Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fabric Postcard Brief Tutorial

I've gotten a ton of emails from people asking about how to make fabric postcards, so I thought I'd present this very brief tutorial. If you *really" want to get inspired, head on over to Vicki Welsh's blog where she will stun and amaze you with her huge variety of projects.

Postcard Batch #1 ran out way before I ran out of addresses, so it was time for Batch #2. This is the fabric I started with. It's a snow-dyed hand dye in beautiful shades of greeny teals, blues, and lavenders. It has a cold, glacial look, which makes it perfect for this project.

Then I dug out all of my leftover Timtex to see how many cards I could make. Note to self; buy more Timtex.

Careful cutting got me seven 4 by 6 postcards and, after trimming my fabric to size, I started ransacking the embellishment shelf in my closet. The booty for this project includes a Shiva Paintstick in 'Iridescent Turquoise,' Stewart Gill 'Galactica' paint in 'Stratosphere,' 'Peacock' and 'Royal,' and Cedar Canyon's 'Snowflake' stencils. You'll also need high count muslin for the back of the cards (high count muslin is easier to write on than loosely woven muslin.), some Heavy Duty Wonder Under, wax paper to use as a pallette, cheap foam paint brushes, stenciling brushes, and paper towels. I also grabbed some Angelina Fibers, but they were too flashy and got voted off the island in the end.

Usin Paintsticks is easy. Using your thumbnail, peel away the 'skin' on the tip of your paintstick and make a little puddle of paint on your wax paper. Load the stencil brush with paint from that puddle and apply it to the fabric using a stencil and a brisk swirling rubbing motion. You want to almost scrub the brush into the fabric so that you get good contact between brush and fabric. A little paint goes a long way, so don't get too carried away, please.

When executing this technique, layering is key to adding interest, so think carefully about how you want to lay down your design work in each pass. It's easiest to work from dark to light, and from back to front. If you look closely, you will see that I very lightly sketched in pencil lines to show me the parameters of my 4 by 6 inch design space. These guidelines helped me balance my design work, increasing the likelihood that everything would end up where I wanted it to be.
This is my first pass across the fabric, using the Iridescent Turquoise paintstick and a medium sized snowflake stencil.

The paintstick appeared a bit too flat for my liking, so my second pass was with some Stewart Gill 'Galactica' paint in 'Stratosphere' directly on top of the paint stick to spark things up a bit. This was much better. The color didn't change much, but the glitter in the Galactica added a lot of dimension.

Third pass. This time, I used Galactica in 'Peacock' and a larger snowflake stencil. This paint is wonderful, as it gives good color without drastically changing the hand of your fabric. It's not stiff and flaky like cheaper paints, so you can use a lot of it and still have fabric that feels like fabric. To apply it, I just use those little foam paintbrushes and then rinse them out well when I'm done.

To dress up the back of the cards, I penciled in my my guidelines again and then used some Galactica in 'Royal' to add medium sized snowflakes in the corners for just a little sparkle.

Let the paints dry for several hours (or better yet, overnight) and apply the Wonder Under to the back of both the main and backing fabrics. If your Timtex is all in one piece, fuse it all at once to the back of your main fabric and then to the back of your backing fabric. If your Timtex is in pieces, as mine was, cut your fabric up into 4 by 6 inch pieces and fuse one at a time. **When fusing, be sure to use parchment paper between your iron and your fabric to protect your iron from the paint.** Next, trim away excess fabric using your rotary cutter and ruler.

Here are my cards, cut to size and ready to go to the domestic machine, where I will overcast the edges with Sulky Holoshimmer thread.

And here are the finished cards, with edges overcast, ready to be popped into the 4 1/2 by 6 1/2 inch envelopes they sell at Staples. (they're meant to be used for sending 4 by 6 photos.) If you go to Staples this week, the envelopes are on sale for $5.00 for a box of 50. Bonus!

See? I told you! These are so easy, anyone can make them. They're fun, not too messy, and everyone who gets them loves them. You'll look like a hero.

1 comment:

  1. I received my card and I loved it! What a great surprise!