A thermoplastic, or thermosoftening plastic, is a plastic polymer material that becomes pliable or moldable at a certain elevated temperature and solidifies upon cooling.
Thermoplastic refers to the quality of a fiber whose molecular structure breaks down and becomes fluid at a certain temperature, making it possible to reshape the fabric by pleating, moulding or crushing. Thermoplastics are typically used to produce parts by various polymer processing techniques such as injection molding, compression molding, calendering, and extrusion. The fabric is then “fixed” on cooling and cannot be altered unless heated to a temperature greater than the one at which it was reshaped.
Polyester belongs to the group of Synthetic Fibers. A synthetic fabric is thermoplastic, that is, it can be transformed through heat into new configurations, which on cooling are completely stable.
Fabric needs to be 100% polyester otherwise it won’t hold the moulded shape for long.
Here are some examples that uses thermoplastics as garments. I find it really amazing that a polyester fabric could achieve so much results!
01 Find objects that you want to create a mould of. Or you could use aluminium foil to sculpt the desired shape you want.
02 Wrap your 100% polyester organza fabric over the object and tie it tightly with a rubber band.
03 Continue tying your objects under the the fabric until your desired pattern.
04 Wrap your fabric with aluminium foil
05 Place your work into pot of boiling water. Boil for 45 mins.
06 Remove the aluminium foil and objects carefully and tadah! Your organza is shaped to your objects and moulds.
I used marbles and some bottle caps (sponsored by Tisya) for the moulds. I’m surprised that it really stayed its form. It’s so cool! I can’t wait to try out more patterns.
Here is how it looks! I used different shapes of marbles to give a variation in the appearance. It reminds me of corals hahaha and air bubbles.
Overall thermoplastic is really fun! It’s one of the technique that I was looking forward to the most when Surface Design started. I’m excited to try out various methods and techniques on my organza! Next step is to try to achieve some organic shapes from the examples that I’ve posted above. I’m low-key wanting to create a garment for the final project… But do I have the time hmmmm