MURAL FABRIC- PolyTab / by Jose Loza

In the past couple months I have received some inquiries about the type of material I have been painting my murals on. This posting will be a brief description about my experience with the material and how it has offered new methods to the approach of mural painting. Feel free to share this information as staff and artists from the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program so generously shared it with me.

MATERIAL

Polytab is a non-woven fabric and is also known as Parachute Cloth. The material is very light, lighter than canvas, and can take on the form of the substrate it is being applied to. This fabric that is traditionally used in the garment industry is now widely part of large public mural art projects.

It is locally distributed by STC-QST out of Los Angeles.

Product name is Polytab20 Style # 320 and is available in 46” width or 60” width. Each roll contains 250 yards.

Application

  • I have installed this material on stucco, masonry, and wood.
  • I mix a 60/40 mixture of acrylic medium (novaplex) and gesso and roll it on the fabric. Do this over a flat, even surface. I layout plastic sheeting before priming to prevent the material from sticking to the underlying surface.
  • Once the fabric is dry it will be ready to paint. Be careful not to fold as it does have a tendency to crease.
  • I use Artex Nova Color Paints (Culver City) for all aspects of the mural painting process.

Installation

  • The surface the fabric will be applied to should be prepared as a normal mural wall would be prepared. 
  • With the wall prepped and gessoed, use Nova Gel to adhere the fabric to the wall.
  • Apply it generously to the wall and the back of the fabric. Use a squeegee that will not damage the painted surface to smooth out any bubbles and smooth out the fabric against the wall.
  • I normally apply a coat of gel over the edge seam and the wall to create a seamless edge.
  • Final paint touch ups can be done at this time to blend the seams.
  • Apply a varnish coating.

This is a general overview of the process. There are several methods out there on the process but I advise you to experiment with the materials on your own