Final Work (Product + Exploration board)




Final Product: Laser Cut Mermaid inspired Skirt

Process: Firstly, I had to laser cut the scale acrylic pieces using the laser cutting machine. Upon laser cutting the first round, I realized that I did not have enough scales to fit both sides of the skirt, hence I had to cut up more. There were a total of 130 pieces+/- of scales.

Next, I bought 4 different kinds of spray paint colours, all in metallics. The colours were chrome silver, premium silver, metallic blue and silver glitter. After which, I started spraying each and every piece. Some of the pieces had nice interesting textures and spray dot patterns, as some of the spray nozzles were bigger and tends to splatter when used.

Initially, I wanted to arrange them in a gradient format but upon arranging the scales, I thought that a random pattern will look more similar to the ones in the mood board. I liked how some scales were more reflective than others, which gave a really nice contrast and depth to the entire piece when looked at as a whole.

Here’s the final product: 

Counting the number of scales I need

Freshly cut from the laser machine!

Spraying process:

Dot textures!

Mixing blue and silver spray paints/ paper dabbing texture

Mass spraying

Chrome silver

Metallic blue and silver

Dot textures on silver spray painted scales

Fixing the scales onto the skirt:

I had trouble arranging the scales into a straight line, as the fabric is very soft and moves all the time. The scales were also irregular in shape, making it harder for me to see too.

I tried my best to keep it as compact as possible, making sure the scales don’t jut out awkwardly, but it was SO DIFFICULT! The scales also fall off quite often, even while tightening the silver rings, and I’ll have to repeat the process again.

However, I’m quite pleased with the final result even though it was such a tedious process. I still felt that there was something missing on top/ there was too much empty space.

Hence, I added a silver leather band around the waistline. I think that this was the key item that made the whole skirt stand out even more! So happy with the results. It’s a pity the skirt is in size XXS (it was the only piece left in the store) and I can’t fit in it 🙁

(Will update with more professionally taken images)




Exploration board

Each piece was created emphasising on the shapes, colours and textures of the moodboard.

Technique 1: Laser cut 

Vectored shapes to follow reference image of coral reef ^

First attempt using white glue, wasn’t pleased with the outcome so I did another one with the remaining shapes.

Gluing the pieces together: Layer 1


Gluing the pieces together: Layer 2

Gluing the pieces together: Layer 3 (Final piece) Added some shiny dots on top after this…

Technique 2: Fabric on thread 

Materials used – Knitting wool, Cotton wool, a variety of threads

Finishing touches – Sewn on beads

After washing the soluble paper away

Final product before cutting the edges away

Technique 3: Plastic fusing

I specifically picked out the colours of plastic bags that matched my moodboard. I had to iron the plastics together first, and use a hot gun to melt it. This was done very carefully as I wanted certain colours at specific spots, therefore I had to control the heat well as I didn’t want the plastics to fuse/ melt too much.


After which, I cut this up and arranged it on the square canvas. I followed the 1/3 rule for a good visual heirachy. Adding on, I thought that a smooth metallic silver fabric background can create contrast in terms of colours and textures (rough v/s smooth). I felt that the colours really complement each other very well.


Technique 4: Thermoplastics

For thermoplastics, I went ahead with this shape because I felt that the irregularity resembled a jellyfish quite well. And again, to add contrast to the pieces, I sprayed on chrome silver to enhance it.

I felt that the organza colours stood out against the teal of the fabric here. I had to hand sew it onto the fabric before adding a hard card behind for mounting.

Technique 5: Weaving

For the last and final technique, I weaved two different yarns together using a loom, to form a coral reef texture. Looking back, perhaps I could use a more contrasting colour for the second yarn so that the piece will stand out more. Nonetheless, I still love how this turned out. Because the furry texture had a bit of metallics in it already, I felt that I didn’t have to add more things to intensify it.


Final Boards, products and techniques done the entire semester!

Reflection: This module was a big eye-opener. From coming into the class not knowing how to use a sewing machine, to learning about interesting fabric manipulation techniques that constantly make me want to create new things again and again, I have no regrets here! I learnt so many new things that I can apply for future use in school and out. I can’t wait to explore other new techniques and continue creating abstract art/ items. I am also thankful to have learnt and grown with such a wonderful mentor, Galina, and class! I hope to see everyone around in school. 🙂 Perhaps we can start a business selling things we made in Surface Design. HEHE! Cheers to continuing the tradition of knitting in classes the next semester! hahaha.


Week 13: Resin Encapsulation

What is resin encapsulation: Resin systems are designed to protect and insulate printed circuit boards (PCBs) and electronic components from the threats of harsh and challenging environments, including; moisture, vibration, thermal or physical shock and general contamination. By encapsulating the entire device, resins can form a complete barrier against such environments offering superior performance under extreme conditions.

Materials needed: Mould, items to encapsulate, resin liquid, wax spray

How it’s done:

Step 1: Prepare the resin liquid

Step 2: Wax the mould with a wax spray

Step 3: Gather objects and place into the mould, you can also add objects in during the process (if u want the object to be at a specific spot)

Step 4: Once you’re done with arranging, pour the resin liquid into the mould and leave it to dry up in the sun

Step 5: When you see steam coming out, this means that the encapsulation is ready to be taken out of the mould.

Making the resin liquid

Place objects into wax sprayed mould

Pour resin liquid into mould

Resin moulds in the sun


Reflection: This technique is relatively simple, however getting the liquids to the right temperature was abit tricky. I really love and appreciate the fact that we can keep living things “alive” and in their original forms after death. Resin encapsulation will be great if you’d like to make gifts for your loved ones!

Week 12: Thermoplastics & Vacuum Forming


What is Thermoplastics:

Heat-setting is a heat treatment by which shape retention, crease resistance, resilience and elasticity are imparted to the fibres. It also brings changes in strength, stretchability, softness and sometimes on the colour of the material. All these changes are connected with the structural and chemical modifications occurring in the fibre. The structure of the fabric is retained once it is cooled down.

Materials needed: Boiling water in pot, Silk organza, small rubber bands, aluminium foil, small objects to wrap fabric with (fabric will retain this shape) e.g. marbles, stones, big beads, acrylic shapes.

Examples shown in class

Folding origami together with fabric, to retain shape

How it’s done:

Step 1: Cut the organza cloth into the desired size.

Step 2: Place objects onto cloth. Wrap them up with the organza fabric individually and tie a rubber band around the shape tightly.

Step 3: Repeat this procedure a couple of times, depending on how much fabric you want to “shape”.

Step 4: Once you’re done, wrap an aluminium foil around the objects and put it in the boiling water. Leave it there for 1.5 hours. Make sure the aluminium balls do not float.

Step 5: After 1.5 hours, take the aluminium ball out of the pot. Remove the aluminium foil and leave it to dry.

Step 6: Once it is fully dried, remove the rubber bands and objects.

School exercise 


Round disk

Round disk

Aluminium spikes



Going for a BBQ!!!~~~ (Prepping items to be put into the pot)

Boiling process

Trying technique at home

Using a fish scale acrylic shape

Wrapping irregular shape plastic stones

Plastic stones for wrapping

Wrapping multiple acrylic shapes laid flat

Flat acrylic shapes after boiling

Scale acyllic shapes after boiling

After boiling fabric with buttons and beads, colours of wooden beads get transferred onto organza


Personal Reflection: This technique is definitely one of my favourites because it the end products are unique and high fashion!

The process is not easy because sometimes the organza doesn’t take effect even with the boiling, perhaps the objects used were too flat/ not 3D enough.

Even though it’s time consuming and is very much trail and error (you might not get the ideal shape you want), however, it was a very fun process nonetheless, and I’m glad I got to try this out!


Vacuum Forming 

What is vacuum forming: Vacuum forming is a simplified version of thermoforming, where a sheet of plastic is heated to aforming temperature, stretched onto a single-surface mold, and forced against the mold by a vacuum. This process can be used to form plastic into permanent objects such as turnpike signs and protective covers.

How it’s done:

Reflection: Vacuum forming is a very easy process, and all is needed is the machine, an item to vacuum and hard plastics. This technique is practical as vacuum forming can be used for so many different items in packaging design. I will definitely put this into good use for future school projects!



Week 11: Touch & Print Field Trip Reflection

The second field trip was to Touch and Print, a company specialising in transfer printing methods on a wide variety of materials. They do T-shirt printing, printing on mugs, metal, canvases, basically anything with a flat surface. We headed down as a class to Touch and Print’s office located in Bras Besah and were greeted by Leon, the coordinator of the workshop.

Leon started out the workshop with a lecture on heat transfer, colour printing and compositions and the types of papers they sell for transfer printing. We also had the privilege to see some of their cool works like a cardboard cut out chair design that can be made formed into other usable objects.

The link to their youtube channel with their heat transfer tutorials

LED lights fixed onto a T-shirt

Transfer printing onto a cotton shirt:

Step 1: Lay the design face down onto the cotton shirt

Step 2: Press down the machine and wait

Step 3: When the timer ends, lift up the heat presser and peel the top sheet off

Step 4: Admire your print!!!

Reflection: This field trip was very fulfilling as we got to see how these items are printed with machines first hand. Leon was also very helpful in answering our questions! The only tedious part about printing these shirts in bulk is that you have to cut out the design out manually before printing. Other than that, it’s a simple technique to do. I like the practicality of this printing method as well.

Week 10: Fabric Etching, Bleaching, Tie Dye, Laser Cut

Fabric Etching

What is fabric etching: Fiber etching through a Fibre remover, removes fiber from fabrics, creating decorative patterns. Fiber Etch removes plant fibers: cotton, linen, ramie, rayon and paper. It is also very effective on fabric blends (and most noticeable on blends containing at least 50% plant fibers.

Materials needed: Velvet with silk back, Fiber Remover, Paintbrushes, Silkscreen, Squeegy, Iron

How it is done:

  1. Apply the fiber remover to the areas that you don’t want the design
  2. Let the liquid dry onto the fabric
  3. Iron the fabric until the design (silkscreened area) hardens
  4. Scratch the fabric to remove the fibers

My own attempt: Drew a tree but the effect didn’t come out as well as the samples in class. Probably because I didn’t add enough of liquid. This is the outcome after removing the fibres once it has dried. *** I found out that we have to wash the fabric once ironed… oops






What is bleaching: Bleaching causes a material such as cloth, paper, or hair to become white or much lighter by a chemical process or by exposure to sunlight.

Materials needed: Bleach, Fabric, Spray bottle, Water

How it is done:

Step 1: Fill the spray bottle with water and bleach, water to dilute the bleach (Alternatively, you can also tie up the fabric using rubber bands to create different bleaching patterns once the fabric is dried)

Step 2: Lay the fabric flat and spray it with the bleach

Step 3: Leave it in sunlight and the colour will start changing

Step 4: Wash and dry

Spraying bleach onto lace

Spraying bleach onto tied up fabric

Bleach sprayed on fabric

Fabric after a few mins in the sun







Tie Dyeing

What is Tie Dyeing: The process of adding/ changing colours of a fabric. Works best with cotton fabrics.

Materials needed: Fabric, dyes, syringes, containers for mixing (1 per colour), warm water, rubber bands, plastic sheet

How it is done:

Prep fabric

Step 1: Damp your fabric with water. Lay your fabric onto plastic sheet.

Step 2: Start tying fabric up with rubberbands. Here, I folded the fabric into a fan like shape and tied it with 4 rubberbands in equal spaces.

Mix the dyes

Step 3: Fill your bowls with warm water and pour the dye mix. Stir well.

Step 4: Once done, fill the syringes with the dyes.

Tie Dyeing

Step 5: Release one colour of the dye onto each alternate space on the tied fabric. Hence, the colours will be alternating on the fabric. (e.g. blue, purple, blue, purple)

Step 6: Spray salt water. This is to make sure the fabric dye retains it’s vibrancy and stays put on the fabric when washing.

Step 7: Leave it to dry for 8 hours. Once dried, rinse the fabric in warm water and leave it to dry again.

Step 8: Remove rubberbands

Completed product





Laser Cut

What is laser cutting: Laser cutting is a technology that uses a laser to cut materials, and is typically used for industrial manufacturing applications, but is also starting to be used by schools, small businesses, and hobbyists. Laser cutting works by directing the output of a high-power laser most commonly through optics.

Materials needed: Acrylic sheets, Vector illustrator file with design on it (do note that the design has to be in hairline stroke of 0.01mm for the machine to recognise cutting)

How it is done:

When using the school’s laser cut machine, do take note of the rules attempting laser cut.

Step 1: Upload file onto the computer, adjust your vectors to contain within the space of the template file

Step 2: Reference the sample board in the room to adjust settings accordingly. ** Different thickness acrylics will have different settings for cutting AND rasterising

Step 3: Open the lid of the machine and place your acrylic sheet in. You can use the metal object to gauge whether the laser is at the right height (Ask a work study student to help if you’re unsure)

Step 4: Turn on the vacuum. Press “print” on the computer.

Step 5: Press start on the machine and the laser will start cutting.

Step 6: Once the machine has completed the job, lift the lid and collect your laser cut acrylic pieces.

Assembling the pieces together using a layering effect


Do not attempt to cut fabric/ leather with the school’s machine! Cutting leather and fabrics uses a different kind of laser cutter.


Out of all the techniques here, I enjoyed laser cutting the most because I love how intricate the patterns can go. The machine is such a wonderous invention and if I can, I would buy one to use at home!! What I like about laser cutting is that it is a “controllable” technique unlike the rest of the more organic techniques, where you can’t control the flow of the inks/ bleach. There are many uses to laser cutting and whatever the surface, the outcome of are just beautiful!

Week 9: Thermochromatic Ink Transfer

What are Thermochromatic inks: Thermochromatic inks  or dyes are temperature sensitive compounds, developed in the 1970s, that temporarily change color with exposure to heat. They come in two forms, liquid crystals and leuco dyes.

Materials needed: Thermochromatic pigments, clear base (like resin, glue), silkscreen, light coloured fabrics

How it works:

Step 1: Pour thermochromatic pigment and clear base into a containter and mix

Step 2: Lay the silkscreen onto fabric

Step 3: Add a small amount of the mixed pigment onto the screen and swipe it down using a squigy

Step 4: Lift up the silkscreen and let the fabric dry


Reflection: This technique is certainly very facinating. Before the class, I never knew that glow in the dark technology can work this way, through a simple method of silkscreening.

Week 8: Moodboard for Final

The theme for my project is Atlantis, a fantasy aquatic theme. I will be exploring abstract textures observed from ocean life and interpreting it my way by adding a modern twist to them. The process focuses alot onrecreating in unusual materials and deconstructing elements in order to showcase their distinctive properties.

Choice of techniques:

  1. Knitting/ Weaving
  2. Thermoplastics
  3. Plastic fusing
  4. Laser cut
  5. Fabric on Thread

Even though I have a good variety of reference images, I feel that the final samples should have my own abstract take on it.

(Potential) Textile manipulation inspiration:

Week 7: Knitting & Weaving


What is Knitting: Knitting is a method by which yarn is manipulated to create a textile or fabric. Knitting creates multiple loops of yarn, called stitches, in a line or tube. Knitting has multiple active stitches on the needle at one time. Knitted fabric consists of a number of consecutive rows of interlocking loops.

Materials needed: Yarns, knitting needles

How it’s done:

Step 1: “Cast on” (for all knitting methods)

  1. For the first two stitches, use instructions for knitted cast on.
  2. Once you have two stitches casted on. …
  3. Wrap the working yarn around the right needle.
  4. Bring the right needle back through the loops.
  5. Now you have a loop around your right needle. …
  6. Pull the yarn. …
  7. To continue, repeat from step 2.

Step 2: To create a garter stitch skinny scarf…

  1. Cast on 10 stitches.
  2. Work in Garter Stitch (knit every row) until piece measures 48 inches or length of your choice.
  3. Bind off, cut yarn and weave in ends.
  4. Measure and cut 30 pieces of yarn 12 inches long (or length of your choice; finished fringe will be about half as long as the pieces). Divide into 10 groups of 3 pieces each.
  5. For each group, fold the yarn in half, hook the crochet hook through the last row of stitches, catch the loop, pull it through and loop the ends of the tassel through the loop. Pull tight. Put 5 sections on each end of the scarf.


Cast on

Followed this tutorial:



What is weaving: Weaving is done (fabric or a fabric item) by interlacing long threads passing in one direction with others at a right angle to them, to form a complex pattern of interconnected elements

Materials needed: Various types of threads/ twine/ yarns/ strips of fabrics/ strings, weaving board/ cardboard or loom, masking tape, ruler, marker, scissors, needle

How it is done:

  1. Make your loom: Get a piece of cardboard that is 5″ x 12″.
  2. When you’re ready to begin, tape the top and bottom of your cardboard with packing tape. This will make your loom stronger. With your ruler, mark two lines along the top of your cardboard that are 3/4 of an inch from each side. Next, mark a line every 1/2 inch from those points until you have 10 lines total along the top of your loom. Repeat this step on the bottom. Cut along the lines with your scalpel to create notches.
  3. Tape the end of the twine to the back of your cardboard. Fit the twine through the first notch at the top and down the cardboard to the first notch on the bottom. Keep the twine taught and continue wrapping up and down through the notches until you have reached the other end. Cut the twine and tape the end to the cardboard.
  4. Weaving:Cut about 1 yard of yarn and thread your needle. Guide the threaded needle through the twine using an over-under pattern, being sure to leave a 5″ tail at the end. After the first row, guide your needle back through the twine using an under-over pattern.
  5. Continue weaving back and forth until you’re satisfied with the amount you have woven. When you’re ready to try another color or pattern, push the woven section up with your fingers to tighten. Cut the yarn, being sure to leave another 5″ tail.

Learn to Weave

I used a loom for my weaving process and followed this tutorial: (Not in English but it has good visuals)

Upon removing the loom, I felt that the weaves were not tight enough. Therefore I used additional thread to manually weave the yarns tighter


Personal Reflection: I personally really enjoyed knitting even though it was hard to grasp at the start. Practice makes perfect! I love how seamless each and every knitted pattern looks, but of course as a beginner, my knitted designs were bumpy and irregular. I think that knitting is therapeutic process that will be a good hobby for anyone, young or old. I also enjoyed weaving very much as using the loom made things much easier, the process is alot faster too. I will definitely try out the manual way of weaving. Weaving and knitting are by far two of my favourites!!!


Week 6: Fabric Manipulation & Stitching with Elastics

What is Shirring:

Shirring is an technique which gathers fabric together into pleats to allow stretching. It is also used to add elasticity to fabrics and clothes. 

What is needed: Elastic threads, Fabric, Sewing machine

How it’s done:

Step 1: Arrange fabric onto sewing machine

Step 2: Start sewing along the width of your fabric (fabric is right side up) using a 5/8 inch seam allowance and backstitch at the beginning, then continue sewing until you reach the end of your fabric
Step 3: Sew to the end of the fabric in a straight line

Elastic thread


Week 5: Needle Felting and Applique

What is Felting:

Felt is textile material produced through condensing and pressing fibers together. Felt comes in various forms, such as wool, or synthetic fibers such as acyrlics and rayon.

Materials needed: Wool (natural fibers), warm water with soap, felting needles, flat sponge, plastic to cover the table

How it’s done:

Wet felting

Step 1: Wet wool with soap water and arrange it on the table

Step 2: Rub and mould the wool until it becomes hardened and thicker

Step 3: Once you’re satisfied with the shape, leave it to dry

Dry felting

Step 1: Arrange wool on the table, not forgetting to wet it with warm soap water

Step 2: Poke wool with felting needles until hardened

Step 3: Once you’re satisfied with the shape, leave it to dry


Personal reflection: I personally didn’t enjoy felting as much as the other techniques as it was time consuming and tiring! Nonetheless, I like the bracelet I made. Upon researching further, I found that felting can create really beautiful patterns and textures. Maybe I gave up too soon!




What is Applique: Applique is an ornamental needlework in which pieces of fabric are sewn or stuck on to a larger piece to form a picture or pattern.

Materials needed: Fabrics (any type), sewing machine, threads, sewing pins

How it’s done:

Step 1: Arrange fabrics onto the base surface fabric. Add pins to secure the two fabrics.

Step 2: Use the sewing machine to stitch the fabric, carefully “outlining” the the shape of the top fabric using a zig zag pattern

Step 3: Stop when the zig zag pattern completely connects around the top fabric

Trial 1

Trial 2


Personal reflection: Applique was quite a tough technique for me as I am not well versed with the sewing machine. I had trouble getting the zig zags synchronised throughout, somehow they keep moving wider apart. However, I’m glad with much persistence, my second trial turned out much better! It takes a little bit of getting used to the sewing machine. This technique is widely used in fashion and in household furnitures and I feel that it can create a good eye catching contrast, using fabrics or non-fabrics.