Powertex students and beginners are sometimes surprised to find their art and sculpture can go outside but with Spring around the corner it's the perfect time. I'm answering a few questions in this article about using Powertex to create weatherproof, outdoor art, garden sculpture and so much more.
Using Powertex for outdoor projects
Powertex Universal Medium is weatherproof when cured which takes three weeks. Create your mixed media art ensuring all your pieces are coated well with Powertex Universal Medium (Fabric Hardener). To protect any colour you add to this, apply a layer or two of Easy Varnish that is also weatherproof. Note that submerging Powertex projects in water is not recommended, it is considered weatherproof not waterproof. For best results use 100% natural materials, such as cotton fabrics and natural fibres, wood, cork etc.
Which Powertex products can I use for outside?
All the colours of Powertex Universal Medium (Fabric Hardener) are weatherproof in their cured state except the Transparent product.
Use your Powertex Universal Medium with natural materials such as wire frames, wood, natural fabrics, fibres and metal embellishments. Powertex Universal Medium should be left to cure for three weeks before being put outside.
All the Powertex dry texture mediums can be used to create projects for outside. Coat any textures thoroughly with Powertex Universal Medium to ensure water resistance.
This moon gazing hare was made with Stone Art clay but was coated (when dry) completely with Powertex Bronze over the textures. It was then dry brushed with a mix of Powercolor pigments and Easy Varnish. This varnish is also weatherproof and will protect any colour that you add to your project.
Can I use Stone Art projects outside?
I have successfully used Stone Art clay in a small outdoor sculpture and it appears to have weathered the storm! A glass bottle created a base with layers of Stone Art clay to sculpt the hare. Wire pieces created the ear shapes. The Stone Art clay needs time to dry thoroughly so there is no moisture inside the clay. Drying in a warm room speeds this up a bit.
This hare sculpture used a coat of Powertex Universal Medium to seal it before adding additional colour. Powercolor pigment mixed with Powertex Easy Varnish was used for dry brushing on the colour.
The Easy Varnish protects the colour pigments. Remember that Powertex or Easy Varnish should coat all the surfaces completely to provide a weatherproof finish. An additional coat of Easy Varnish can be added if you’re feeling nervous about the coverage.
I have heard other crafters use yacht varnish for outdoor projects but this really isn’t necessary. The Powertex products are designed to be weatherproof and can withstand weather fluctuations if used as directed.
How do I make a large Powertex sculpture for my garden?
The techniques are really the same whatever size your project. Think about the frame or base you need for your project and create that from natural materials such as chicken wire or wood. It’s worth thinking about the weight of your frame too. Does it need to be light and mobile or heavy enough to stay put?
Chicken wire can be shaped for animal and figure sculptures if you have the right tools and safety equipment. Wooden bases or mdf can be constructed and coated with Powertex and then create your project as usual with wire, foil, plaster and fabric. Old mannequins are a popular choice for large figures.
TIP: Remember Powertex (especially on fabric) is heavy when wet so make sure your base structure or frame is strong enough to hold in place until it’s dry.
Can I use Bister pigments?
Bister pigments (spray and granules) have a very particular finish that’s hard to get with any other product. However, it’s not permanent or lightfast so a project could look bleached and colour can even run off when it gets wet. Your art will need to be protected. If you would like to try Bister on a project for outside try these tips:
- Use a varnish that’s weatherproof with UV protection to protect your colours,
- Use a spray-on varnish, a brush on liquid might reactivate the Bister and make it bleed,
- Test a small area first to see how it reacts.
What Powertex projects can I create for outdoors?
Anything you create for inside you can also create for outside! Specific outdoor projects might include:
- house numbers or name plates
- decorated planters or flower pots
- garden sculptures such as animals, birds or figures
- wall art and sculpture
- LED lanterns or tree decorations
- birdhouses or feeders
- patio or porch fairy houses
Your imagination really is the limit so whatever your style, have a try at making something for your outdoor space.
Download my free guides to Powertex if you’re new to this versatile medium. If you want to get some basic instruction I also have a beginners guide to Crafting with Powertex on Etsy. It’s a great way to learn the basic Powertex techniques and get started on your own project.
I’m a Powertex tutor in the south of England and get my supplies from Powertex UK.
[Updated May 2023]
Jinny · 19th March 2019 at 10:32 am
Fab blog and a lot of questions answered for those who have not tried Powertex. LOve your bottles x
Art table notes February 2021 - Kore Sage | Mixed Media Artist · 1st March 2021 at 6:46 pm
[…] art projects. If you’d like to make some weatherproof art or sculpture you can read more in the blog on how to create something […]
Art table notes November 2021 - Kore Sage | Mixed Media Artist · 5th December 2021 at 4:20 pm
[…] There’s still time to get your creations made in time for the holidays although it’s worth remembering that projects for outdoors need three weeks to cure before they are weatherproof. I have a blog about this if you’d like to know more about using Powertex for outdoor creations. […]
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