Thursday, January 17, 2008


Here beginnith the tutorial on making a bouquet gift using "flowers" made of fabric paper and other unusual stuff. Having made several of these with fabric paper in the past, I found it very stiff and rather bulky to manipulate - which is fine, but time consuming and not quite the result I wanted. So, I decided to see what I could do with the idea from QA magazine using my own interpretation.

First, I took a piece of thin sew-in interlining and, because it is very floppy and I did want some body, I first painted the whole thing with a mix of fabric stiffener and water (3 parts water, 1 part stiffener). The piece was laid out on a flat surface on a sheet of black plastic.

Then, I applied drops of my first colour choice in printer ink (I used the el cheapo refills that you can find in the supermarket. can find in the supermarket. Drip, splash, or do whatever randomly over interfacing.
I repeated that with the yellow and the blue. ( I have also used the same process with artists acrylic inks, so the number of spotty dots, etc and colours is up to you.) Don't worry about the colours overlapping now and then, this is good and makes interesting shades and tones.

Next, sprinkle as generously, or sparingly as u wish with rock, sea or lake crystals. Your fabric needs to be really wet for this to work and as I was working in very hot summer conditions, I had first thoroughly wetted my fabric before starting and after the salt was added, I gave it all a good drenching with water in a spray bottle. Now, the hard bit - be patient and have trust! Let the ink and salt do their magic. As you watch, the inks move around and interact with each other to produce some amazing results. Ideally you want to leave it alone at least overnight (as I did) or until thoroughly dry.

Notice, I only used the three primary colours but look at the multitude of interesting shapes and colours I got. I think it also picked up some of the white stiffener and whirled it through giving it almost neon brightness in some areas. Bottom picture is closeup of one area. Heat set the fabric, after brushing/picking off as many of the excess crystals remaining as you can. I used a sheet of baking paper to protect my iron and a setting of wool, 3 to 5 seconds per area.

The fabric needs to be cold water rinsed throroughly until you feel as if you have got rid of the salt completely. Be gentle, it is very delicate. A bit of disappointment sets in now as a lot of the ink seems to wash out and the whole starts looking a bit pale. Fear not, I was pretty happy with the outcome, after pegging it on my clothesline to dry:

I feel that a lot of the stiffener could have also rinsed out. Next time, I think I will try thicker interfacing and maybe begin with a few drops of white ink as one of my colours.

Next post, I will show how I made the baby shower bouquets.


arlee said...

That is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing a tute with us!

fiona d said...

really beautiful - thanks for the tutorial. No chance of anything drying out too quickly over here!