Material Cookbook || Chapter 6: Vacuum forming and Thermochromic printing

Vacuum Forming List:

  • PVC Plastic
  • Objects with interesting shapes (note that this must be able to withstand high temperatures if not they will warp when boiling)

Instruction for Vacuum Forming:

Step 1: Turn on the machine and it heat up.

Step 2: We need an object that will not warp when heated. Place that object on the machine stage like so:

Step 3: lower the object into the machine and cut a sheet of PVC to fit over the mouth of the machine.

Step 4: Secure the PVC in place and then pull the heater over the PVC. When the PVC is sufficiently heated it will become smooth.

Step 5: When the plastic is heated, push the heating component back into place, and lift the stage with the object into the the PVC.

Step 6: Quickly turn on the vacuum function so that the PVC will adhere to the object shape. When the shape is to your liking, stop the vacuuming and remove everything.


I left the plastic to cool a bit too long, hence when vacuuming the edge was less defined then it could be.

We want objects that whose head is not wider then the base so that it can be removed later. If not the plastic would vacuum form and seal the object inside of it.

Thermochromic Printing Material List:

  • Thermochromic pigment
  • Silkscreen
  • Paper Templates (optional)
  • Fabric paint of any colour

Instruction for Boiling thermoplastics:

Step 1: Prepare silkscreen patterns, or paper templates for printing.

Step 2: Prepare Cloth for print

Step 3: Mix Thermochromic powder and the Fabric paint for silkscreen. We used 2 spoons of paint and 1 spoon of powder. In this case we used the clear paint so the colours disappear when heated.

Step 4: Lay template and/or silkscreen over the cloth and proceed to print.

Step 5: Leave designs to dry.


The coloured pigment came out dull on every other fabric that is not white. Even on white fabric they showed up faintly. If we want a darker line art there is always black I guess.

Material Cookbook || Chapter 5: Thermoplastics

Thermoplastic Material List:

  • Thermoplastic Fabric (100% polyester)
  • Rubber bands
  • Aluminium Foil
  • Pot for boiling
  • Objects with interesting shapes (note that this must be able to withstand high temperatures if not they will warp when boiling)

Instruction for Boiling thermoplastics:

Step 1: Cut the cloth to the desired length

Step 2: Wrap your objects in the cloth and tie them down with rubber bands

Step 3: Fold them in Aluminium foil when done

Step 4: Drop them in the pot of boiling water and boil for 30mins


Step 5: Remove from wrappings.


Acrylic cannot stand the high temperatures of boiling the thermoplastic, so be prepared for some warping.

Folding the material in Aluminium foil works, but only for simpler patterns. As you can see above the foil just becomes very crumpled and does not hold the folds shape. If we want to attempt the ‘origami’ kind of folds, prepare paper.

In Class Examples:

Material Cookbook || Chapter 4: Smocking Technique

Smocking Material List:

  • Fabric
  • Thread (elastic or not)
  • Sewing Machine

Instruction for hand sewn smocking:

Flower Patterned Smocking:

Step 1: Draw a grid on the cloth.

Step 2: Sew a small section of the points 1, 2, 3 and 4 to form the outline of a square

Step 3: Pull thread to gather the fabric in a cross pattern

Step 4: Sew across the fabric to keep them taut

Step 5: String a bead (Optional)

Images for instructions are taken from:


For this pattern, it is important to leave space along the border, if not the fabric will bunch and not form the petal for the flower.

We need to leave a space between the flowers, if not the petals will overlap and sink each other.

The opposite side works as a cute box pattern as well.


Leaf Patterned Smocking (Canadian Smocking):

This is Leaf design in Canadian smocking.I have used 2cm square graph.I feel if I had used 1.5cm graph the design … | Canadian smocking, Smocking pattern, Smocking

Leaf Smocking pattern found online

Step 1: Draw a square grid on the cloth.

Step 2:  Mark the cloth as such

Step 3: Sew the ends of every diagonal line together.


I like this pattern, it is simple.

Instructions for Sewing Machine Smocking:

Step one: Sew your fabric, bottom thread is elastic, and the top is normal thread. Your stitch line should be straight with large intervals (setting three on the machine in school.)

Step 2: Sew as many rows as you like, and have fun with it.


The tightness of the elastic wound in the bobbin with affect how tightly gathered the cloth is.

Remember to pull a bit more elastic to tie it off, so it would not fly into the fabric.

If the elastic used is thick (meaning if the fabric is thick and needs thicker elastic to hold) use the zig-zag pattern and stretch it while you sew it down. the thread should hold the elastic to the cloth like so.

Material Cookbook || Chapter 3: Felting and Applique Technique

Felting Material List:

  • Felting Wool
  • Felting Needles
  • Hot Water
  • Soap
  • Foam block (backing)

Instructions for Dry Felting

Step 1: Roll the felt wool into a any shape you wish

Step 2: Lay it on the foam block and stab it with the needle until firm.

Step 3: To connect pieces or thicken parts lay more layers of wool and stab the part until the wool has fused.


Be careful of your fingers when you are stabbing, it is very easy to get impatient and start stabbing without thought. While it will not cause massive damage if you are stabbing gently it still hurts.

If the material made is too big you can always cut them off.

Felting is like sculpting with a needle, but you should work with a slightly bigger surface them slowly self it down, because it becomes more tightly compact hence shrinks.

Instructions for Wet Felting

Step 1: Lay the layers of felt wool over each other in different directions


Step 2: Lay it over some plastic and pour hot water over it.

Step 3: Add soap on it and start rubbing the fibres

Step 4: Add a different coloured wool over the wool to create interesting patterns. Can keep building layers till a certain thickness has been created.

Step 5: When the hot water and soap stops helping the material to fuse, switch over to needle.



Be careful it is hot.

Layer the material in various directions or the material will not fuse properly. Mine sprouted various holes, because of the way I snaked the wool

In Class Pictures:

Applique Material List:

  • Beads
  • Threads
  • Fabrics with different patterns
  • Anything you want to add on top
  • Sewing Machine



Instructions for Wet Felting

Step 1: Arrange Fabrics to the way you want

Step 2: Sew them down using different sewing patterns.

Step 3: Hand Sew the beads on



Having fun using different patterns for sewing down the fabric and using different threads for the top and bottom thread to give tiny accents when they peak through. The problem is my threads do not have a lot of contrasts so it is not very obvious.

I would like to try adding beads.

Material Cookbook || Chapter 2: Plastic Fusion and Thread Fabric

Material List for Plastic Fusion:

  • Plastic bags or plastics of any kind
  • An Iron
  • Wax Paper

Instructions for Plastic Fusion:

Step 1: Cut and arrange the plastic bags in the pattern that you want.

Step 2: Sandwich the plastics between wax paper and iron them to fuse. (The starting setting was the one with the highest heat)


Thin plastics burns very easily, the kind from the markets or trash bag material. Layer them sufficiently or turn down the heat from the iron.

The designs on the plastics transferred to the wax paper. It could be because the heat was too high, but certain designs melted faster then the plastics and fused to the wax paper instead. On a side note, some of the plastics fused to the wax paper instead of with the other plastics. (It could be the type of wax paper used, but that is a hunch? )

Transparent plastics are sticky. The take more heat to melt (or at least my transparent package did) but it refuses to fuse. Instead it feels slightly resistant to touch hence I describe it as sticky. It does create very beautiful ‘frosted glass’ texture though.

Sometimes the heat is not enough and it results in the plastics not fusing, hence a cute little hole for your finger to stick through, a very intentional design flaw XD.

Material List for Thread Fabric:

  • Threads
  • A sewing Machine
  • Water Soluble Stabiliser
  • Fabric and trimmings to add into the ‘fabric’.
  • UV resistant acrylic spray

Instructions for Plastic Fusion:

Step 1: cut two identical pieces of water soluble stabiliser

Step 2: Sandwich threads, fabric trimmings or anything you want in between the two pieces of water soluble stabiliser.

Step 3: Pin them in place and start sewing.

Step 4: Wash the water soluble material away.

Step 5: Place the wet material over a surface shape that you want them to hold and leave to dry. (Optional)

Step 6: Spray a coat of UV resistant acrylic spray over it to stiffen the material and allow it to keep its shape. (Optional)



Upper and lower threads can be of different colours to create more interesting visual contrasts.

Make sure that the threads overlap, because that is the only thing holding the ‘fabric’ together when the water soluble stabiliser is washed away.

Sewing can be done with any patterns, lets have fun and explore together.

Be careful when washing the threads only fabric, as they feel a bit fragile, especially if you threads are a bit sparse like our trial. Do not squeeze them into a ball (I thought they were going to stick all together oAo).

Material Cookbook || Chapter 1: Direct and Indirect Pattern Transfer

Materials Needed:

  • Transfer Ink for Fabric
  • polyester material, the silky kind
  • Paper
  • Fabric crayons
  • wax paper
  • Iron/Heat press
  • Flat items (Feathers, string, lace, etc)

Instructions: Dry transfer – Direct


Step 1: Draw a pattern or image on paper using the fabric crayons.

Step 2: Line the paper on top of your chosen material, image side down.

Step 3: Place a sheet of wax paper to protect your cloth from direct heat from the iron. This will prevent the cloth from burning or warping.

Step 4: Iron the stack. Note that the Colour will start to seep into the cloth when it is ironed properly. It also takes awhile for the image to transfer so be patient and check it constantly without moving your image.


Heating with an iron is uneven and I removed the heat too early on from some parts of the fabric which results in fainter imprints.

Polyester burns and shrinks under high heat. Also the silkier the fabric, the more vibrant the colours.

Yellow on paper is very bright whilst purple on paper is almost black, yet transferring over to the cloth lightens the colours.


Instructions: Wet transfer – Indirect

Step 1: Paint your paper with Transfer Ink and leave it to dry

Step 2: Arrange your flat objects on top of your chosen cloth.

Step 3: Line the dried paper with transfer ink on top of your chosen material, coloured side down.

Step 4: Place a sheet of wax paper to protect your cloth from direct heat from the iron. This will prevent the cloth from burning or warping.

Step 5: Iron the stack. Note that the Colour will start to seep into the cloth when it is ironed properly. It also takes awhile for the image to transfer so be patient and check it constantly without moving your image.


The flat objects like string move around a lot when checking, be careful when lifting the sheets.

the transfer ink also takes longer then the crayons for heat transfer, be patient.

Instructions: Wet transfer – Direct

Step 1: Paint your flat objects with transfer ink.

Step 2: Arrange your flat objects on top of your chosen cloth, painted side down.

Step 3: Place a sheet of wax paper to protect your cloth from direct heat from the iron. This will prevent the cloth from burning or warping.

Step 4: Iron the stack. Note that the Colour will start to seep into the cloth when it is ironed properly. It also takes awhile for the image to transfer so be patient and check it constantly without moving your image.


In class example done by Galina. 
The positive imprint is an example of direct wet printing.

I did not have the opportunity to play with this as my string was too flimsy to make a second imprint. The ink picked up from the first wet transfer print is enough to transfer a detailed enough pattern to the cloth as witnessed in the class example.





Creative Industry Report: Enchanted Doll


~Warning this post contains ‘nude’ images and dismembered doll parts that may cause discomfort to some viewers.~


What is Enchanted Doll?

“Enchanted Doll” is a luxury toy label that creates handcrafted porcelain, more recently, resin ball-jointed dolls. The company was founded by Marina Bychkova.

“Enchanted Doll” was named after Paul Gallico’s fictional short story, where a young woman creates dolls with so much love that they enchant people at first sight with their compelling, delicate, life-like beauty, is kind of like what the artist herself is doing her own career. By naming her company after such a story Marina Bychkova hopes to do the same, to create the most beautiful doll.

About the Artist:



Marina Bychkova was born in Siberia, close to the borders of China. She states in an interview that it was these cultural influences that could be seen in some of her work. This influences were further bolstered when she moved to Vancouver later in life, where she states also has a very strong Chinese culture. Hence there is a sizeable number of Russian and Chinese themed folk dolls and small traces of their influence in the rest of her works.

Marina Bychkova’s reason for creating her company stems from when she was 6 where she was appalled by the mediocrity of mass produced dolls. She started to make dolls of her own, but it was not until later on in her life, when she enrolled to the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, that she truly decided to turn her passion into her career. At that point she was not studying to make dolls, because she was already making them, but she did say that she had honed her own stylistic ability to make her dolls more unique.


The Creation process.

More than mere playthings, Enchanted Dolls are a brand of elegantly sculpted and articulated works of art. Adorned with elaborate costumes and graced with precious gemstones, metals, and rare found objects, each ball-jointed porcelain doll intricately conveys an aspect of our humanity.

According to Marina Bychkova, each doll takes about an average of 500 hours of production time.

She first goes about designing ball joints and the body lines that she wants on her dolls. When the parts are design, she goes about making the 13 body pieces out of polymer clay. When the clay parts are done, she makes them into plaster moulds, and later cast them using porcelain slip. The parts are then fired in a kiln once in low fire and later after sanding and cleaning, it is fired again in high fire.


After they are baked, she sands them to a satin finish and paints them using glass ceramic china paint and fires them again multiple times.

After the body is painted she lines the edges of the ball joints with leather and string up the doll. When the doll is finished, she starts created the clothes and accessories, either out of textiles, found objects or casting them from gold or silver.

My general thoughts after reviewing her work:

What I enjoy greatly from her dolls firstly comes in the form of her technical skills. When I chanced upon her years ago it is the beauty of the doll and their enchanting presentation that drew me to this artist.



Her dolls are painted realistically, from the way she paints and blushes the porcelain, she gives the dolls life. Staring into their painted glassy eyes there is a keen sense of sadness or fragility to them that makes them feel vulnerable and mysterious. There is more depth to them then the average Barbie which is further presented in  her photoshoots and posts.

After looking deeper into this artist, I find her dolls even more intriguing. She states in her interview that for her dolls to be considered an art form, they need to have something more than just pure aesthetics. Thus the dolls themselves are named in a way that either reflect the artist, her love for mythology, fairy tales, and folklore, her fears, experiences, or world issues that she feels strongly for. She then goes about writing about her short comments or opinions about the topics.

The reason for this stylistic choice of painting is also rather thought provoking. In an interview with Pixelsurgeon she says, “I find this deliberate denial of the essence of life to be ignorant and appalling. I don’t know why there is so much fear and shame associated with human sexuality. Every Barbie needs to have a vagina. Every Ken needs a penis.”

When asked why does she do so, she explains that most dolls though imitate human form are sterilized through a complete removal of sex organs. She continues to describe the process of such to seem like they are being cleansed of their sinful humanity and denying the essence of life. Hence for her dolls, it is important to include even the genitalia.




Finally I also admire her ability to be able to make every part of the doll from scratch. Doll making is multidisciplinary if you are making every part of them from scratch, hence I am amazed by her ability to master all forms of doll making. From sculpting the body and accessories and casting them out of different materials to making their tiny wigs, doll clothes and furniture if there are any, and painting the dolls with such a likeness to realism.