Experiments with Kraft-Tex
To make everything clear, this is NOT a sponsored post. A while ago a friend suggested that I try a new (to me) product for some of my designs. She suggested I buy Kraft-Tex. It comes in five different colors, white, “stone”, “chocolate” (who wouldn’t love that), gray, and “natural”. It is advertized as a paper product that can be washed and sewn like fabric!
After researching a little, I decided to jump in whole hog (sorry piggies). I bought a whole bolt of the natural color. It’s available through many outlets, but I had to buy online since even the big boxes don’t carry it here.
I decided that I needed to do some experiments before I actually made projects to sell. That’s the scientist in me, coming out. I decided the different kinds of treatment I would give the Kraft-Tex. I would keep one square untouched. The others would be 1. washed by hand, 2. washed and dried by machine, and later on, I decided 3. wash and dry by machine and then apply leather conditioner. I got out my trusty sewing machine and sewed t
he instructions right onto the Kraft-Tex itself. That way I wouldn’t mistake which sample was which.
Before washing the Kraft-Tex measured 6 x 6 inches. Measurement after only hand washing: 5 7/8 x 5 15/16 inches; after machine wash/dry 5 15/16 x 5 15/16 inches; conditioned, same as machine wash/dry. So, not a lot of shrinkage with machine washing and drying, but just enough that I would need to pre-wash any project before I cut it out, assuming it was going to be washed regularly.
Here we have a comparison. The unwashed unit just feels like thick card stock paper. Notice that the unit that was only washed by hand has visible crinkles.
In contrast, the machine washed/dried unit has a much smoother finish.
The difference between the unconditioned and conditioned units is also interesting. The unconditioned unit has a more papery feel than the conditioned one. The conditioned one feels a bit more like leather.
After a while I started wondering how the Kraft-Tex would act if I were to first put images on it. Here is a comparison before and after with Shiva Paint Sticks. (Treated normally with heat after complete drying.) The unwashed one probably would work well for a greeting card or such. The second one shows that the paint stays on even through machine washing, drying, and application of leather conditioner.
I also wondered what would happen if I used some Sharpie markers on the Kraft-Tex. I got out one of my stencils and got to work. I have comparison photos showing after stenciling, after application of alcohol, and after washing/drying/conditioning.
Most of the time when I have applied rubbing alcohol to alcohol based markers the ink runs like crazy. Not this time. This time I had to saturate the Kraft-Tex to get the image to run at all. (I treated it normally with heat after drying.)
That made me curious. I got out two small squares and drew on both with the markers. I put about the same amount of markings on one as I did on the other. In this final photo the one on the left basically went swimming in rubbing alcohol. I only dripped rubbing alcohol onto the one on the right until it was saturated. If you can tell, the design on the left is a bit muddy. I saw the ink lift off the Kraft-Tex as it was soaking. The one on the right is blurred, but overly so.
All in all, I was glad I experimented before actually using the Kraft-Tex in a project.