Polytab material is an amazing fabric material that can be used similar a mix between canvas and wall paper. To use the material as a mural cloth all you need to do is prime the canvas with gesso. after painting your image on the polytab, you can then adhere it to the wall with acrylic matte gel. This make the material permanently adhere to the wall.
1. Prime the Polytab
To prime the fabric, I apply a mixture of acrylic medium and gesso in a 50/50 ratio using a roller. This mix makes it easier to spread. It is important to do this on a flat, even surface and to use plastic sheeting to prevent the material from adhering to the surface underneath. The gesso mixture seeps through the poly tab in areas so you also want to use a plastic sheet to make sure you're not adding gesso to other surfaces. Allow the gesso to completely dry. It usually takes between 2 to 4 hours depending on where you live because of the difference in humidity and temperature. Note: Avoid having any creases in the poly tab while it dries
2. Paint the Polytab
Now that's a positive is dry with gesso, you are now able to paint your artwork on the poly tab. You can view this surface as a typical canvas. I have use all sorts of materials like acrylic, spray paint, latex paint, and enamel.
3. Cut the Material
After painting your design and allowing it to dry completely, you are now ready to install your artwork on your desired surface. If you need to only use a certain part of painted polytab, you are able to use scissors or an X-Acto knife to cut out your design. The fabric is extremely friendly to scissors, so it is easy to diecut your design.
4. Prep surface
Prepare the surface that you are wanting to install the polytab on by removing all dust, oils, grease, and any other undesired materials that may prevent the poly tab from adhering to the wall. This may even include power washing if your surface is outdoors. You're able to install polytab on brick, cement, wood and many other outdoor substrates. Just be sure to clean it first.
The flatter the surface the better. If you are unsure of how poly tab will appear on your desired surface and use a scrap piece of the material and test out the material in a small area.
5. Place Polytab Art on surface
Once you have cleaned the surface you can now place the polytab in the desired area of the wall. I usually will use painters tape to hold up the material. This is because I am usually working by myself (installation is much easier with multiple people). If the polytab is too large, you were able to cut the poly tabs into smaller more manageable sections. I do this while simultaneously using the painters tape to ensure the polytab stays in position.
6. Install adhesive
Now that the poly tab is in position, you were able to add acrylic gel to the wall. I usually remove the tape at the bottom of the section, lift up the polytab, and spread the acrylic gel with a paint roller. After the bottom is full of acrylic gel, I press down on the poly tab to attach it to the gel. You can also use a squeegee to ensure that every inch of the poly tab is adhering to the wall. Go from bottom to the top. Once it is adhered to the wall you can remove the tape for that section of the polytab.
I will also work to complete one section at a time because the gel medium will dry quickly. Focus on completing one section and then move to the next. You typically have about 3 to 10 minutes, depending on humidity and temperature to adjust the poly tab.
7. Cut Air bubbles and just
After installing all of your polytab design, look for bubbles that may appear. This is due to the lack of acrylic gel adhering the polytab to the wall. To fix this, cut an “X” into the polytab and lift up the section to apply the acrylic gel to the back. Smooth it back down with your hand or squeegee. Repeat until all the bubbles are gone.
8. Paint seams if necessary
You are able to add more paint to your design with your desired paint medium. This can also help when you need to make a seamless transition from the polytab to a wall that may be more textured than desired.
9. Seal artwork
Once you are happy with your installation, you are now able to add a sealant/varnish/topcoat. For indoor murals, are usually will go with a poly acrylic solution so that the finish on all the various mediums I used on my design is consistent. For outdoor meals I use Mural Shield, Vandlguard, and Sherwin Williams anti-graffiti coating