Nina's Textile Trail 2

– Textiles 1: Mixed Media for Textiles

MMT Part 3 – Molding & Casting – Heat ‘n’ Form Re-usable Print Block

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(paper workbook pages 27-34)

Material: Heat ‘n’ Form Re-usable Print Block

The course notes refer to moldable polymers like ThermoMorph and InstaMorph and both of which start as pellets which can be molded once warmed in hot water and set hard when cooled.

Whilst the Heat ‘n’ Form print block is neither product, it has some similar properties. Reasonably priced at £1.75 for two blocks with 4 useable surfaces, the surface can be warmed with a heat gun, iron or hotplate (no naked flame) and imprinted with texture.  The texture can be printed using water-based media and then the surface can be reheated, whereupon it returns to a smooth block ready to be used again.

Safety Considerations:

The blocks don’t required any specific safety considerations, although care should be taken with the method of heating the block and any materials used for printing.


What a surprise!  These little blocks proved to be an efficient and easy to use addition to the home-based, bedroom studio!


It wasn’t clear how long the block should be heated, but research suggested that the surface cools very quickly and therefore needs imprinting with speed.  Initially, I heated the block and pressed it into the texture I was trying to capture, rather than pressing the texture into the block.  It took a couple of attempts before I had a good imprint.   I started with bottle tops but found it was difficult to capture the crinkly edge.  A handful of screws were very satisfying. The detail achieved was quite unexpected.  Using water-soluble block printing ink, cheap roller and chinese rice paper produced some quite appealing textural prints.  The paper was a little absorbent but reproduced the impression well.

Paper clips, Cocktail sticks, bottle caps, drill bits and screws.

So encouraged by the results, I looked back to some of Assignment 2’s samples.  Working the other way this time, the block was heated and the texture pressed immediately into the surface.  This was more effective, just the time taken to put the heat gun down, pick the block up and push it into the paper clips etc., seems to have been enough for it to cool. Although the black & white results were pleasing, more detail was captured by pushing the textured item into the block.  The paper was some newsprint (plain) which had been used to protect the table when painting some fabric with dilute dyes and the paint, Georgian water-mixable oil in Alazarin crimson.

I was very pleased with the results, the packing paper around the orange wool made a chrysanthemum like shape and the jute containing bubble wrap impression picked up the circles and the criss-cross lines of both materials.  Added to the mottled dyes in the paper, the prints made quite a complex surface.  I was really quite excited and spurred on.

One of the advantages of this method of capturing texture is that the original item need not get messy.  With that in mind, I decided to try using my little pots from Assignment 2. I started by using the side of the pot below.  The results were ok, but not very exciting.


Using a different pot, I felt I’d struck gold!  The delicate texture picked up by the impression has a fossil like pattern which was really enhanced by using a very light roller-ing of paint.

Although I have an understanding of the theory of the creative process, there was a lovely realisation that this was truly personal work in practice.  I am inexplicably fond of my little pots and absolutely delighted with the print.  It has resulted from attempting pot coiling as a method of joining following research, enjoying the potential textures at the time and experimenting with similar but different materials.  Adding knowledge gained from a recent workshop where I was introduced to the Georgian paint and produced the background.  A coming together of lots of little factors and a special moment.

Continuing to explore with the other pots produced very pleasing results but none quite as exciting as the first!

The favourite:



Grey M & Wild J (2004) Paper Metal & Stitch, Batsford, London.





One thought on “MMT Part 3 – Molding & Casting – Heat ‘n’ Form Re-usable Print Block

  1. Lovely prints from your pots and, as you say, a real satisfaction in developing your own path here. Really delicate results.

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