Surface Design – W10 ( Thermoplastics )


What is Thermoplastics?

Thermoplastic refers to the quality of a fiber whose molecular structure breaks down an becomes fluid at a certain temperature, making it possible to reshape the fabric by pleating, moulding or crushing. The fabric is ‘fixed’ on cooling and cannot be altered unless heated to a temperature greater than the one at which it was reshaped.

Types of Thermoplastic Techniques:
– Thermoplastic Fabric

– Vacuum Forming

Thermoplastic Fabric

Polyester belongs to the group of Synthetic Fibers. A synthetics fabric is thermoplastic, that is, it can be transformed through heat into new configuration, which on cooling are completely stable.

Materials Used:
– Organza (100%Polyester) “must be 100%”
– Rubber bands
– Objects as form base
– Aluminum Foil
– Boiling Water




I brought objects like big pebbles, small pebbles and dice to try out the effect form. Very easy, first we simply wrap our objects inside organza and tie them up using normal rubber band to secure the objects inside. Make sure the way you tied your organza is the pattern you want your fabric to turn into after boiling. 


I created not only objects but I also try out folding them into like otah look. Also since there is left over organza at the end of the big pebbles I use aluminium foil and just crumple the organza up just to see its form:) After we are done wrapping the objects into the fabric, we could then wrap them up in aluminium foil and prepare for the boiling process. 


After wrapping them in foil until it look like you are bbq sweet potato you could put them into 100 degree boiling water:) try to make sure they are fully submerge into the water so that we could get a balance boil. 


Let it boil for about 45 minute – 1 hour. Prepare a tongs or chopstick to grab out your creation as it is very very hot!


Be Carefulllll~~~


After boiling and unwrapping the aluminium foil this is what we have, slowly open up the rubber band. Do not that if we boil even longer rubber band might also melt, and objects that are made from material like plastic may also melt so be really careful about this:) 


My dice design and big pebbles design:)


My small pebbles and aluminium foil crumpled design:)



Out of all this is my favorite pieces because I really like how the dice effect created this solid hallow cube like shape inside the organza. :):)

Vacuum Forming

Vacuum forming is a simplified version of thermoforming, where a sheet of plastic is heated to a  forming temperature, stretched onto a single-surface mold, and forced against the mold by a vacuum. 

Materials Used:
– Vacuum form machine
– Plastic Sheet
– Mold object



First we prepare our vacuum form machine by heating it up. It takes about 20 minute to heat up. We cut the plastic sheet base on the size of our object for me I am doing a small square object so the small size would be enough. Place you plastic sheet onto the machine and the drag out the heater. It would heat the plastic sheet and melt it till the plastic becomes soft. We would notice the crumple effect on the surface of the plastic when it is being heated. Wait until the crumple disappear  and we are ready to from our mold. 


As my mold have a slight undercut it would b stuck in my vacuum form when i take out from the machine. But because the plastic sheet is rather soft I could remove the mold out from the plastic easily. But do note that if the plastic is really stiff the mold might not be able to remove out, so be careful and try to avoid as much undercut as possible. 


My first try (left) I didn’t try the pump effect at first, therefore the design wasn’t really molded out. After that I tried the second one with the pump effect this time where it could stretch the plastic before molding, and hence the design were better mold out:)


Surface Design – W8 ( Printing with special inks: Thermochromic ink )

Printing with special inks: Thermochromic ink

What is Thermochromic ink?
Thermochromic inks can change from colourless to colourful OR colourful to colourless very quickly. Although thermochromic inks were introduces in the 1970s, they are used extensively today. I changes colour when temperatures increase or decrease. Often used in manufacture of many toys or product packaging, as well as thermometers. Thermchromic ink can also turn transparent when heat is applied; an example of this type of thermochromic ink is found on corners of an examination mark sheet. This proves that the sheet has not been edited of photocopied, and also on certain pizza boxes to show the temperature of the product. 

Materials Used:
– Thermochromic pigment powder
– SIlk Screen medium
– Printed Surface (etc. fabric)
– Silk Screen 



We start off by preparing our materials and out desired pattern on our silk screen panels.


Add about 8 scoop of silk screen medium into an empty container and add in about 1-2 scoop of thermochromic pigment powder in.


Mixed the pigment powder and the silk screen ink well:)


We also make other different colour and followed by selecting our pattern we want to create.


Lay out printed surface on a flat top and put out silk screen frame ontop of our printed surface. Put just the right amount of mixed ink onto the silk screen and we could go on to do our silk screen:) 



I tried with 100% cotton fabric as most of our daily life items are make of cotton bed sheets, t shirt etc.


Silk Screen!! 


After we’re done just slowly peel our silk screen off the fabric. Get someone to secure onto the fabric for you while you peel of your silk screen. 




I also tired with thin cotton linen fabric to compare the effect. with thin material the pattern is also quite visible on the back side and hence I realized that the ink also turn transparent when we put heat on the back side of the fabric:)



Not wasting the tissue we use underneath the fabric as protector. I kept it just to see if the effect would also appear on other medium:) IT DOES!!  ( CLICK ON THE SECOND IMAGE!!! )


Surface Design – W7 ( Knitting )


What is Knitting?
Knitting is a method by which thread or yarn is used to create a cloth. Knitted fabric consists of a number of consecutive rows of loops, called stitches. As each row progress, a new loop is pulled through an existing loop. The active stitches are held on a needle until another loop can be pass through them. This process eventually results in a fabric, often used for garments. Knitting may be done by hand or by machine. There exist numerous style and methods of hand knitting. Different types of yarns and needle may be used to achieve a plethora of knitted materials: these tools give the final piece a different colour, tecture, weight, and/or integrity. Other factors that affect the end result include the needle’s shape, thickness and malleability, as well as the yarn’s fibre type, texture and twist. 

Types of Felting:
– Garter Stitch Pattern

– Stockinette Stitch Pattern
– Rib Stitch

Garter Stitch Pattern

Garter stitch is one of the easiest and most common stitch patterns in knitted fabrics. You create garter stitch by knitting every row. (You can create garter stitch by purling every row, too.)

Materials Used:
– Yarn
– Knitting Needle



I experiment with white yarn I got from daiso to create the most basic knitting stitch which is the garter stitch (the one on the bottom) . I really love this stitch because it creates a thick but soft texture and it doesn’t curl up. It retains the  flatness of the knitted outcome

Stockinette Stitch Pattern

Stockinette stitch is a basic knitting stitch. To knit stockinette stitch, you alternate a knit row with a purl row.  Meaning. Stockinette stitch (or stocking stitch) is everywhere: scarves, socks, sweaters, blankets, hats etc. Stockinette stitch make use of two side to create – the right and wrong side. Simply put it right side would be the front which is the side you want to show your intended design and wrong as the back side. Example. clothing, the right side would the side facing the public and outside and wrong side would be the inner side:) Hence in stockinette stitch you should have two different pattern on each side of your outcome:)


Right side – On the right side (front) we create the Stockinette stitch making use of knit stitch method

Wrong side – On the wrong side (back) we create the garter stitch making use of purl stitch method

Materials Used:
– Yarn
– Knitting Needle



Using the same piece I tried with the garter design (bottom) with purl stitch I continue and create the stockinette stitch (top) using the knit stitch. After trying I am not really a big fan of it. even know the v like knit are very traditional pattern we see on knitted garments. the corners of the knit tends to curl up and the thickness of the piece is relatively thin compared to garter stitch where we use purl stitch on both side. 

Rib Stitch

Rib stitch wasn’t really taught in class but professor Galina saw the knitted jacket that I was wearing and introduce me the name of the stitch which is called rib stitch. and she suggested that I could try this one because it is a combination of garter stitch and stockinette stitch just alternating them:) 

The jacket that I was wearing was made from rib stitch:)

The rib stitch consists of columns of knit stitches alternating with columns of purl stitches. To make a ribbed pattern, you change from knit stitches to purl stitches within a row — instead of alternating knit rows with purl rows (as you do when making horizontal stripes). Single knit stitches alternate with single purl stitches. There are different type of rib stitch:) 1 x 1 ribbing: Single knit stitches alternate with single purl stitches, creating very narrow columns. 2 x 2 ribbing: Alternates 2 knit stitches with 2 purl stitches. It pulls in slightly less than 1 x 1 ribbing. 


Left: 1 x 1 ribbing, Right: 2 x 2 ribbing:

Materials Used:
– Yarn
– Knitting Needle



I was so happy I manage to successful trying out this stitch:) what amaze me would be it being able to stretch! Because it is able to stretch you can find rib stitch around the wrist area of many knitted wears.


Pulling open the knit stitch you’ll be able to find the purl stitch in between:) 

Making more Samples:)

After learning how to knit using the basic material which is yarn. We were encourage to try on varies materials:) I decided to experiment with copper wire, normal cotton fabric, plastic raffia string and well as changing colour of the yarn!:) 



Colour changing was quite successful experiment for me. Although halfway through I made s mistake by changing the last blue yarn onto the right side there causing in awkward white yarn in between the batch of blue yarn. But overall I am satisfied with the outcome!:)



I creating my own “yarn” by cutting a piece of fabric into strips and connecting them by tying a knot at each end:) I decided to use garter stitch for this material because I want to create a thick and heavy outcome from a very thin and light characteristic the fabric originally have. I really love this outcome because by making my own “yarn” I create strips that are uneven hence when knitting them together it would not be of an consistent thickness in the stitches creating this semi crumpled uneven texture which I really love it:)


I use raffia strings as a representation of plastic because compared to plastic bag raffia string itself have a certain thickness to it. I was wondering if I knit using a string with a certain stiffness would be knitted piece be able to retain a certain shape if i were to twist the piece into a form. After trying I realized that even though raffia string are stiff they are still not strong enough to maintain a certain from probably because of the needle thickness I use the holes in between actually causing it to become relatively weak:(


Last would be copper wire:) Since it is so hard to control the wire as it kept slip out from my knitting needle. So alot of patients is needed to knit with copper wire. Probably could watch some show while doing:) Anyway I like the outcome of the copper wire. Something that I am not very satisfied would be the holes in between. I was wondering if i were to use a much thinner knitting needle the holes would be much more smaller and the knitted piece would look more compact and stiffer. But by doing so, if also mean that it would take very long to create a piece since the wire are so thin. Making it compact we could most likely spent same amount of time i use for this experiment piece but result in a much much smaller piece:(

Surface Design – W9 ( Printing with special inks: Etching )

Printing with special inks: Etching

What is Etching?

The technique of removing or engraving onto a material to create patterns. It can be used on various material including soft materials like fabric and paper and hard materials like Wood, acrylic or metal.

Types of Etching:
– Fiber Etch on fabric: Bleaching

– Fiber Etch on Wood/Acrylic
– Fiber Etch on Velvet: Devore

Fiber Etch on fabric: Bleaching

Bleaching is used to remove colour impurities in natural and some man-made fibers to produce a whiter substrate.

Materials Used:
– Cotton or Linen ( it would not work with synthetic fabric )
– Kitchen Bleach



First we prepare our faric. I use 100% cotton and I choose red because I want to experiment if I could achieve the “flesh/meat” like effect:) You can twist or roll or anyway we manipulate the fabric before spraying on bleach. I use thread and sew through the fabric and pull to create the crumple:)


I was worried that I would accidentally bleach my whole fabric so I only spray very little bleach onto at first. But the bleach was absorb very quickly into the fabric and the bleach effect was not very obvious so I tried spray much much more:)


Try not to leave your piece for too lone as the bleach would dissolve through the fabric and end up bleaching the while piece. After we felt that the effect is enough just was it with normal tap water and leave your piece to dry. Remember to wash thoroughly and get the bleach all out. 


The Complete piece!! I have friends telling me it look like pepperoni, bacon sausage so I guess I succeeded in getting the meat like effect I wanted to archive!!!

Fiber Etch on Wood/Acrylic

Fiber etching on wood and acrylic simply means the removal of fibers on a surface of an hard object using different technology. One technology that we tried in school would be laser cutting. Laser cutting is the process of using a powerful laser to cut and/or engrave items from flat sheets of materials like plastic, wood and many other materials. The laser cutter works by directing a high power laser beam very precisely at the chosen material to either mark of cut right through. When cutting, the laser beam burns away at the material leaving you with the cutout shape that you have specifies in your vector file. The cutting beam is very thin (0.1mm) and precise resulting in incredibly detailed and accurate cuts.

Materials Used:
– Laser Cutting machine
– Wood or Acrylic



First we can draw our intended design in either illustrator, Photoshop or 3d software such as Rhino. After we are done drawing we would export the file and save them as dxf format. When cutting is is recommended to do rasterising first before cutting through your pieces. This is to prevent the piece from shifting after you have cut them and affect your rasterise. In the laser cut machine. Set the line you want to cut first in black colour line, followed by the coloured one as the second you want to cut. As you can see the laser cutting machine goes really quickly depending on the speed you set. Also different method of cutting and different have different setting. 


After cutting is done, wait for the machine to stop and you can take out the pieces!:)


TADA!!! as we would be doing resin for next lesson, I cut some circle and ring so I thought it could be transform into earrings!:)

– Fiber Etch on Velvet: Devore

Etching is also commonly known as Devore. Devore is a fabric technique particularly used on velvets, where a mixed-fibre material undergoes a chemical process to dissolve the cellulose fibers to create a semi-transparent pattern against more solidly woven fabric.

Materials Used:
– Fiber Remover
– Silk Screen Panel with pattern
– Silk Viscose Velvet Fabric



We prepare the fiber remover liquid we need and also cut our fabric into the intended shape we want. 


Put a layer of protector at the bottom of our fabric to prevent the the ink from passing through to the bottom. Then put our silk screen panel onto of our velvet fabric and we could silks screen!! When pushing the liquid through the silk screen panel put in more effort so that the ink can be absorb into the velvet. If not when we iron we would see that the fabric did not absorb enough ink and the pattern would not be produced.


After we leave the fabric to dry for 24 hours we can start ironing them. Give it a little pressure and we can see that the pattern of the silk screen started forming. 


I think that I did not put enough pressure in my silk screen process, therefore not alot of ink are pass through and absorb into the fabric:( therefore I have to use maximum heat and TWO iron. Even so, the pattern out is still very light.


Therefore I had to go back home and iron even more praying that the pattern could form. But sadly no matter how much I iron. And how long I left it for, the pattern is still not very visible:(


I guess it was a fail attempt for my devore as the velvet did not really come off and the fabric was burn:( but Prof Galina did mention that is was alright, we could dye the fabric to cover up the burn unless we wanted white fabric:(


Atleast one of the pattern did have the effect which is not the best but I’m felt lucky hahaha. It was a little obvious and I had to use quite a lot of strength to scrape out the velvet:(



Surface Design – W6 ( Materials exploration: Fabric Manipulation, stitching with elastics )

Materials Exploration: Fabric Manipulation, stitching with elastics

What is Fabric Manipulation?
Techniques that reshapes the surface of the material. There are many ways to play with fabric and manipulate or control it so that it becomes more dimensional. Throughout history, people have developed different ways of altering fabric to provide contrasts, to create a sense of fullness, and create surface effects (giving textures). Some of these methods are very old, but contemporary fabric artists continue to use them and adapt them in new ways.There are many ways to manipulate fabric such as, stitching, smocking, pleating and shirring etc. 

Types of Fabric Manipulation tried in class:
– Smocking

– Stitching with elastic (shirring)


Smocking is a hand-stitching technique that gathers fabric into small shapes as the threads are pulled tight on the back of the fabric. The stitches are sometimes visible to help organize the folds in direct smoking.

Materials Used:
– Fabric (cotton, linen, cotton linen, velvet, chiffon, etc)
– Hand Sewing Needle
– Ruler
– Pen
– Sewing Thread



The pattern that I am interested to experiment would be call the “lattice” pattern. I love this pattern because unlike some of the pattern, this design creates a relatively flat surface after it is sew. 


The technique to create smocking is quite straight forward. Start off by dividing your fabric into squares boxes. Do take note that depending on how big you want individual pattern to come out you adjust the dimension per boxes. The smaller the boxes the more compact your patterns would look:) Then, draw line (marking) inside the box following  the template of your design and simply follow the direction and sew the corners point together. I did mine in alternate ways. column 1 –> column 2 –> row 2 column 1 –> row 2 column 2 and repeat:)



I really love the outcome of the fabric. It was a struggle at first because about 1/3 through the fabric you might not still be able to see the pattern forming and would doubt yourself if you’re doing it correct:) but don’e worry just continue and the patter would be reveal!!:) 

Stitching with elastic (shirring)

Shirring is a magical technique that shrinks a piece of fabric and transforms it into something stretchy. It’s great for skirt waistbands, shirt hems and bodices. And all it takes is sewing a few rows of stitches with elastic thread. Test out shirring on a few different types of material and you might notice that the more lightweight the fabric, the better the result. Light cotton fabrics like voile will shrink more than, say, a quilting cotton. Fabrics like corduroy, wool and other heavyweights are just not shirr-able. Stick to the lightest fabric you can find.

Materials Used:
– Elastic Band
– Elastic Thread
– Lightweight Fabric



Since it was recommended that lightweight materials works well for shirring. I decided to try with this organza like material. It was really hard to control this material because the elastic thread does not get sew into the fabric easily and also while sewing with sewing machine you have to constantly pull the fabric so that it does not crumple up together once you let go.



I really like the effect of this lightweight material as it create the girly dreamy like texture. I like how it is crumpled together through the elastic thread and also how soft feeling the folds gives out. 


I decided to try with a more heavy fabric and non translucent material to see the effect of it. I experiment with both elastic band and elastic thread. The effect of the elastic thread came out really nice as the thread was already coil at a certain tightness on the sewing machine. However, elastic band requires us to pull the band tightly while i sew them onto the fabric through the sewing machine. If you did not pull it tight enough the crumple effect would not be obvious. Just like my sample, I tried a few times trying to pull my elastic band tightly but it still wasn’t tight enough hence the crumple effect was not very obvious:( A little tip I learn was to actually either hand sew, pin or sewing machine one end of the elastic band onto the fabric first to secure it. So that when we sew it onto the fabric through the machine we would just have to pull the band on the other and could use your free hand to slowly hold the fabric on the opposite of the sewing machine:)



Finish sample of the day:)