The King John School (Essex)

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Experimenting with Tyvek

Year 9 students from The King John School in Essex have been experimenting with Tyvek to identify its properties and potential for use to make products. In particular they were inspired by this wallet made of Tyvek as well as festival bands. 

Mighty Wallet

Julia Beeney, textiles teacher at the school, had the new D&T GCSE in mind when she  introduced Tyvek to students as it’s both a thermoforming material as well as a textiles one. This is a useful way to demonstrate to students how there is an increasingly blurred lines between materials and their uses and classifications. 

Students began by researching Tyvek and experimenting with its low melting point, something that is often used a lot in art textiles work. 

As well as melting the Tyvek students experimented with different ways of transferring colour and below are some examples of the experiments students did using a variety of different surface decoration techniques. 

tyvek 3

Students also wanted to experiment with sublimation printing Tyvek but its low melting point was a problem as both the heat press and iron melted the material. Deborah Ryder, from Canon Slade School in Bolton, gave tips and advice on temperatures & timings, suggesting students experiment with temperatures around 150°C for between 40 seconds and a minute depending on the strength of colour required. Deborah also recommended the use of a Teflon sheet on top of the print. 

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Using this advice students were able to print successfully and found 130°C for a minute gave them the best print. Above you can see some of the experiments students did with temperatures and timings and the different depths of colour that was produced. 

This work is a great example of the importance of iterative design and how experimental work can be fun and creative, as well as helping to solve problems that help produce high quality end products. 

Find out more about Tyvek 

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