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How To Create a Sculpture using Paverpol: the New Essential for every Artist'sToolbox!

Updated on December 31, 2016
Gina Welds-Hulse profile image

Artist, photographer, designer—Gina believes that the main purpose of the arts is to enrich lives, making life a more pleasant experience.

My first Paverpol sculpture

Un-masked by Gina Welds Hulse
Un-masked by Gina Welds Hulse | Source

Love at first sight!

Several years ago, I saw an image of a sculpture online with the name Paverpol underneath. I was immediately intrigued as I am always looking for new art materials to try. I've always wanted to create sculptures but stone carving or bronze work was never something I wanted to do, although I loved to see them and admired those who could work in these media.

I decided to do some more research. I bought a container of this material called Paverpol, because I loved the way the fabric draped and folded and wanted to try Paverpol with my sculpture and Advanced 8th grade Art students.

My students instantly loved it.

Student work
Student work | Source

What is Paverpol?

Paverpol is an environmentally-friendly fluid that makes fabric rock hard. It’s original color is white, but it will dry as transparant in a few hours. In the past years the Paverpol company has also made this material in bronze, grey and black.The final hardening process takes in between 1 and 2 weeks, depending on the temperature. Paverpol artwork is weather resistant after hardening completely. It will withstand rain, wind, sun, snow and frost.

Student work using clay, fabric and leather
Student work using clay, fabric and leather | Source

Paverpol can be used to harden leather.

Paverpol was used to harden the leather used for the witch's hat in this piece.  It was also used to harden the clay that was used to create the rest of the sculpture.
Paverpol was used to harden the leather used for the witch's hat in this piece. It was also used to harden the clay that was used to create the rest of the sculpture. | Source

How does it work?

Paverpol was developed by Dutch artists in the early 1990s as a user and environmentally-friendly replacement or alternative for resin.

It is the leading textile hardener/fiber sculpting medium in the world and the first to be awarded the AP seal for non-toxic by the Arts and Creative Materials Institute (ACMI).

It’s original color is white, but it will dry as transparent in a few hours. The final hardening process takes in between 1 and 2 weeks, depending on the temperature. Paverpol artwork is weather resistant after hardening completely. It will withstand rain, wind, sun, snow and frost.

Tools and hands can simply be washed in warm water. There is no need to wear gloves.

Paverpol adheres to almost all materials, except plastic, and unlike most hardeners, it does NOT deteriorate polystyrene foam.

When working with Paverpol, always protect your work space with a plastic tablecloth or plastic sheeting. Paverpol will not stick to the plastic while you are working.

Paverpol dries fast, but slowly enough to allow plenty of working time.

Paverpol is an essential tool in many mixed media projects. It can be combined with fabric, paper, silk, metal, baked polymer clay, chamois leather, self-hardening clay, polystyrene foam, dried flowers, paper mache, wood, plaster, metal, glass, pottery, on canvas and more!

It is environmentally-friendly and the perfect binder for recycle art.

Paverpol fabric hardener adds a whole new dimension to the way artists work by providing a new essential for their toolboxes! This one-step water-based creme gives sculptors, dollmakers, mixed media artists, painters, interior and exterior designers, theatre set crews, quilters and fabric artists a serious new medium to expand their scope of work, either indoors or outside.

Warrior Princess

Warrior Princess by Gina Welds Hulse
Warrior Princess by Gina Welds Hulse | Source

Certification

The experimental phase began, and my enthusiasm grew every day. Also because I discovered that Paverpol is weather resistant, and it can withstand extreme frost. It triggered my plan to make a nice garden statue and I got to work. Paverpol is great to combine with all kinds of natural materials. It dries fast and transparent. Paverpol is water based and friendly for the environment. It is also safe for children! You can work with bare hands, no problem.

During the workshop I learned how to make a beautiful garden sculpture (or you may keep it indoors) from an old t-shirt. Using Paverpol, a wire armature, aluminum foil and strips of old t-shirt, I created a sitting figure in bronze then highlighted it with various powdered pigments, and embellishments as desired, such as stockinette, pavercolors, pavercotton (a material that is great for adding hair) and paverplast (a material that gives the appearance of stone). After two weeks of curing the statue was ready for the outdoors and completely weatherproof for all seasons.

It was so much fun, easy and no experience was required. This lovely little lady (or gent) is 60 cm in length (if standing). Sitting depends on the positioning. The sculpture will sit on a bench, pot plant or brick in the garden as she is weatherproof. This sculpture will enhance any garden or home setting!

During the Pacerpol Certification workshop, I also created a great blue heron.
During the Pacerpol Certification workshop, I also created a great blue heron. | Source
The mask that I created during the Paverpol Certification workshop
The mask that I created during the Paverpol Certification workshop | Source
Student work using leather and fabric
Student work using leather and fabric | Source

Important when working with Paverpol

DO NOT pour Paverpol down your drain.

Always keep a bucket of water at your workstation and rinse hands and brushes frequently. While Paverpol is water-based and non-toxic, it is made to cure rock-hard, and you don’t want it stuck in your plumbing.

Periodically clean the bucket; let the material in the water settled, pour off the water into flower garden, etc. The solids that have collected at the bottom of the bucket can be disposed of in any trash receptacle.

Paverpol with mixed media

Student work made with clay, fabric, wire and paper.  The wings were made of wire and cheese cloth.  The crown was made of paper.  The rest of the work is clay, and was hardened using Paverpol instead of being fired in the kiln.
Student work made with clay, fabric, wire and paper. The wings were made of wire and cheese cloth. The crown was made of paper. The rest of the work is clay, and was hardened using Paverpol instead of being fired in the kiln. | Source

Paverpol can be used to preserve baby clothes.

Paverpol was used to preserve my Grand-daughter's baby pants that she outgrew. This can be used as a decorative piece or as a planter.
Paverpol was used to preserve my Grand-daughter's baby pants that she outgrew. This can be used as a decorative piece or as a planter. | Source
Preserved baby pants used a planter
Preserved baby pants used a planter | Source

What you need for your 8" Paverpol figurine

To complete one 8" figurine, you will need:

  • Clean,100% cotton t-shirt,
  • 1 small Wire Skeleton (Check out the video below for simple instructions on making one)
  • A base,
  • 1/2 liter Paverpol Fabric Hardener,
  • Foil sheets,
  • Floral or masking tape andPavercotton.
  • stir stick
  • cutting pliers
  • hammer
  • scissors
  • 1 little bottle acrylic paint (gold)
  • paper towels
  • plastic table cloth or garbage bag
  • plastic gloves (if you don’t want to get dirty hands – Paverpol is NOT harmful or toxic in any way)

Amazon carries the transparent Paverpol but if you want the bronze, you will have to get it here.


Basic materials for the figurine

Wire armatures created for a workshop
Wire armatures created for a workshop | Source
Wooden bases
Wooden bases | Source
Bronze paverpol, wrappers and other materials for the figurine
Bronze paverpol, wrappers and other materials for the figurine | Source
Basic steps for the figurines
Basic steps for the figurines | Source
Wire armature for the Paverpol figurine
Wire armature for the Paverpol figurine | Source

Instructions to make the Paverpol figurine Part 1

  1. Cut one side of t-shirt into 12 strips, approximately 6" x 2.5". Cut 3 pieces approximately 11 x 11".
  2. Crumple aluminum foil around wire skeleton to form muscles, breasts, shoulders, head, legs, etc. If desired, you may use a styrofoam egg pushed down over the top wire skeleton loop for the head. Squeeze foil firmly around skeleton—it will make your figure stronger. Secure any loose pieces with tape to make wrapping easier.

The wire armature after being padded with aluminum foil

After padding with aluminum foil, then wrap with masking tape to porvide added strength.
After padding with aluminum foil, then wrap with masking tape to porvide added strength. | Source

Instructions part 2

  1. If you are using transparent Paverpol, you can custom-color it with dry pigments or acrylic craft paint (no more than 2% liquid color by volume). (Remember, it will generally dry darker.)
  2. Dip fabric strips one by one into Paverpol, and squeeze out excess. Do not wring or twist—this will make your saturation uneven. Instead, roll the fabric up as you go. The fabric should be well saturated (knead the Paverpol into the fabric) but not dripping wet. This procedure makes it easier to wrap your form, as you will be able to unroll it as you would a gauze bandage. Paverpol sticks to everything but plastic, so you would want to cover you work area with newspaper or a plastic drop cloth
  3. Begin to wrap the figure "mummy" style from head to toe. Again, wrapping it firmly will make a stronger figure.
  4. When finished the first wrapping, bend the figure into the desired pose and set on base or in a hole drilled in base.
  5. Attach the figure to the base with a little Paverpol. When fully dry, it will be solidly attached.

Instruction for making the Paverpol figurine, part 3

  1. You can experiment with dressing the figure while the draping fabric is still dry. When you decide how you want your figure dressed, follow the above instructions for saturating with Paverpol. The following videos will give more detail on the process.
  2. Make your wig by saturating a tuft of Pavercotton or any loose cotton or Roving with desired color Paverpol. Gently pull the tuft to the desired form to make your wig. Once you have the wig situated on the head, finer strands can be pulled with a toothpick for a natural effect.
  3. You can use a hairdryer to help speed the initial drying time (but NOT a heat gun). After about an hour, your figure is set enough to paint with acrylic. You can dry brush, highlight, accent, etc.
  4. In approximately 48 hours, your figurine will be hard; it is fully cured in about 2 weeks. If you have painted it with acrylic paint and plan to put it outside, a coating of Paverpol Varnish is recommended.


Have you used Paverpol?

See results

Check out how to preserve baby's clothes and shoes using paverpol.

If you have any questions about Paverpol, please post your comments below.

© 2016 Gina Welds Hulse

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    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      22 months ago from Central Florida

      This is so interesting, Gina. You're a very talented lady. I love that you teach others how to be creative.

      Preserving baby pants to use as planters is a wonderful idea. I've seen them made from plaster, but your idea is more creative. It not only re-purposes old items, but creates one-of-a-kind items with stories behind them. Living memories, if you will. Brilliant!

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