August 26, 2011

Smart-Fab: My Review

I was contacted by Smart-Fab to see if I'd like to try their product. What is their product? 
Smart-Fab is an alternative to paper and cloth. The product is a non-woven fabric that comes in a range of bright, non-fading colors, easy to cut, fold, glue, sew and staple. 
So they sent me some samples, and told me that I was under no obligation to write a review for them.  However, I thought after takin' their product through the ringer...I wanted to write a review.

The first thing I noticed when I pulled it out of the package was that it was rather transparent.  I placed it on my woodgrain tables and could see the woodgrain. This is not good or bad, just something I noticed.  When I held it up to the light, I noticed that the color was a bit irregular and that there were light & dark "patches".
Once again, this is not a judgement...just the facts.

The blue sky & orange ground in the above picture is Smart-Fab. I glued paper on top of it, but it required a lot of glue to actually stick to the product. 

   I also used acrylic paint & Sharpie. The texture of the Smart-Fab came through when I used other media on top of it. 

I tried using it instead of newspaper for paper mache.  I dipped it in liquid starch and placed it on a face form(covered in plastic wrap).  The Smart-Fab is soft so it did not want to hold the shape once it dried.  I added a layer of glue & this gave it more rigidity.
The best use I found was as a textile.  It was extremely easy to sew two pieces together.  Good for quilt lessons or soft sculptures.

I use to do embroidery with my 4th graders every year(real needles & embroidery floss!).  I never really had any issues with them stabbing themselves or each other, but for some reason...the fear of such a thing led me retire that lesson.  HOWEVER...and I think this excites me most about this product....plastic needs & yarn go through with no issue!  I can do embroidery again!!!  I know you can use burlap, but YUCK..have you cut 100+ squares of burlap before?? 

So there ya go!  I have a few other ideas I'd like to try with Smart-Fab, but those will have to wait.  Have you used it?  If so..what did you do?  What did you think??  LET ME KNOW! 


  1. I have never see this, good o know about some of the stuff with it. You'll have to let us know if you use it for either any sewing project other then embroidery.

  2. I was just looking at this product in my SAX catalogue and wondering what it would do. I even went in search of the Smart Fab website to research. Thanks so much for your review -- it saved me time and money ordering some to sample!!!!

  3. They had rolls and rolls of it it at the NEA conference but I did not grab any. The texture reminded me of the "fabric" that covers airline pillows or disposable doctors office gowns. I wonder if it would hold but as a the background for a large bulletin board instead of using the large rolls of butcher paper...

  4. I'm not sure..the transparent nature of it could be an issue if the b-board cork is dark. I guess if you painted the cork white it would be ok. I use fabric on my b-boards. Most of which I got from the dollar table at wal-mart.

  5. I'm wondering how it would hold up for something like my toothpaste batik, which is painted and then washed, or an oil-pastel resist/ imitation batik, with ink painted on and then washed off. Sometimes paper rips when you try these things, and I currently do the toothpaste project on fabric. Does this product rip easily or would it hold up well when soaked in water?

  6. I don't think it would absorb enough paint for the batik to really work...maybe it's good for making sets for school plays :/

  7. I have a few sample rolls from NAEA and see they ahve been really marketing it as it is on the back cover of a lot of fall catalogs. I was thinking it would make a great backdrop for student performances and even as costumes - perhaps a cool fashion design lesson. Thanks for sharing your discoveries!

  8. Wow, I've never even heard of such a thing! Thank you for your review!

  9. For proper disclosure: I am Smart-Fab's Marketing guy.

    Mr E: I think you hit the nail on the head as to what can and cannot be done with Smart-Fab, and thank you so much for reviewing it!
    With your permission, I'd be happy to add a couple of short comments:
    - Whenever transparency is an issue (e.g. in B-Boards) - you can simply use two layers of Smart-Fab: its color looks much more vivid that way.
    - Because Smart-Fab is very light-weight, but won't rip or fade, we learned that teachers like to use it in all sorts of outdoor decorations, but also as backdrop in students performance and even as a colorful table cloth for their art room. You may want to test Smart-Fab in these environments too.

  10. Very interesting, good job and thanks for sharing such a good information. get one of the best service for sms fabric manufacturers near me then visit on our website.

  11. I have purchased white. I am going to try a batik/dye. What do you think? I am looking for a middle school textile lesson.

    1. I'm not sure how well it will receive dye. Afraid it will just kind of roll off it. Test it out and see!!