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How to Make Fabric Paper

Updated on October 3, 2014

Why Make Fabric Paper?

Fabric paper is easy to make using supplies you may already have on hand. The project possibilities of this art medium are endless. Almost anything imaginable can be created with fabric paper: purses, art quilts, ATCs/ACEOs, postcards, bookmarks, inchies, paper quilts, wall hangings, folders, journal covers . . . .

This lens was created mainly to share my tutorial for making my style of fabric paper. For inspiration, I've added some projects and book recommendations. Enjoy!

(Image: "Irises," Fabric Paper Art Quilt, 5" x 5")

Make This Fabric Paper Handbag!

Use Your Favorite Handbag Pattern . . .

And instead of fabric, use fabric paper!

Yes, You Can Write on Fabric Paper

Here's a sample of a quick and easy Journal Page.

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Fabric Paper Quilt

Irish Rose--Fabric Paper Quilt, 18" x 18"

"Irish Rose" was created using my original paper pieced pattern and various fabric papers. This is a quick and easy project. Enjoy.

Make Handbags, Totes, Clutches, etc. - Books to Inspire You

Some books to inspire your creativity with fabric paper. Make a bag or tote . . . use your imagination.

Gift Bag

You Are Special!

You are special!--That's the message of this stenciled fabric paper gift bag.

Combine Fabric Paper With Fabric - Fabric Collage Elements

Combine your fabric paper with purchased fabric. The yellow petal is fabric paper, and the face of the pansy is made with purchased printed fabric which was painted with acrylics. Thread sketching with black embroidery thread was added for emphasis.

FABRIC PAPER ART

Purse

Purse, (8.5" x 7" x 2")

HOW TO MAKE FABRIC PAPER

SUPPLIES

Plastic trash bag

Jar for glue mixture

1.5" chip board brush

White tissue paper

Dried flower petals

White glue: A 4 oz. bottle of white glue makes approximately 1.25 yards of fabric paper

Muslin: bleached or unbleached. I use unbleached, least expensive.

Paints: I prefer acrylics, watercolors, or Neocolor II watersoluble wax pastels

PREPARE GLUE MIXTURE

MY GLUE MIXTURE RECIPE

My glue mixture recipe: One part glue to approximately one-and-one-fourth parts water.

Empty one 4 oz. bottle of white glue mixture into your jar. Leave the bottle of glue upside down in your jar for about five minutes to allow most of the glue to flow into your jar. Fill your empty glue bottle with water, replace its lid, and shake vigorously to loosen the remainder of the glue. Remove lid and pour into your jar. Fill approximately 1/4 of your empty glue bottle with water. Replace lid, shake bottle, and pour into jar. Mix with brush. Your glue mixture is made!

Left over glue mixture can be stored for future use.

FIVE EASY STEPS TO MAKING FABRIC PAPER

Step-By-Step Tutorial

STEP 1

PREPARE WORK SURFACE

Place a piece of plastic onto your table or work area to protect its surface. I use a white kitchen trash bag.

STEP 2

APPLY GLUE MIXTURE TO MUSLIN

Place your piece of muslin onto the plastic. Apply a generous layer of glue mixture to the surface of your muslin with your brush.

My piece of muslin measures 12" x 20." There's no specific reason for using this size. It's approximately half the size of my white tissue paper, and it was a convenient size to use for my work area.

STEP 3

ADD DRIED FLOWER PETALS

Randomly sprinkle torn pieces of dried petals over the muslin's surface. I used three dried rose flower petals in this tutorial.

My basic fabric papers have dried flower petals or leaves in it to provide texture and interest. I find that it also creates interesting values when combined with paints.

Tip: At this point, you can add other elements such as cut pieces of threads, paper, angelina fiber, silk fiber, etc. The possibilities are endless.

STEP 4

ADD ONE SHEET OF TISSUE PAPER

Place one sheet of white tissue paper over the surface. Gently tap the tissue paper into place with your fingertips starting from the center moving outwards towards the edges. This helps to reduce the formation of air bubbles.

STEP 5

APPLY GLUE MIXTURE OVER TISSUE PAPER

Gently apply a generous layer of glue mixture over the tissue paper. At this point, the tissue paper is very fragile.

Tip: If you keep your brush moist with the glue mixture, you can avoid tearing the tissue paper. However, if you accidentally tear it, there's no need for concern. Tear a piece of tissue from your stash, place it over the damaged area, and secure it by gently applying a thin layer of glue with your brush.

Hurray! Your fabric paper is done! Congratulations!

CHOICES

What's next?

1. You can let the fabric paper dry overnight and add color later.

2. You can use a heat gun to dry it.

3. You can immediately add paints, which is what I do.

Acrylic paints, including spray paints, can be added to wet or dry fabric paper.

ADDING COLOR TO YOUR FABRIC PAPER

MIX YOUR OWN SPRAY PAINTS

Color can be applied using various media. Paints are the most common way of adding color to fabric paper. However, crayons, water soluble wax pastels and numerous other media can be used successfully. If applying crayons or wax pastels, fabric paper should be completely dry.

SPRAY PAINTS--My Favorite Method

Although paints can be applied with a brush, my favorite method of applying color to fabric paper is through the use of spray paints.

Many excellent brands of spray paints are available for purchase. However, if you like to play and create unique color mixtures, and maybe even save some pennies, you may want to mix your own spray paints.

You can mix your own paints using your favorite brands and colors and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray bottles can be found in most craft or hobby stores. You could also recycle empty spray bottles from body splashes, etc.

MY SPRAY PAINT RECIPE

My spray paint recipe: one part paint to approximately two to two-and-a-half parts water, depending on the brand of paints you use and your choice of color intensity. You may want to experiment with your paints to find a recipe that suits you.

What's Next?

Create Your Own Fabric Paper Art

You've made your fabric paper. Now what?

Create Your Own Fabric Paper Art

For inspiration, I've shared some of my fabric paper projects in this lens and included links to other artists.

MORE IDEAS:

* Recycle old file folders by gluing on a sheet of your homemade fabric paper.

* Recover a composition book and turn it into a journal.

* Use a sheet of paper cut to size as an art journaling surface.

* Make an ATC/ACEO.

* Make a fabric paper postcard.

* Make a gift bag.

* Make a wallet.

* Make a handbag.

* Make a frame.

Fabric paper is a great after school or holiday project. This would also make a great activity for children's birthday parties. They can create their own party hats with matching favor bags.

The possibilities are endless. You are limited only by your imagination. Enjoy creating your fabric paper art! Thanks for visiting.

TIPS

FABRIC PAPER HAS LIMITATIONS

Although fabric paper is sturdy enough to sew through, it has limitations. Yes, I'm sorry. ;-D

* If you unpick your sewing, the holes will remain.

* Fabric paper is great for appliques. I would recommend you use buttonhole stitching, straight stitching or simple stitching around the edges. Too many holes in the fabric paper will weaken its structure.

* To avoid disappointment, be sure to cut your applique pieces from the glued fabric paper and not just the tissue paper. Glued tissue paper by itself (without the fabric) will break when sewn.

* Fabric paper projects should never be laundered. I do not recommend the use of fabric paper for anything that needs laundering.

* Use a sealant to protect your fabric paper project's surface. Using a sealant will only make your project water resistant NOT waterproof.

That's it. Keep these things in mind, make your fabric paper and have FUN!

FABRIC PAPER COASTER

Paper Pansy

I made this cute coaster and lined the back with felt before stitching the sides.

"Pansy," Coaster, 4.25" x 4.25"

Books from Amazon.com - Mixed Media Art

Use your fabric paper with mixed media techniques. Hope you find inspiration in these books. Enjoy.

FABRIC PAPER PROJECTS - For Inspiration

Here are links to some of my fabric paper projects posted to my blog. Images and descriptions are provided.

FABRIC PAPER ART QUILT

Dancing Pansies

"Dancing Pansies," 10" x 18.5"

Fabric Paper Book on Amazon

This book include fabric paper projects and more.

Mixed Media Explorations
Mixed Media Explorations

Turn favorite papers into fabrics that can then be stitched or quilted.

 

OTHER ARTISTS - Online Classes and Inspiration

The following links, included here with their permission, will take you to artists who use fabric paper in their artworks.

If you create art using fabric paper, leave your URL link so visitors can see your work.

I'd like to build a community of artists who want to learn and share.

Thanks for your visit!

Visitor Comments

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    • profile image

      Gilly Maddison 2 years ago

      Brilliant! I love using brown paper to make 'fabric' but this is a step beyond. Thank you.

    • profile image

      Open 2 years ago

      I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you put this on your blog! I saw it on one of your pictures and was about to email you .I hope to find some time to make some =) miss you!

    • FannieNarte profile image
      Author

      Fannie Narte 4 years ago from Hawaii

      @anonymous: Hi, Cathy! Great question--any glue would work. I have successfully used spray adhesive, white glue and fabric glue. It's a matter of preference. No, I have never tried scenting the paper, but that is a creative idea, and you've prompted me to experiment . . . thanks!!! As far as how to use the fabric paper, the world of imagination is yours. In addition to all the suggestions and examples posted here, use fabric paper for any "usual" paper projects, and use your imagination to go beyond the ordinary. There are no rules or guidelines . . . play, discover and create and most of all, have FUN! Hope this helps you be "fearless"! You can create anything you can imagine. ~Fannie

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have a question about using fabric paper. I like to decoupage and if I wanted to use some of the paper on a ready-made paper mache' box like you can get at the craft stores, how would I attach it - with spray adhesive or would regular fabric glue work? Also, have you ever tried scenting the fabric paper by brushing it with essential oils or even liquid baking flavorings like vanilla or lemon? I'm new to the paper thing and haven't done it yet. I see suggestions for use but no guidance on how to use it! Thanks for your help!

    • FannieNarte profile image
      Author

      Fannie Narte 4 years ago from Hawaii

      @anonymous: Hi, Random Man. Thanks for writing. You have shared great information--thanks. I'm sorry, I don't know of a product that would make fabric paper washable. I spray a sealant over some of my pieces to protect it from water. Your English is good. I understand you well. Good luck with your creating. Have a good day.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hello! It's nice tutorial, exactly something that I need.

      I have some questions - what type of sealant is the best for fabric paper (and also eco-friendly and waterproof)? I want to do an eco-friendly wallet, and I want to do it as durable as possible.

      And is there anything that can be added to pulp to make laundering possible? I saw material that called "washable kraft paper" which is durable and can be laundered, I want to make something similar, but homemade.

      Sorry for my bad English.

      Thanks in advance!

      Best regards,

      RM.

    • FannieNarte profile image
      Author

      Fannie Narte 5 years ago from Hawaii

      @TheDeeperWell: Hi, elsahc! Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy making fabric paper. Let me know how your projects turn out. Photos always welcomed. ;-D

    • profile image

      TheDeeperWell 5 years ago

      Thank you for making such an informative lens. As a papermaker, I am very intrigued to try this process.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I must try this, sounds like a lot of fun :)

    • FannieNarte profile image
      Author

      Fannie Narte 5 years ago from Hawaii

      @anonymous: Hi, I'm sorry I don't know of a supplier or retailer in the UK that sells fabric paper. I think fabric paper is a homemade item. Send me an e-mail: info@fannienarte.com. I'll be glad to send your mum a few samples from my stash.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hi my mum wants to know if it is possible to buy paper fabric in the UK, she resides in

      London. Do you know of a supplier or retailer in the UK. Hope you can help

    • FannieNarte profile image
      Author

      Fannie Narte 5 years ago from Hawaii

      @anonymous: Hi, Amelia. You asked a great question. I think this fabric paper would work well in making Roman Shades. I wonder how it would hold up with constant use over time. Have fun trying it out and let me know if it works for you. I may experiment with this idea and make my own discoveries. Thanks for visiting and for your fantastic question.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hi I just love this idea. I have not yet worked with fabric paper before so I wanted to ask before I venture into this project.. how flimsy or pliable is this paper fabric? Do you think this would be too stiff to use in making Roman Shades?

      Thanks :)

    • FannieNarte profile image
      Author

      Fannie Narte 5 years ago from Hawaii

      @myraggededge: Hi! Thanks for your visits and blessings. I really appreciate it. Love your lenses, especially the Zentangle ones. Congratulations on creating a group of amazing lenses.

    • profile image

      myraggededge 5 years ago

      This is lovely. I've just started making fabric paper and it's great fun. Sploshing glue and paint around are two of my favourite activities. Discovered your lens last night while in bed with my tablet. Came back today to leave a blessing :-)

    • FannieNarte profile image
      Author

      Fannie Narte 5 years ago from Hawaii

      @anonymous: Hi, Rudi. Yes, you can write on this type of paper. See above for a quick sample journal page I made with fabric paper. Experiment with markers, pens, pencils, etc. and have fun.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Can you write on this type of paper?

    • Anahid LM profile image

      Anahid LM 6 years ago

      Hi great instruction to make fabric paper. Very good. I wish you a happy Easter. Anna

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 6 years ago

      Another great informative lens!

    • BrickHouseFabrics profile image

      BrickHouseFabrics 6 years ago

      Super lens on something anyone can enjoy!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      great tutorial

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Hi!

      Today I posted an entry on my blog with a link to this tutorial.

      I'd appreciate your letting me know if that's OK.

      Thanks,

      Nancy Ward

      http://paperfriendly.blogspot.com

    • FannieNarte profile image
      Author

      Fannie Narte 7 years ago from Hawaii

      @anonymous: Hi, Nancy. Thanks for linking to my fabric paper tutorial. I appreciate you spreading the word.

      Thanks,

      Fannie

    • FannieNarte profile image
      Author

      Fannie Narte 7 years ago from Hawaii

      @anonymous: Have fun making your fabric paper, Sherry! Thanks for your continuous encouragement.

    • FannieNarte profile image
      Author

      Fannie Narte 7 years ago from Hawaii

      @junecampbell: Hi, Night Cats. Thanks for your visit and encouragement and recommendation.

      Happy Creating!

    • FannieNarte profile image
      Author

      Fannie Narte 7 years ago from Hawaii

      @zoemei123: Hi, thanks for stopping by. I'm sorry for the tardiness of responding to your comment. I just found it.

      If you have any questions, please feel free to write me.

      Hope you had fun making your fabric paper. Thanks!

    • FannieNarte profile image
      Author

      Fannie Narte 7 years ago from Hawaii

      @lucindaquilts: Hi, Lucinda Quilts. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

      If you have any questions, please feel fee to write me. I'm sorry for the tardiness of responding to your comment. I just found it.

      Have fun making your fabric paper.

    • FannieNarte profile image
      Author

      Fannie Narte 7 years ago from Hawaii

      @anonymous: Hi, Linda. I'm glad you liked the results of creating your fabric paper. I'm sorry you were disappointed with the results when sewing it into a quilt block. If you would like to e-mail me at fnarte(at)gmail.com, and give me your details, perhaps together we can find a solution to your problem.

      Fabric paper is not as pliable as fabric, and it does have its limits. Here are some things to consider:

      If your tissue paper is not completely glued to the fabric's surface, you are likely to experience some tearing.

      If your tissue paper is completely glued to the fabric's surface, when sewing through the fabric paper, the holes made by the needle will be obvious.

      When making quilt blocks using fabric paper, you will be more successful if you think of it as using paper versus fabric.

      Thanks for sharing your experiences. I'm glad the tutorial worked well for you, and I hope others will learn from the results you shared.

      Happy Creating!

    • lucindaquilts profile image

      lucindaquilts 7 years ago

      What a great lens! thank you!

    • profile image

      zoemei123 8 years ago

      Nice lense .. will be giving this a try.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I tried your instructions for fabric paper. I loved the results after painting with fabric paints and inks but was disappointed when I cut it and sewed it into a quilt block. The tissue paper tore around the areas that I free motion quilted.

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 9 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      This is a great lens I have never heard of fabric paper before. I am certainly going to give it a try. I'm giving you a lensroll on my shaker box lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      This is GREAT! I purchased supplies this weekend to make the fabric paper. Will share when finished.