OVERLAY WITH A DIFFERENCE: STRONG SUPPORT-THREAD EDGE FINISH FOR TETEX TR
9 ACHIEVING THE DESIRED RESULTS
The results obtained can be improved by the following helpful hints. Practice makes perfect when melding edges with a heated spatula, and working with the right tools makes for a less frustrating experience. Less expensive, similar-weave polyesters can be used for experimentation. Practice first with simple cutout shapes, then progress to more complex shapes (fig. 10) with more than one design motif cut from sample overlays, to get an idea of how to judge the adjustments to make for each potential fitting.
As mentioned, it is critical to keep the heated spatula head free of melted polyester by scraping off the residues every few seconds while working. Otherwise, the polyester burns and turns dark, and some residues may themselves meld to the finished edge, causing an undesirable darkening and uneven appearance. It is virtually impossible to melt these away when doing touch-ups. A clean needle head also ensures that a smooth, gliding hand movement is possible during melding.
Sometimes while melding, a bead or fine strings of melted polyester form and remain attached to the melded edge. These are easily located by feeling the cooled edges or by examination under a stereo microscope. It is advisable to go around a second time with the heated spatula to smooth out these areas, which are potentially abrasive to the artifact.
Last but not least, once the hot-melt-cutting of the overlay is complete, the masking tape binding is cut away. If the tape is pulled off, the weave of the Tetex TR becomes permanently distorted.
Test sample of a complex shape cut from Tetex TR using the technique, showing the level of detail that can be attained