Tutorial: How to make textural “Fabric Paper”

Posted by LindaM | June 6, 2014

As you know, fabric paper is one of my favorite materials and I use it in many different ways by printing on it using my inkjet printer when I make my art bags

Art Bag

and three dimensional art,

Three Dimensional Art

and also painting on it for use as backgrounds on my art quilts.

Art Quilts

There are *lots* of different ways to make fabric paper and I generally make it because I can create interesting and unique surface texture that can then be sewn either by hand or machine. And I use various different “recipes” for making fabric paper depending on exactly what I’m going to do with it.

This tutorial is super easy and shows you how to make painted textural fabric paper which you can then use as backgrounds for your art quilts or you could even cut it up and use it as fabric collage pieces. And for plain white fabric paper that you can paint on at a later date, simply omit the paint.

For more inspiration, visit the “Fabric Paper” section of my photo gallery.

What you’ll need
– some muslin or plain cotton fabric
– tissue paper
– cheesecloth
– pva glue (plain old Elmers glue)
– fabric paint or acrylic paint
– a foam paintbrush

Let’s go …

Take a piece of muslin and rinse it so that it’s damp.

Textural Fabric Paper

Then make your glue mixture – two tablespoons of pva glue mixed with half a cup of water. You can adjust this to suit your own personal needs.

Tutorial: How to make textural

Then add some color; either fabric paint or acrylic craft paint. Adding the paint to the glue mixture makes it really easy to apply to the fabric.

Tutorial: How to make textural

Using a foam brush, slop on the glue/paint mixture so that the muslin is saturated.

Tutorial: How to make textural

Next add some tissue paper. Tear it into strips and scrunch it up, then using the flat side of the foam brush, mash it onto the top of the muslin. Use extra glue/paint if necessary to flatten it down. Make sure it is quite flat with no air bubbles.

Tutorial: How to make textural

Cut some strips or bits of cheesecloth and mash them onto the top of the tissue paper in the same way.

Tutorial: How to make textural

You can now add bits of extra color for contrast if you like.

Tutorial: How to make textural

Now go away and leave it alone until it dries. Since it’s a big sloppy mess, this might take a little while. I usually leave it overnight.

Once it dries, the fabric paper is quite stiff but handling it softens it up. And of course they are fully stitchable. Have fun!

Tutorial: How to make textural

Tutorial: How to make textural

Tutorial: How to make textural

Tutorial: How to make textural

Exploring Fabric Paper

Categories: Blog, Sew Creative, Surface Design, Tutorials, Tutorials: Surface Design
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  1. luv ur site;;;i work long days and ur blog helps me to realize that i CAN b creative, too…thnx ck

  2. This is really cool. I never knew how that was done and wasn’t really interested in it until now. Thanks for sharing your technique! I’m going to give that a try today!

    • Good luck Barbara, this is one of my very favorite techniques and I use it in a lot of different ways. I hope you enjoy!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this. You have inspired me to take on my art work after a gap of some 25 years. I intend to keep going.

    • Thanks Padma, I think it’s so important to be creative even if it’s just for a short while every day or week. Making it a regular practice will change you in so many good ways. Good luck!

  4. Just in time for my final piece for my Bachelor in visual arts degree. I had never heard of this technique before.

    Many thanks for putting this information up for us to see.


    • Good luck Lara – it’s a fun technique!

  5. I tried this! I love it for a painting surface. I did 3 paintings in a week! It was inspiring to have a “new” surface to work with. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Barbara, I’m glad you were inspired by the technique!

  6. These are beautiful, I can think of many ideas for using these..and many other fun things to incorporate also. I’m curious as to how they hold up to washing?

    • Ricki, This is not something that would wash so if you tried to wash it it would fall apart.

  7. Hi Linda. I just love your work so much. Thank you for sharing with all of us all the time. You definately inspire me. I love the fabric paper idea, it looks awesome. On the green one, there is a lot of extra texture. Is that from the paper? I love the look. Thank you so much

  8. Thank you for sharing this. I love it. I’m going to give that a try.

  9. Thanks for sharing…I will practice this morning..I love the texture.

  10. Thanks for sharing this technique. Can it be ironed?

    • Yes, but you’ll want to protect your iron by using a pressing cloth or something similar.

  11. Thanks so much for sharing that, Linda. I have done a little of this but your method goes much farther. Very beautiful! You are impressive!!!!


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