I’m not entirely certain if Blick counts as a “big box store,” but that’s where I hunted down potential soft materials this weekend. Some were materials that felt a bit obvious as soft materials, and other items felt that they could be considered within our particular realm of soft things depending on how they were used.
Socks are soft in texture (particularly these), and has some built in elastics. Socks do tend to stretch out over time, but for a while, maintain some tensile elasticity.
2: Rubber Toy
Stretchy, delightful! Has both compressive and tensile elasticity.
3: Rubber Roller
This is technically a combination of both soft and hard materials. I liked the squish of the roller, and I liked its potential as a point of interaction.
This material can be reshaped into felt structures. It has “squish,”” and somewhat more limited “stretch.”
This material is not very elastic, but is quite flexible. It could be used in cable-control projects, and has a nice silkiness.
6: Linoleum Square
I don’t recall encountering linoleum squares like this before, and I kind of loved them! They are not very elastic, but has a really interesting flexibility (a pleasant amount of resistance to force).
7: Dual-toned Sequins
The stretchiness of the dual-toned sequined cloth varies quite a bit from fabric to fabric, but I really enjoy both its the texture and visual effect.
Chains aren’t really soft materials, but they behave like soft materials in how it moves as a whole (rather than its individual links). The whole is flexible, though it is made of rigid parts.
9: Open Weave Muslin
I liked the netting of this fabric – it seems like it would be quite easy to attach other items through its structure. It reminds me of a breadboard!
This feels like a soft classic, like paper or string! Fairly flexible, but not very elastic.
Another soft classic – limited tensile elasticity.
12: String + Yarn
Quite flexible, and elasticity varies quite a bit from string to string. For the materials represented here, most are tougher fibers with limited elasticity.
Silicone has a really great feel. Julia Rich ran a workshop in which we made silicone copies of our thumbs, and since then, I’ve been really interested in using more silicone in my projects.