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How To Use The Revolutionary Textile Hardener, Paverpol, To Preserve Baby Clothes and Shoes

Updated on July 3, 2017
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.

Nothing says, "This was an important event in my life" better than bronzed personal keepsakes.

For decades people have been trying to hold onto those special moments and own an everlasting reminder of a baby's first steps or a special outfit. This has been frequently done using bronzing, allowing the child's tiny bronzed baby shoes or other item to afford many precious memories.

“When you look at bronzed shoes, you remember what the baby was doing when he wore those shoes. It’s a trophy to babyhood, an opportunity to display something instead of putting it in a drawer," says Bob Kaynes, president and CEO of The American Bronzing Company.

Of course, bronzing baby shoes is a painstaking process, but now there is a simpler method of preserving those precious keepsakes. It's called Paverpol.

Just as it preserves keepsakes for grandmothers and parents alike, Paverpol does so much simpler, but lasting just as long.

Baby Pants Preserved Using Paverpol

My grand-daughter out-grew this pair of pants, so I decided to create a sculpture with it using Paverpol.  It is now like bronze, and can even be used as a planter.
My grand-daughter out-grew this pair of pants, so I decided to create a sculpture with it using Paverpol. It is now like bronze, and can even be used as a planter. | Source
Mask created using Paverpol and a paper mask, tree bark, beads and marine materials.
Mask created using Paverpol and a paper mask, tree bark, beads and marine materials. | Source
Decorative item for wine bottles created using Paverpol
Decorative item for wine bottles created using Paverpol | Source

What is Paverpol?

Every so often a product is introduced that changes the way things are done. Paverpol is one such product. You can read more about Paverpol here:

How To Create A Garden Sculpture Using Paverpol, the New Essential for every Artists Toolbox

Paverpol is a textile hardener. Textile hardeners are changing the way mixed media and 3-dimensional art are being made. When Paverpol was created it started a mixed media art revolution. Paverpol’s many applications have encouraged many individuals to express themselves in a creative way.

Paverpol can be used on textile, fabrics, paper, leather, moss, tree branches, and will turn these items rock hard.
It can be used on baby clothes and shoes, dry and silk flowers, clay, Styrofoam, paper mache, bark fibers, decorations and much more and it is sealed forever.

Baby shoes can also be preserved using Paverpol
Baby shoes can also be preserved using Paverpol | Source
Baby clothes preserved on canvas using Grey Paverpol
Baby clothes preserved on canvas using Grey Paverpol | Source

Free-standing or Canvas?

The first thing you have to decide before starting the preservation is whether this is going to be a free-standing sculpture or one that's preserved on canvas.

If you are doing a free-standing sculpture you will want to determine if you want a base, and how you want it to be displayed.

If you are creating a sculpture for wall-hanging, you will want something sturdy like canvas board or a piece of hard wood.

I will show you examples of both, so you can decide. The method for each is slightly different.

Choose An Item That You Want To Preserve.

I decided to preserve a small pair of pants that my granddaughter no longer wears. I am doing this as a free-standing sculpture.
I decided to preserve a small pair of pants that my granddaughter no longer wears. I am doing this as a free-standing sculpture. | Source
I decided to do a free-standing sculpture. The first thing that I did was to stuff it with plastic bags, just to see how I would need to do this after the preserving mixture, the Paverpol material, had been embedded in the pants.
I decided to do a free-standing sculpture. The first thing that I did was to stuff it with plastic bags, just to see how I would need to do this after the preserving mixture, the Paverpol material, had been embedded in the pants. | Source

The Process

Remove the bags and set them aside, as you will need them shortly after this step.  I then began to dip the pants into the Paverpol mixture, being very careful to get it covered, both inside and out.  It must be saturated, but not dripping wet.
Remove the bags and set them aside, as you will need them shortly after this step. I then began to dip the pants into the Paverpol mixture, being very careful to get it covered, both inside and out. It must be saturated, but not dripping wet. | Source
Keep checking for areas that have not had the material in it.
Keep checking for areas that have not had the material in it. | Source
Here the pants is fairly covered in the Paverpol. Keep manipulating the material to ensure full coverage.  You don't want the sculpture to dry and discover white spots.
Here the pants is fairly covered in the Paverpol. Keep manipulating the material to ensure full coverage. You don't want the sculpture to dry and discover white spots. | Source
In this image, you can see that there are no white spots, and it is now ready for the next step.....putting the plastic bags back inside.  I am using the bronze Paverpol so it will be bronze when it is finished.
In this image, you can see that there are no white spots, and it is now ready for the next step.....putting the plastic bags back inside. I am using the bronze Paverpol so it will be bronze when it is finished. | Source

Building The Sculpture

The next steps involve stuffing the plastic bags into the pants to create the standing sculpture.  Paverpol will not stick to plastic, so these will be removed when the sculpture is dry.
The next steps involve stuffing the plastic bags into the pants to create the standing sculpture. Paverpol will not stick to plastic, so these will be removed when the sculpture is dry. | Source
I chose a board for the base.  The pants is completely stuffed here and positioned on a board where it will be staged permanently.
I chose a board for the base. The pants is completely stuffed here and positioned on a board where it will be staged permanently. | Source
It will not be able to stand on its own for a while, if wet, so you should have some support system in place while it is drying.
It will not be able to stand on its own for a while, if wet, so you should have some support system in place while it is drying. | Source

The Drying Process

You can see from this image that the plastic is stuffed inside the pants. You are free to manipulate the item to create an artistic display. Don't forget to support the sculpture while it is drying.
You can see from this image that the plastic is stuffed inside the pants. You are free to manipulate the item to create an artistic display. Don't forget to support the sculpture while it is drying. | Source
I have placed the sculpture in the sun for faster drying.  It is leaning up against a chair for support while it dries.  The plastic bags inside create the look and feel of the wrinkles while it dries, plus supports the item.
I have placed the sculpture in the sun for faster drying. It is leaning up against a chair for support while it dries. The plastic bags inside create the look and feel of the wrinkles while it dries, plus supports the item. | Source
The sculpture is completely dry in this image and I have started to add some color using powdered pigments.  The bags will be removed when completely dry.  Paverpol does not stick to plastic, so they will come out relatively easily.
The sculpture is completely dry in this image and I have started to add some color using powdered pigments. The bags will be removed when completely dry. Paverpol does not stick to plastic, so they will come out relatively easily. | Source
I placed a plastic cover between the legs as they had started to droop a little.  As you work with it you will figure out where you need support more.
I placed a plastic cover between the legs as they had started to droop a little. As you work with it you will figure out where you need support more. | Source

The Completed Sculpture

The sculpture is completely dry and I have removed the plastic bags from the inside.  The base has also been painted.  Golden and copper powdered pigments have been added for highlight effects.
The sculpture is completely dry and I have removed the plastic bags from the inside. The base has also been painted. Golden and copper powdered pigments have been added for highlight effects. | Source

Have you ever preserved baby shoes or clothing?

See results

I recently preserved some of my granddaughter's baby clothes on canvas, as a relief sculpture.

What Else Can You Do With Paverpol?

© 2016 Gina Welds Hulse

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    • Gina Welds-Hulse profile image
      Author

      Gina Welds Hulse 15 months ago from Rockledge, Florida

      Thank you! Yes, Paverpol is great even for those who love to recycle. I have used this medium in so many ways, but I loved being able to preserve a piece of my grand-baby's clothing. I am working on another piece on canvas.

      Thanks for stopping by again. I appreciate your visits.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 15 months ago from Central Florida

      I'm not a crafty person, but I love watching you bring life to ordinary items, Gina. You're very talented.

      What's great about Paverpol is it's environmentally friendly and can turn one man's trash into another's treasured art piece.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 16 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Thank you Gina most appreciated.

    • Gina Welds-Hulse profile image
      Author

      Gina Welds Hulse 16 months ago from Rockledge, Florida

      Hi Nadine. So glad you stopped by. I do know that there are a few people in South Africa that use Paverpol. Let me find out the names, specific locations, and possible suppliers for you.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 16 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Wow what an interesting hobby to have. How inspiring and what a wonderful way you explained everything by making the photos on every step. Well done. I have never seen a product called Paverpol in Cape Town but now I will look our for it. Thank you!

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