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Tyvek Tinting

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tyvek Tinting

Tyvek is so versatile. I've been trying to find the right cover material for a set of miniature books (more on them later). I decided Tyvek might be the way to go. Even though I have some big sheets of it, I decided to split apart some Tyvek mailing envelopes--the lazier and cheaper method when working on miniatures.

My favorite way of decorating Tyvek is to use a foam cosmetic sponge dipped in acrylic ink. I then evenly smooth the color over the Tyvek, rubbing it in with the foam sponge.

It's best to work on top of some scrap paper and to wear vinyl or rubber gloves (I like the close-fitting kind, not the dishwashing kind).

Rubbing an even layer of the ink into the Tyvek brings out the patterns of its non-woven fibers. And one of the nicest things about acrylic ink is that it doesn't leave any discernible texture or tackiness--perfect for book pages. It just soaks into the Tyvek.




Once the Tyvek is decorated, it can be used for all sorts of things. Cut into strips, it can be used as decorative tapes to sew signatures onto. Keith Smith, in Non-adhesive Binding Books Without Paste or Glue, says of it: "Archival, flexible and strong, Tyvek seems perfect for pages in a book. It can be sewn...and since it is strong, it can be a substitute for book cloth. PVA must be used for the adhesive..."

I've used it for accordion pages and small book covers. Most of what I've read claims it's archival, although I think nobody will know for certain until it has been used for more decades. Keith Smith cautions that some binders are skeptical, warning that the plasticizer in it may eventually dry out and shatter. That said, the stuff is used to wrap houses and it's a popular art material. I just use it and enjoy.

This shows a little gift book I made a while ago. The cover material and the pages are paste-painted Tyvek. I wish the photo could convey its tactile quality--very sturdy, yet people seem to like to pet the  covers and pages.

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13 Comments:

Anonymous buechertiger said...

Oh, that looks beautiful. The tone of the blue is just perfect! I am envious that you can simply find it on the insides of envelopes. I don't think I have seen it before, and I don't think it can be found here this easily.

Mhm, I'll have to check the mail I received from the US, maybe I am closer to the material than I though I was.

Sunday, March 28, 2010  
Blogger Paper Chipmunk said...

Let me know--I'd be happy to post a sample of a Tyvek envelope to you, if it would help you out. Perhaps it will turn out that it's something more readily available than you think, but maybe having a sample to compare is what's needed. I'm not sure if it goes by another name in Europe or not?. It is a great material to have on hand to try things with.

Sunday, March 28, 2010  
Blogger Matcon Webmaster said...

Very cool use of Tyvek and the color manipulation is nicely done.

We are a Tyvek distributor and have an "Tyvek Innovative Uses" blog at http://www.materialconcepts.com/tyvek-blog/.

Would you give us permission to blog about your use of Tyvek and use one of your photos? We'll be happy to link back to your blog.

Sunday, March 28, 2010  
Blogger Paper Chipmunk said...

Matcon Webmaster,

Yes, you may use a photo and mention me on your blog, with credit and a link back. Please note that many makers of handmade books use Tyvek. I'm not claiming an original idea here, just showing my personal take on it.

I read some of the info from your site, and noticed that "natural-product adhesives based on starch, dextrin, casein or animal by-products are preferred to synthetic-based adhesives" for adhering Tyvek. This is exactly the opposite of what Keith Smith (the well-known bookbinding expert mentioned above) recommends. Interesting. My own experience is that both starch-based pastes and PVA do work with it, as does a mixture of PVA and methylcellulose (a standard adhesive mixture that many bookbinders use). Tyvek can also be used as a substrate for paste painting, as I've mentioned before.

Monday, March 29, 2010  
Blogger Paper Chipmunk said...

PS For those who are curious, the info I referred to in my comment came from a PDF of DuPont's brochure on Tyvek: http://www.materialconcepts.com/pdf/dupont-tyvek-users-manual.pdf

Tuesday, March 30, 2010  
Blogger Matcon Webmaster said...

Paper Chipmunk, thanks for letting Material Concepts blog about your use of color with Tyvek. Check it out:
http://tinyurl.com/colored-tyvek
Let us know if you do more cool stuff with Tyvek!

Thursday, April 01, 2010  
Blogger Crazy Filmmaker said...

Love this! Where does one get tyvek paper and envelopes in cool colors in the US? I could only find ones in UK and at Jam paper (which has a limited selection of colors. thanks

Saturday, March 05, 2011  
Blogger Paper Chipmunk said...

Hi Crazy Filmmaker. I've found the best way to get colored Tyvek is to color it yourself. The easiest way is to use acrylic inks, which won't leave any noticeable texture and are resistant to rubbing off (the kind I use is FW brand--there's a bottle shown in the picture above-but there are others as well). A lot of people also paint on Tyvek with acrylics. Painting on it with a paste/acrylic paint mixture works great too. It probably depends upon what you want to use it for. What I show here is my method for coloring the Tyvek. I'm sure other people have other ways as well.

Sunday, March 06, 2011  
Anonymous Crazy Filmmaker said...

Love this! Where does one get tyvek paper and envelopes in cool colors in the US? I could only find ones in UK and at Jam paper (which has a limited selection of colors. thanks

Saturday, April 02, 2011  
Anonymous buechertiger said...

Oh, that looks beautiful. The tone of the blue is just perfect! I am envious that you can simply find it on the insides of envelopes. I don't think I have seen it before, and I don't think it can be found here this easily.

Mhm, I'll have to check the mail I received from the US, maybe I am closer to the material than I though I was.

Saturday, April 02, 2011  
Anonymous Paper Chipmunk said...

Matcon Webmaster,

Yes, you may use a photo and mention me on your blog, with credit and a link back. Please note that many makers of handmade books use Tyvek. I'm not claiming an original idea here, just showing my personal take on it.

I read some of the info from your site, and noticed that "natural-product adhesives based on starch, dextrin, casein or animal by-products are preferred to synthetic-based adhesives" for adhering Tyvek. This is exactly the opposite of what Keith Smith (the well-known bookbinding expert mentioned above) recommends. Interesting. My own experience is that both starch-based pastes and PVA do work with it, as does a mixture of PVA and methylcellulose (a standard adhesive mixture that many bookbinders use). Tyvek can also be used as a substrate for paste painting, as I've mentioned before.

Saturday, April 02, 2011  
Anonymous Sang-Mi said...

I am interested in coloring Tyvek. What exact Tyvek kind do you use?

Saturday, April 23, 2011  
Anonymous Paper Chipmunk said...

Hi Sang-Mi--I usually just get a box of Tyvek envelopes from a stationery supply place and cut the edges off. If I want a bigger piece, I sometimes get a few sheets from a bookbinding supply place--it's the same kind of Tyvek envelopes are made out of, but bigger. But usually the envelopes are more than adequate.

Sunday, April 24, 2011  

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