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Create 3D Sculptures With Fosshape

Create Three-Dimensional Structures With Fosshape

Disclosure: Wonderflex World sent me one yard of Fosshape to review for this post.

Fosshape is a felt-like material that can be used to create three-dimensional forms. When heat-set Fosshape may be painted. If you’re interested in exploring sculptural structures, read on.

About Fosshape

Fosshape by Wonderflex is a felt-like thermoplastic fabric that is widely used in the theatre industry for costuming, props and set design, puppetry, millinery headpieces, masks, sculptures, and more. Fosshape can be cut with scissors, sewn to itself and other fabrics, and shaped into stand-alone structures. Fabric steamers or heat guns are used to set the material into a stiff, rigid shape. The level of stiffness is achieved by adjusting heat and pressure.  

Materials & Tools:

  • Fosshape 300
  • I used an embossing hot air tool but a regular heat gun or a fabric steamer will also work
  • Scissors, pins, a needle and thread
  • Fosshape can be dyed using cold water dyes (I didn’t try this)
  • Encaustic Gesso or Chalk Paint.
  • Any mixed media materials that are compatible with encaustic
  • Encaustic Medium
  • Although there are no known physical or health hazards associated with heating Fosshape, work in a well-ventilated studio and wear a NIOSH-approved particulate respirator as you are melting plastic.

How to Heat-activate Fosshape

  • Before starting your project, experiment with small pieces of Fosshape to get to know how to work with the material.
  • First, cut the material and shape it. You can create a shape by putting Fosshape over a form, pinning or sewing it. Keep in mind that heat activation will cause the material to shrink as much as 30%.
  • With a flowing motion use a heat gun or embossing hot air tool about 6-8 inches away from the material surface.
  • The Fosshape will shrink and become stiffer or denser with additional heat. Apply pressure if you want to make the material denser.
  • Overheating will melt pin-prick holes in the material.
  • Work carefully and slowly, as you cannot reverse the activation process.

Fosshape Forms & Encaustic

Once you’ve formed your Fosshape structure and heat-activated it, you can paint it. The form will not change any further when you fuse the encaustic.

Encaustic gesso or chalk paint can be applied or you can go straight to applying encaustic. Any encaustic-compatible mixed media techniques may be used.

From my experiments, adding encaustic to the Fosshape adds considerable weight to the material. To create lightweight sculptures, paints other than encaustic can be used.

Here I created a form and inserted separate petal-like forms inside, held in place with encaustic medium. I haven’t yet decided how I will finish or display the piece.

Experiments with fosshape and encaustic

learn more about Fosshape

I hope that this post about Fosshape has the wheels turning with exciting ideas for ways you can create 3D encaustic artwork and installations. I’m not planning to work any further with Fosshape as I prefer to work with natural materials.

About Ruth Maude

I enjoy experimenting with a variety of encaustic materials, techniques and tools. Everything I learn pushes my creative journey in new directions. I share what I've learned with other artists through my blog All Things Encaustic.

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2 thoughts on “Create Three-Dimensional Structures With Fosshape”

  1. Wish I’d found this site years ago, Dipping tracing paper in wax and trying to mould it doesn’t work so well. Heh…

  2. sounds cool and worth a try, but will have to wait until i finish experimenting with encaustiflex… thanks for that. i have got some from leslie and playing with it for making books.

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