Trying New Things

Last weekend I tried a technique that was new to me which involved covering a plastic bowl by glueing scraps of fabric to it. 

A friend had given me a page torn from a weekly women’s magazine which showed a picture of a small bowl which had been covered by pretty pink and white fabrics. It looked so attractive that I decided to try it. There were scant instructions with the photograph so, in my usual manner, I “winged” it!

I had some plastic picnic bowls that I had bought very cheaply in a local supermarket. They were originally bought as I needed just one from the set of six for a project I was planning [which hasn’t yet come to fruition]. Although the piece in the magazine talked about using an old melamine bowl, I reasoned that a plastic bowl should work just as effectively.

I then started looking for some scraps of fabric. I felt sure I would have at least a few that could be used. OK, that sentence is not strictly accurate…

I pulled out one of my trusty bags of scrap fabric and began selecting the pieces I was going to use. I am still struggling to put good colour schemes together and am not pleased with the choices I made. I like all of the fabrics, I just don’t like them all together. I definitely need far more practice in using colour.

The next stage was to paint the inside of the bowl with a layer of watered-down PVA. This was far easier said that done. The PVA would not lie smoothly and evenly on the plastic 
and moved around in the way that water does when it is on a greasy or oily surface.

I began placing pieces of fabric on top of the PVA. Before applying the fabric I would brush the glue again in an effort to spread it well then gently put the fabric on it. I discovered that, once placed on the glue, the fabric was difficult to slide around. This surprised me as I thought it would move around easily. I put several pieces of fabric onto the bowl at a time then set the bowl aside for the PVA to dry before continuing.

To begin with the fabric was drying fairly evenly and lying smooth and flat. However, on the outside of the bowl the fabric began to bubble and wrinkle during the drying process. Also, the fabric and PVA were not adhering well to the surface of the bowl. The lack of adhesion was quite pronounced so I decided to remove the fabric from the bowl.
As I pulled the fabric away from the bowl’s surface I noticed that the fabric was remaining firmly stuck together but was retaining the shape of the bowl. At this point I changed my mind about what I was going to do with this firmly glued fabric. Instead of discarding it, as had been my original intention, I carefully cut the fabric along the top edge of the rim of the bowl. The entire fabric covering came away in one piece which I was easily able to push back into the shape of the bowl I had used. I used more PVA to glue together the inside and outside of this fabric bowl. To give the fabric bowl more rigidity, I glued a long piece of fabric around its entire rim and set it aside to dry thoroughly.

The uneven surface can easily be seen in this

When the bowl had dried I found that the uneven finished surface was less pronounced than before, leaving it looking far better than I had anticipated. Certainly, the interior was far smoother than the exterior. I was mildly pleased with the end result.

The inside of the bowl [excluding the rim]
is far smoother than the exterior

I am disappointed that my bowl does not look like the photograph in the magazine, but, I shall try this technique again. However, next time I shall dilute the PVA further. I might even try to find some instructions to guide me!


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