Tutorial – Fiber Art Collage – Greeting Cards

Fiber Art Collage

Here’s how I approach the process. It’s art, after all, so feel free to bend, change or ignore any of the following steps.    

Supplies: (read through the tute – it’ll make more sense)

  • Blank Greeting Card (or medium of choice for mounting)
  • Background Fabric – a scrap from your stash
  • Batting or stabilizer to match size of background
  • Various scraps of coordinating fabric, threads, fancy fibers, Angelina, cheesecloth, ribbons, other non-cotton scraps such as wool, silk, burlap etc.
  • Glue stick – acid free
  • Thread to sew together layers of the collage. Machine or embroidery thread
  • Other embellishments of your choice: beads, charms etc.

Method:

  1. Determine the overall “feel” of the piece – Elegant? Playful? Modern? Romantic?
  1. Gather from your scrap bag and from your stash – pieces and bits that you think might belong in this piece (I often use color as my theme)

 

Gather scraps and other possible materials to use

Gather scraps and other possible materials to use

  1. Vary these design elements such as you would for any composition
  1. I think of these pieces as mini art quilts and assemble in layers
  • Layer one – background (stabilized)
  • Layer two – texture and color
  • Layer three – focal motif   (just one example of my approach)

5.   If preparing your mini fiber art collage for a greeting card – roughly cut your background fabric to measure at least one inch in from all four sides.

 

photo 3 (2)

e.g. card is 5 by 7; background fabric no larger than 3 by 5

Your collage will be built on this background; may entirely cover it; may extend from any or all of the sides.   If you prefer a frayed edge, tear your fabric instead of cutting.

6.  Stabilize your background by whichever means you prefer (and happen to have on hand). I like to use something like Pellon Craft-fuse or Décor Bond. Or I may use regular cotton quilt batting.  If you use batting, cover it with muslin so that it will adhere firmly to the card.

Stabilizer of your choice added to wrong side of background fabric

Stabilizer of your choice added to wrong side of background fabric

7.  Add your texture and color elements into a design that pleases your eye. Pin first, then stitch to attach elements to background.   Or just go for it; don’t overthink t!

First layer enhanced by ribbon and hand dyed cheesecloth.

First layer enhanced by ribbon and hand dyed cheesecloth

another possibility explored

another possibility explored

8.  Quilt by machine or by hand with thread of choice. Get crazy!

First pass at the machine with a narrow zig-zag stitch.  You can see that I was tweaking as I went.

First pass at the machine with a narrow zig-zag stitch. You can see that I was tweaking as I went.

The angelina scrap was pinned to the piece after the stitching.

 9.  Add your final element(s). This may be a focal point OR it may be something (for example a circle of couching or beads) that enhances the focal element.  In this case I isolated one element from some vintage lace trim and painted it.

photo (1)

10.  Affix your completed piece to the front of the card with an acid free glue stick. (I like UHU best but also use Avery or others)

 Have fun!  I’d LOVE to see what you come up with.  Send a pic to me – and I’ll post it!

And please let me know what you think of this tutorial…  Thank you!

© Guila Greer 2014

This tutorial and all photos are the exclusive property of Guila Greer. It is for your personal use only. Please do not copy.
Thank you very much for your understanding.

Tutorial for Sun Printing (Sun Painting)

I love Sun Printing – the serendipity aspects are marvelous, especially using organic masks – you’re never quite sure how it’s going to turn out.  And, if you don’t like the results just repaint your fabric and start over.

Materials you will need:

  • Fabric – 100% white cotton – prewashed in detergent and dried
  • Clothes you don’t mind getting paint on
  • a portable work surface: cover a piece of heavy cardboard with plastic and tape the plastic securely to the reverse side of the cardboard. The work surface should be a couple of inches larger than your fabric piece all around.
  • Straight pins
  • Paint:  sun sensitive fabric paint such as Dye-Na-Flow (from Lumiere) or light sensitive Setacolor fabric paint   Use from 1 to 3 different colors.
  • Foam brushes ½ inch to 1 ½ inch
  • Plastic bowls (one for each color that you will use –
  • Spritzer bottle with water
Prepared work surface and wet fabric

Prepared work surface and wet fabric

A variety of items to use as masks to create your design:

Use items that have enough weight to sit firmly on the fabric so that the sunlight doesn’t leak in under the edges in order to create a nice crisp print.  Lighter items will give you a more subtle look.  If there’s a light breeze you may want to place a weight such as a hardware washer on top of a mask that could blow away or shift position.  (such as a leaf)  A fine straight pin could be used to hold your item to the fabric as well.  Just make sure that it doesn’t cast a shadow -unless you want that effect.

The paint used in Sun Printing works by seeking out a light source.  So when you place a mask over a section of painted cloth, the paint will migrate into uncovered areas of fabric.

Here are some examples of masks you can readily find:

  • Found items such as old keys, coins of various sizes, buttons, safety pins, string of beads, botte caps
  • hardware items such as washers, screws, nuts and bolts
  • items you can pick up on a walk like leaves, petals, stones, fronds, stems
  • stencils (your pattern will be reversed)
  • shapes you cut out yourself from cardboard.
A variety of objects can be used to mask areas of your painted surface and produce your print

A variety of objects can be used to mask areas of your painted surface and produce your print

Method

  1. Secure your fabric to work board with pins or use masking tape to secure the edges.
  2. Wet down fabric thoroughly with water/spritzer bottle.  Keep the fabric wet until you’ve finished arranging your design.
  3. Choose between 1 and 3 paint colors for your first project.  Mix a small amount of each color with 2 parts water, placing one color solution in each bowl.   supplies
  4. Wet foam brush and start painting fabric.  Remember this is a background.  It doesn’t have to resemble anything; it is simply a colorful backdrop for your printing items.  While painting with color #1, leave white spaces for additional colors.
  5. As you add your additional colors, spritz more water to help the colors spread and mix at the edges.
  6. Have your masking items ready to arrange on your fabric immediately, especially if you are outside on a warm sunny day!

Fresh leaves from a rose bush are arranged on the wet painted surface of the fabric

7.  Quickly arrange masking items  on to wet painted surface of fabric.

8.  Take fabric – along with work surface to a sunny spot and allow to dry for 30 minutes to an hour – depending on temperature and humidity.

9.  Remove masks when completely dry. 

10.  Press fabric with a hot dry iron for about 4 minutes to set the paint.

The results

The results

More Rose Leafs - different color scheme

More Rose Leafs – different color scheme

sunprint

New Life for An Old Bag

Several years ago I sewed a tote  bag that quickly became my favorite.  I enjoyed it  so much that I actually started wearing it out!

When It Was New

well worn

Tossing it aside was not an option. Too much work went into making it and besides I really liked it.

So, I investigated ways to ‘fix’ it that would not be too difficult and would not look like an emergency patching job.

I decided to use fake prairie points with a ragged edge.  Luckily I had enough fabric left over from the bag in my scrap stash.So I cut out about 20   3 in. by 3 in. squares, folded them in half corner to corner, then arranged them in overlapping fashion around the top edge of the tote. 

3 inch by 3 inch squares – fold each in half, point to point

I stitched around the top to hold them in place then stitched them more securely about 1/2 inch in from the edges to leave them “raw-edged.”  Finally I washed and dried the tote bag to allow the new embellishments to fray a little.  Because the fabric had been previously washed it did not do much fraying but I’m sure that in time they’ll take on that look.

And here is my “new” old tote bag ready to go !

Fish Out of Water

When I posted here several months ago I mentioned that I was working on a piece that needed some hand embroidery to be added.  This was a fun project – something different and incorporating several different techniques.

Here is a photo of  my Fish Out Of Water

And here is an overview of how I made him.

I collaged several fabrics onto a mottled yellow background.  I made a stencil from a fish drawing and when I cut it out I was careful to keep the remaining stencil material intact so that I could use it too.
Then I painted the fish image onto the quilt using the stencil and acrylic paint.  When it was dry I thought that more contrast was needed around the fish so I used the “fish” part of the stencil and painted around the outline.

I outlined the collage pieces with perle cotton and added embroidery to the fish.  Then I added some beads and a button eye to accent the fish.

Outline Stitching and Button Eye

Beaded Tail

Finally I stitched and beaded a spray of coral.

Beaded Spray of Coral

I used a pillowcase type of backing and accented the edges with a perle cotton running stitch.

Studio Space and Design Walls

Until just recently my sewing/art/studio shared space with our guest room. A lot of you  know the drill:  Company’s coming, start wheeling out the portable carts, last minute putting away of supplies (that you can’t find for weeks after your company goes home) and no access to your machine for a week.  So along with my decision to go on “hiatus” from real estate I decided to convert my home office to a dedicated art studio. Number one requirement – a design wall – so sorely needed. Current design wall being the sliding doors of the guest room closet or a sheet on the floor for larger projects.  The futon had to go and the ideal spot for it was my husband’s study.  Of course he didn’t know anything about that but it didn’t take long to convince him that it was a wonderful idea :-).  So I helped clear space for the futon and we proceeded to take it apart.

And that’s when the fun began.

Picture this – a queen size mattress – a relatively narrow door – 2 height challenged people

So we each have an end of the mattress – John’s pulling I’m pushing and he starts doing some deep cleansing “labor” type breathing – saying “now push” breathe – Well I lost it – rolling on the floor lost it.

Shortly thereafter, with the mattress out of the room I left John to tackle the job of dismantling the frame. I couldn’t watch.  It was like watching a scary movie.

Next step was to turn that now beautifully empty wall into my dream design wall.  I had purchased some fiber board and proceeded to put it up using double sided tape to adhere it to the wall.

Measure your space carefully before you buy the fiber board.  It comes in a variety of sizes and I decided on the 30″ by 20″ size, easier to handle and more versatile so far as filling the space. You can get it in one of the chain crafts stores.  I was lucky to find it on sale.       You also want to note where your electrical outlets are so that you don’t cover them up.  I started at the top because I didn’t want to run out of wall space with leftover fiber board to trim if possible. I figured that I would use the space at the top more readily than near the floor anyway.

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My other purchase was a length of white cotton flannel yardage. I calculated the width of the board and multiplied by 2. Then I cut the yardage in half so that I ended up with 2 lengths the width of the design board.  I used a staple gun to attach the flannel to the fiber board being careful to keep it taut and straight.

The last touch was to add a sturdy curtain rod across the top.  This will be used to hang quilts for photographing.  This design wall is now in constant use and I have found the hanging rod to be a necessary tool as well.

If you have any questions about how I did this please leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to provide an answer.