Monday, 21 November 2016

Making Metallic 'Fabric'

Those who know me will tell you that I can easily go off at a creative tangent!  I do so enjoy working my makers hands on something different though, and this post is exactly that.  Some years back I realised that metallic fabric was tricky to come by and rather pricey.  I was therefore delighted when I stumbled upon an easy way to create metallic 'fabric' in a couple of hours - which can be hand and machine stitched and is perfect for Christmas decorations of all kinds.

The starting medium is not what you might expect.  Nothing to do with textiles at all, as it's actually brown paper - the kind that you wrap parcels with!  It's best to hunt out a good quality paper, rather than the kind you pick up in discount shops.  Start off by cutting a piece to the size required and you then carefully wet it under the tap!  Then gently squeeze it to remove most of the excess water and open it out and leave to dry.  As strange as this process seems, it changes the structure of the paper fibres and makes them much more resilient.

Now to the best bit - adding the colour.  For this good quality acrylic paint in your chosen colour is required.  Take a reasonable size brush and apply so that the brown paper is covered as best you can - you may need a little water depending on the consistency of the paint.  Don't work the paper too much as this will create holes - it's better to add a second coat after the first one is dry to get total coverage.
Once you have all the brown paper covered and it's completely dry, the soon to become fabric requires a coat of acrylic wax.  My favorite supplier of arty materials Art Van Go and I always check out their stand when I visit major stitch shows.
Lastly to add a backing that adds some extra resilience to the fabric, in the form of iron-on light weight Vilene - I tend to use black as it's less visible when the fabric is used.  Press on with an iron with a little steam - press from the back barely touching.
And so after no more than a couple of hours work, I have a new stock of metallic fabrics in a range of colours.  I do promise you this product is quite resilient for both hand and machine stitching - although you need to stitch correctly first time to avoid unwanted stitch holes.  Do have a go at making this very economical 'fabric' - I'd love to see photographs of projects it is used for.

No comments:

Post a comment