This was optional but I was really looking forward to using my soldering iron so I had to give it a go!
I selected a few samples of materials in a variety of colours, gathered up my equipment and headed for my studio which is really a summer-house or affectionately called the shed! It is far from being a shed, why is it some names just stick?
There are double doors and large windows at the front of the ‘shed’ allowing for plenty ventilation. There is a power supply too, very handy under the circumstances.
The soldering iron came with a little stand which I thought was a bit flimsy so I used a terracotta pot instead.
This was the first time I had ever done anything like this and all the equipment was brand new, not even out of the packet. I had plenty of room to work in but I found the cable was very short and restricted how well I could move the iron. I had to move the work surface as close to the power point as possible. A bit disappointing that something so useful has such a short cable, I did not think to check the length of the cable but do the manufacturers expect you to crouch beside the plug? Anyway rant over! I did enjoy using it apart from this minor inconvenience!
Using Yellow and Gold
1 2 3
4 5 6
I layered the materials so that the meltable ones were backed by a contrasting or complimentary cotton fabric and sewed small squares of these onto a backing of calico.
I used a pointed tip and a low heat setting.
1) Painted organza
This material reacted quickly to the heat of the iron.
2)Gold Spiders Web
There was a nice reaction form the material and I was able to make quick squiggly marks.
3) Plain organza
This worked better than a) possibly because there was no paint on this one.
4)Shimmering cotton mixed material.
Marks were left on this material but the iron did not go right through.
This material responded quickly to the iron. It was quite difficult to make small controlled marks because of this but I am still happy with the effect.
6)Polyester satin finish
I had to press the point firmly into this material to make deep marks. This worked quite well.
Using Blue and Purple
2 3 4
Slight scorch marks were made on the silk but higher heat or more pressure would be needed to go right through the material.
This melted very quickly and the intended design was hard to control.
3) Painted nylon
Both the fabric and paint melted quickly and easily. I used a lighter touch with this and was able to have some control over the design I was trying to make.
This melted quickly and scorched too.
5) Polyester Satin
I made nice even lines here, the material responded quickly to the heat.
6) Nylon mix.
There are marks on the fabric but the heat did not go right through the material. Perhaps some of the threads have cotton in them?
7) Synthetic felt
This material reacted quickly . I was able to make deep marks quickly and easily on this material.
Translating a design using a soldering iron.
I layered strips of the materials I liked from the above experiments in layers. I included 6) from the purple samples as the bottom layer and placed all this on top of calico. I added an orange organza which had been panted to the mix. I then tacked these into position and sewed the required pattern onto the stack using yellow cotton thread. I then made diagonal slashes into the centre motifs of the design. The tip of the iron sometimes went over the stitching. I tried really hard not to let this happen! These marks looked okay but I felt the rest of the design had no life to it so I added less controlled marks. I think this really lifted the overall effect of the design. I tried to vary the depth of marks too to create a contrast here although the deeper slashes were easier to do!
Overall I like the results achieved from using the soldering iron. I would use it again but I would need to get an extension cable!