Craft Ideas for Making Postcards: How to Make Fabric Postcards
Making postcards out of fabric is a fun activity for a rainy afternoon, or to entertain a group of children or adults. In my hub, How to Make a Fabric Avatar Postcard, I outlined step-by-step directions on how I made postcards that look like people.
In this hub, I provide additional ideas about materials that can be used to make a fabric postcard, and other choices for designs besides avatars. Reading both this hub and the avatar one will give you a more complete picture about how to make fabric postcards.
Having the right tools may make this project more enjoyable. I have included some Amazon products that I particularly enjoy for making postcards. These tools are also useful in other projects as well.
But you may choose to make postcards out of items that you have at home. This article shows alternatives to the products I used to make the avatar postcards. By making these simple substitutes for the supplies, you will be able to get to making your fabric postcards right away.
How to Make a Fabric Postcard
The basic concept of making a fabric postcard is to create a design on a background piece of fabric. The avatar was made by using a glue stick to temporarily hold down the fabric pieces to the background. Using a spray fabric adhesive, attach the background to the Timtex, and sew down the pieces through all the layers. Finally, using the spray fabric adhesive again, attach the backing. Trim the whole sandwich so that it is between 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 inches in direction, and between 5 and 6 inches in the other direction. Then use a zigzag or satin stitch to sew around the edge of the card. Write the word postcard on the back. Then you can treat it as any other postcard.
Design Choices for Postcards
You are not limited to using avatars for your postcards. In fact there is no limit to the designs you can choose for your postcards. Probably the only consideration you have is your availability of material for your postcards and your imagination.
You can think about other cards or postcards you have seen in the past and make something similar to them.
Look around your house or flip through some magazines or catalogs for ideas. Sometimes your fabric colors or textures may inspire you towards a particular design. I hope that the photographs here will provide you with some additional ideas.
Having the right tools makes a craft project go much better.
Steam-A-Seam2 is great to smoothly adhere pieces onto a background. It provides a thin, neat appearance to your applique project.
Timtex provides a firm and flexible texture to your craft projects. It is great to make postcards, fabric bowls and boxes, vases and purses.
This product is similar to the brand name Sulky, but is much cheaper. An adhesive spray makes it easier to add big pieces together. It is great to keep a quilt sandwich together, and to adhere applique pieces in craft projects such as making fabric postcards.
Alternatives to Various Supplies used in making Fabric Postcards
Glues and Glue Alternatives for Fabric Postcards
In my avatar hub, I used a school glue stick, and fabric spray adhesive to hold my appliqué pieces to the background. If you don't have these items, there are other choices.
- If you have liquid glue, you can use that. Just be sure to use a small around and spread it around the fabric so there aren't any lumps.
- You can try to sew the pieces without an adhesive of any kind. This works well if you have just a few big pieces that you can hold down by hand.
- You can use straight pins to hold your pieces together until enough of them are sewn down. Again, this works better for bigger pieces.
- If you don't have young children at home, you may not have a glue stick at home, or it might have dried out. If you sew, you may be able to find some fusible interfacing that will hold down your pieces. Many quilters, including myself, prefer Steam a Seam 2 which has an adhesive on both sides. This works well for lots of pieces. It works best when you secure the adhesive to one side before cutting, then cutting, and then applying it onto the background.
- Another option is to use a thinner fabric to hold down the pieces. Netting or tulle works well for this. Apply a layer of netting. If you want the fabric pieces to stay where they are, you will want to quilt them down. I have a postcard where the quilter put cardboard dots she made with a hole punch. She put the netting over them and sewed around the edges, leaving the dots to float around the inside of the card. It is beautiful and interactive.
What if You Don't Have a Sewing Machine?
You do not need a sewing machine to make a fabric postcard. You can sew pieces by hand, or use hand appliqué. You can even use embroidery stitches instead of appliqué or piecing.
If you are using Steam-a-Seam2, your pieces are already adhering to the background, and you really don't need to sew them down.
What if I don't have fabric?
This may come as a surprise, but you can actually make a fabric postcard without cutting up pieces of fabric. If you have yarn, ribbons or beads, you can sew them down directly onto your batting or Timtex. You can also use other materials, like taking apart those silk flowers, or even gluing down cutouts from magazines. If you are planning on mailing your postcard, you do need to make sure that you don't exceed the thickness requirements of postcards, and make sure that they won't come off during its transport in the mail.
Alternatives to Appliqué for Fabric Postcards
What if you don't like appliqué? Appliqué is simply cutting out shapes and securing them to a background. It became the "dreaded A word" when the quilt police came up with rules about proper appliqué methodology. Postcards are casual and will be going through the postal system. They really do not require your best invisible stitch turn down appliqué. You can break any rules you want here.
If you still insist on not using appliqué, you can piece your fabric by machine and sew it down.
What if You Don't Have Timtex?
Timtex is a specialty material, and most people are not likely to have it at home. You can still make a fabric postcard without Timtex, although if you make enough of these, you may be willing to go out and buy this material.
When I don't use Timtex, I use a layer of batting underneath my background fabric instead of the Timtex. This gives it a nice soft texture. If you don't have batting, you can add another piece of fabric, like flannel or denim. Then, instead of fabric for the backing, I cut up some cardboard - from an index card usually, and sew around the edges. The cardboard provides a clean space to write and adds some stiffness to the card. If you want fabric on the outside, you can include cardboard on the inside, just add the cardboard and the backing fabric at the same time, and sew around the edges.
Making Fabric Postcards
The best thing about crafts like postcards is that they can be made with common supplies that are easily found at home. If you don't have one thing, it isn't very difficult to substitute with another. Sure, there are some supplies that make it easier and may work better than others, but they will all give you a chance to practice your creativity and spend a fun afternoon thinking about the loved one you will send your postcard to. It is a great group activity.
You can try out different techniques on a small scale and see which ones you prefer. These postcards are a great way to build up to more challenging projects like quilts or other mixed media art projects.
© 2011 Shasta Matova
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