fibres for the best results. Synthetic fabrics will remain softer and more flexible even when cured. They will also be less weather resistant so keep that in mind if you’re creating something for outside.
If you’re using Transparent Powertex with fabric it’s worth doing a test piece first as it might darken the colour of your fabric.
What materials can I use with Powertex?
Stick to natural materials to get the best from your Powertex as a fabric hardener, adhesive and paint. Fabrics and textiles such as muslin, cotton t-shirt or sheeting, hessian, stockinette and denim can all be used with unique textures.
Consider using wood, mdf, chipboard, cork, metal, aluminium wire, string or threads, t-shirt yarn, cotton yarn, silk flowers, feathers, raffia, heavy card or paper, paper clay, glass, sand or stone (and there’s more I haven’t thought of)!
You can also use acrylic paint and inks and decoupage with thin papers on Powertex surfaces.
Can I use Powertex on plastic surfaces such as toys or embellishments?
You can use Powertex but it will likely peel off plastic surfaces. Soft plastics can be particularly unstable. If I pour my Powertex onto a plastic plate and leave the leftovers to dry, the Powertex appears to stick to the plate. I can turn it upside down even. However it starts to peel away if I bend the plate or with minimal help from a palette knife. If you want your project to last, to go outside or certainly if it’s for sale I recommend you prepare your plastic surface first or use something else.
How do I prime plastic for Powertex?
Plastic shapes such as flower pots, bottles or boxes can be covered with masking tape which provides a surface suitable for Powertex. On intricate items masking tape may not be possible. Spray primers for plastic are available for these type of projects if you need your work to be lasting.
I’ve heard of others using Gesso to prime plastic surfaces. I’ve heard hairspray also suggested. I haven’t tried this but perhaps it gives the surface a “tooth”. However, the silicone content of the hairspray might not be the best base for your Powertex either if you want a project to last. For short term projects these methods will work very well.
Will Powertex stick to glass?
Yes it will. The Powertex may bead on first application, particularly if the glass is very clean. A repeat application will solve this. Light weight fabric such as muslin might stick better as your first layer. Masking tape can be used if it can be hidden and is useful for bottles and wine glasses. If you’re using a fabric wrapping technique be sure your fabric is not over saturated with Powertex, your fabric should be tacky, not dripping!
I’ve heard Powertex is weatherproof but does that mean waterproof? If I decorate glasses can I wash them?
Powertex Universal Medium is weatherproof and water resistant when cured (after 3 weeks) Cured Powertex can resist bad weather including rain but it should not be submerged in water. It is not waterproof. Projects for outside should be made with Powertex Universal Medium and natural fibres or coated fully with Easy Varnish which is also weatherproof. (Easy Varnish can be used to protect any colour you add on top of the Powertex.)
Projects like glasses can be washed with warm soapy water, rinsed and left to dry but should not be submerged in water or put in the dishwasher. Warm water may cause the Powertex to soften but will harden again when cool.
Are Powertex products safe for use with candles?
I strongly recommend that battery LED candles or lights are used with Powertex projects. LED candles are available in a wide range of styles, colours and sizes and are a safer alternative.
Powertex products are very versatile and Powertex artists are creating extraordinary things all the time. I recommend a search on Pinterest for ideas if you’re new to Powertex. I also have some free guides here for Powertex beginners and there’s lots of tips in my blog. There are tutors across the UK but if you are looking for some basics to use at home, try my “Get Crafting with Powertex” instruction to download.
I’m a UK based tutor and get my Powertex supplies from Powertex UK.
Updated July 2020
It’s hard to get to a Powertex workshop at the moment so I have started a Powertex Facebook group where I’m sharing more tips, articles and project ideas. To get the group started, for a short time I am opening up my Facebook group to readers of this blog. It’s a great place to ask your Powertex questions and get some tutor tips. Join in here. Not on Facebook? Sign up to my newsletter instead to keep in touch.