Cleaning Up! {and making Fabric Paper!}

Put a fork in me, I’m done.

I’m SO overdue to get my crap cleaned up back to my little workroom I went to clean up and clear out so we we could, like, host guests this Thanksgiving! (Um, yes, it may take me 3 weeks to get there, but no judgement!)

I’ve spent a small fortune on supplies that I HATE to throw away – including silk organza that has been painted that didn’t work for my Eastman Angel projects (E.A.P) (don’t ask.)  What better way to clean up some of those annoying scraps than to make some fabric paper and some new greeting cards!

Fabric paper is basically gluing bits of leftover paper and other small pieces parts onto a larger base fabric.  There are lots of great tutorials using paper in fabric projects – especially here.  Since I don’t need to reinvent the wheel, here’s a broad overview what I did to clear up some of the flotsam and jetsam of E.A.P.

I started with this drawing on a piece of muslin that didn’t make the cut for E.A.P.I saturated the fabric with a diluted mixture of ModgePodge and matte medium (to help cut down the gloss of the ModgePodge.)  (BTW, I sketched with Pigma pens so I know that bleeding would not be an issue.  If you have doubts, you should use a fixative to insure that you don’t end up with a big black blob.)  (Although that can be worked around too.)

Then it’s time to add the stuff – I like fortunes from fortune cookies, tea tabs, labels from the tea bag labels (remove the thin plastic liner from inside the tea bag cover) and bits of magazine text, leftover silk organza that was painted – mostly stuff that’s technically too small to keep, but that I don’t want to pitch.I coated everything with the ModgePodge mixture, and did a lot of “capturing” some of the thicker things (fortunes) with used tea bags that I’ve washed and ironed flat.  Let dry completely.  See – you can still see parts of the sketch in the background.  That’s sort of the idea – translucent layers.

By the way, you can write or draw or even print on teabags before you glue them to the fabric – the teabag material sort of disappears into the background and its a nice way to add another layer of interest.  (Watch for ink bleeding again.)

Next, I use my beloved Dye-na-flo paints thinned down even more and add more color to the fabric paper.  The goal is sheer sheer sheer!I like to crumple it all up and add a bit of sepia or umber paint – the paint will sit in the valleys and give a really nice texture.  See the bright green glob near the top of the photo?  That got toned down with a splash of sepia colored paint.

Next iron well.  Make sure that you use parchment paper between the fabric paper and your ironing surface AND between the fabric paper and your iron.I may crumple and iron a piece of fabric paper several times – the resulting texture is supple but firm.  It will hold up well for cards, ornaments – I made luggage tags out of a particularly sturdy piece of fabric paper – projects where you want a little heft and don’t care about softness so much.

Here is a piece of fabric paper where the base is silk organza.  I fused the silk to a piece of my painting rag stash – the color of the rag (deep blue) really gave a nice depth to the fabric paper.This still has a way to go – it isn’t as melded as I like.  I’ll just keep adding to it, repainting, trying to avoid the unfortunate “mud” color of adding too many different colors on top of each other until it blends better.

(And yes, even my paint rags get put to use.  The beauty of Dye-Na-Flow is how soft it leaves the fabric – and how translucent it is, even though it is highly pigmented.  I start with a piece of white muslin, use it as a liner for my paint projects, then it gets used again as the background or liner for another project!)

To finish the cards, I took gold ink and drew fantasy flowers all over the fabric paper, then cut it into card-sized pieces.  I used ink pencils to sketch in flowers, then fused whole thing to thick interfacing.You could use marker, fabric paint pens – any of those tools sitting in your stash that you don’t use often or have always wanted to try – to make designs, add text, whatever.

Then it’s a matter of free motion quilting the outlines of the flowers with black thread, attaching a blank post card to the back, finish the edges and voila!

All the different layers – the muslin, the sketching, the teabags, – add to a nice rich interesting texture.  And the annoying niblets ($$) are put to good use!

Here’s my loosey-goosey tutorial to make greeting cards (and here too!) that gives a few more details on making the cards themselves.

Obviously, this is one of my favorite small projects – I absolutely hate buying greeting cards and I’ve already bought all the art supplies which need to be used so I’m seeing wins all the way ’round.

Now to get the vacuum out – it’s been so long since I’ve vacuumed that it may take more than one canister dump.

Thanks so much for stopping by – take care and have a wonderful weekend!

All the best -


This entry was posted in A Bunch of Tutorials, Done!, Fabric Paper, Inspiration and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Cleaning Up! {and making Fabric Paper!}

  1. Nina-Marie says:

    I’m so glad I found your blog – love your work and its great that you’ve shared your design process!! I would love it if you would link up this week on my Off the Wall Fridays where art quilters have been connecting – we’ve found it both inspiring and motivating! We run it on my blog every Friday – so come over and post any week!

    • Chris says:

      Hi, Nina-Marie! So glad you stopped by – I’ll definitely be spending some time on your blog – and thanks for the invitation to link up – Take care

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