ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Arts and Design»
  • Crafts & Handiwork

How To Make Scrunchy or Bubbly Fabric Shapes

Updated on May 7, 2013
Stones tied into material.
Stones tied into material. | Source

Making Permanent Shapes In Synthetic Fabrics

This is a simple technique that allows you to change the shape of any synthetic fabric simply using hot water. The examples will explain how to create a bubbled fabric and a scrunched fabric.

The shape will remain in the fabric even after it is stretched, only the application of heat will re-shape it.

This is a great way to create texture by shaping patterns into the fabric. It is useful for costume making and textured fabrics can be extremely useful in set design. For example, a heavily textured piece of fabric, dyed in shades of grey can look like a stone wall.

Step One: Create The Shape.

For bubbly fabric- Take some stones or glass marbles and put them into the fabric using an elastic band or tight string to hold them in place. It can take a while if your fabric is large, but is easy to do while watching tv.

It ends up looking something like the above picture.

You can make patterns, neat rows or tie them in randomly, as I have in the example, to get a warty look as it was an idea for skin for a Jabberwocky from the poem by Lewis Carroll.

Gathering the loose running stitch.
Gathering the loose running stitch. | Source
I have stitched a loose end and a tight end for comparison.
I have stitched a loose end and a tight end for comparison. | Source

For scrunchy fabric- Using cotton thread, sew large, loose running stitch across the material and then pull each end tight to gather the material. Tie them of to hold the gathers tight.

There is no need to worry about neatness, the more ‘wonky’ the stitches, the more random the final effect will be.

The size of the stitches will determine the level of wrinkliness the fabric will end up with. The smaller and closer together the stitches, the more scrunched the final result will be. As long as they are able to be pulled to gather the fabric.

It ends up looking a bit like this.

Step Two: Simmer

Now simply heat up a pot or urn of water big enough to submerge the fabric.

Let it simmer, it doesn't need to boil rapidly. Leave it for around 40-60 mins, depending on the size and thickness of the fabric piece.

Step Three: Dry and Unpick/Undo

Remove from the pot – use tongs.

Hang it up to dry, or the scrunchy can be put in the dryer once it is squeezed out.

The bubbly, with rocks/marbles in it can be undone while still damp, as long as it is cool, so it can dry faster. You can tumble dry it, but only on a cool setting.

NOTE: A little colour may wash out of the fabric, you'll notice it in the water (my water was a lovely violet colour after simmering the green material). It rarely dulls the material noticeably, but it might stain your dryer, so give it a wipe out afterwards.

The bubbly fabric sewn to a red background.
The bubbly fabric sewn to a red background. | Source

The Final Product

Here is the result.

REMEMBER - This only works on synthetic fabric, I have tried it on tulle, organza, polyester, nylon netting and stretchy nylon all to great effect. Opaque and open materials like organza, tulle and netting are great for this technique as they let the fabric behind show through for greater effect. Patterned and printed or shiny fabrics will enhance the effect also.

Experiment with shapes and patterns. Have fun.

Note the size difference in the wrinkles due to different size stitches.
Note the size difference in the wrinkles due to different size stitches. | Source


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)