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The Many Faces of Tyvek

It’s not just for envelopes and wrapping houses.

Discovered in 1955 by DuPont researcher Jim White, Tyvek® is a non-woven material made of spunbond high-density polyethylene fibers. It is highly resistant to tearing yet easily cut with a knife or scissors, water resistant yet highly breathable, and lightweight.

Although Tyvek is most commonly used as a water vapor barrier on houses, shipping envelopes, wrist bands and CD envelopes, the unique properties of this material have proven useful in some unique and creative ways. In no particular order, here are some of the many faces of Tyvek.

Wallets and clutches

Tyvek wallet

Tyvek wallet (Credit: Dynomighty Design)

Keep your money in a strong, lightweight wallet and make it yourself using these directions at Instructables or buy one from several designs at Dynomighty Design.

Piano Fuzz wallet (Credit:

Piano Fuzz wallet (Credit:

Paperwallet also carries a collection of artist-made Tyvek wallets and clutches.

A bivy sack

Tyvek bivy sack

Tyvek bivy sack (Credit: Andrew F.)

Keep your sleeping bag clean and dry with an ultralight DIY bivy sack.

Stylish shoes

Light Wing trainers

Light Wing Pencil shoes (Credit: The UTLAB)

The UTLAB’s Light Wing Pencil shoes weigh a scant 150 grams and they look a lot better than clean room or painter’s booties.

A rain suit

Hooded Tyvek rain jacket and pants for under $10

Hooded Tyvek rain jacket and pants for under $10 (Credit: Will Rietveld)

Will Rietveld tells you how to make your own inexpensive rain jacket and pants at the Gossamer Gear site. He even includes test data on the breathability of his design.

A stuff sack for your stuff

Don’t throw away those USPS, FedEx and similar Tyvek envelopes you receive. Reuse them.

The Tyvek tepee

An inexpensive shelter for camping. For backpacking, you could eliminate the heavy center post by suspending the tepee from the branch of a tall tree.

And more…

Peruse some more uses of Tyvek at Hilary Bravo’s pinboard and the Tyvek blog at Material Concepts.


(Featured image adapted from a photo by Chris Raehl)


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