Fabric Paper or Reverse Engineering

Traditionally, fine paper was made from cotton rags, hence rag paper. It’s more durable and far less acidic than paper made from wood pulp. So you could say that fabric and paper have a long history together. However, my conversion of fabric to paper began quite recently.

I was intrigued by Eileen Searcy’s article in the February/March 2017 issue of Quilting Arts magazine  about making a “faux torn paper” quilt. It was different, didn’t require quilting and, except for the dimensional paint, I already had the supplies. A grub through my interfacing drawer turned up some very lightweight non-fusible interfacing and I had a bolt of Wonder Under. Once I dashed into WalMart for the paint I was good to go.

To create the 2 by 22 inch fabric strips the directions called for I pulled out solid or mottled fabrics in a gray to green to blue range, with a few light beige neutrals thrown in. To speed up the strip process I cut my fabrics into 4 inch wide pieces and fused as many of them as I could fit onto my interfacing pieces. Then I cut them into 2 inch wide strips. If I had been thinking I would have cut them into 4 inch wide strips and separated them with the jagged edge cutting that simulates torn paper. Oh well.

Next, I dabbed the ragged cut edges with the dimensional paint. The idea is the white paint will give the effect of torn colored paper, which has a white core. This piece of real torn paper gives an idea of the look I was going for.

element_tornpaperI could have painted my strips faster, but I wanted to try different ways of applying the paint and different thicknesses of the paint. The magazine instructions turned out to be on the money – paint from the front to back of the fabric and hold the brush perpendicular to the fabric, though I decided to apply a lighter coat of paint. I can always go back and add more.

Rather than use batting I decided to fuse my foundation fabric to Decor Bond for extra stability. I’ll be sewing the fabric paper strips to this and the backing fabric at the same time. My “sandwich” will be my strips, the foundation fabric, Decor Bond, and backing fabric.

After the prep work I got to my design wall and began to play. I ended up with a design that reminds me of the Great Smoky Mountains, so I emphasized earth and sky components. Of course I took some artistic license.

great-smoky-mountains-national-park-lead

Here’s my version so far in black and white. I was checking my values range.

smokies-bw

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6 Comments

Filed under In Process, Project Ideas, Techniques

6 responses to “Fabric Paper or Reverse Engineering

  1. That’s a very cool technique! I can see a variety of applications for it–will look forward to seeing more of what you do!

  2. Thanks for sharing your process of this very cool technique. It makes me think a little of breaking waves too. I look forward to seeing your end result. No Great Smoky Mountains here but we are able to look east and see layers upon layers of mountains. When it’s not to light and they appear in gray scale, it’s one of my favorite sights.

    • How I envy you that view. Many years ago I lived in Denver and rented my apartment specifically for the view of the Rockies. That was back before air pollution created the brown haze a lot.

  3. Jane

    I like where this is going so far, Joanna. I’ll look forward to seeing the “Great Smoky Mountains” on a future “first Monday.” I was intrigued when I read the QA article. I am more motivated now to keep my issue close to hand so I can try this technique sooner than later.

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