Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How to Use Flocking Powder

This post is on behalf of a reader who requested I look into using flocking.  Flocking (powder), also just 'flock', is made up of tiny fibers that can be poured onto adhesive for a decorative effect.  Any time you are looking for your project to have a 'fuzzy' or 'fluffy' appearance, you may consider using flocking.  Some ideas include using it for animal fur, clouds, lettering, and more.  The two most popular brands that carry flocking powder are Stampendous and Martha Stewart.  The flocking I used for this post is a no-name brand that I found in little trio packs at Michael's.

If you have worked with flocking before, you know the main problem: it can be messy.  Similar to embossing powder, it has a tendency to cling where you don't want it to stick.  So today I set out to attempt to build a better mousetrap, and make the process better.

I started out with different types of adhesive.

This photo shows all the adhesive I used:
Elmers Paper Craft Glue Gel, Elmers Fabric & Paper Glue, glue gun,
Glossy Accents, Elmers CraftBond Photo-Stiks, and Herma Dotto Adhesive Runner.

I also wanted to see if time had any effect on the project, so I cut up 12 squares, 2 squares per color.

My process:

Place the adhesive on the square. 
Pour the flocking over the adhesive, being sure to cover thoroughly.
With one square, I immediately dumped off the excess flocking back into the container.

With the other square, I left the flocking on for an hour, then removed the excess flocking.

Here is the KEY: once you rid your project of the excess, spray lightly with office dusting spray, aka "air-in-a-can" into a garbage can.  Make sure you do not blast your project, as this will cause the flocking to come away from the adhesive.  This step is the key to reducing the mess!  Here is the before and after of spraying the air-in-a-can:


Notes on adhesives:
The Elmers Paper Craft Glue Gel (purple) deflated, Elmers Fabric & Paper Glue (red) did not seem to adhere well, the glue gun (green) did not adhere well and it also left a glue string.  The Glossy Accents (yellow) seemed to adhere the best and did not deflate as much as the purple.  The Photo-Stik (blue) did well for flat covering, as did the adhesive runner (pink); however, the adhesive runner has dotted adhesive so the dots can be seen through the flocking.




Notes on time:
The hour difference of removing the excess powder did not seem to have an effect.  However, the next day when I touched my sample pieces, the flocking seemed to stay put and not flake off versus if I had just touched it previously.  I think it is a good idea to let your flocked project sit overnight or at least a couple hours before doing anything else with it (especially touching it).  Some on the web recommend leaving the flocking part as the last part of your project.

Other notes:
Be sure to 'mix' or 'fluff' your flocking before use.  If you haven't used your flocking in awhile, it will settle and pack together.  just use a toothpick or similar object to stir it up.  The blue flocking on the left shows what it looks like after it has been stirred, and the pink flocking on the left shows what it looks like when you first take off the lid.


Round Two of Experimentation:

I found a video on YouTube describing use of a Cuttlebug (or Sizzix Texture Boutique) to press down the flocking into the paper surface to set it so that it would not flake off.

This looked really awesome, and she obviously had a positive result.
My results were not quite the same:

I'm thinking my error may be a couple different things.
(Or perhaps even all of these things caused a bad result in my test)
1. I used smaller die cuts; maybe this technique works better with a larger piece.
2. I used Aleene's Tacky Spray, she used Elmer's Craft Bond Spray.  Maybe the brand's formulas are different, or maybe I sprayed too much of it?  Will need to continue testing.
3. Maybe I did not use enough flocking.  Her video shows a decently thick layer, and I'm wondering if I just didn't have enough.


Round Three of Experimentation:

Now to see how it will stamp.  I used a cute little caterpillar stamp so I could make it fuzzy.  Stamping with VersaMark Ink.  I followed the same process as before.  I think it came out great!

Hope you found this post useful; I had fun testing different techniques for this post. 
If you have any tips or tricks on using flocking powder, please share them!