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Friday, 6 March 2015

Fusing Fabric with Plastic Wrap

Having successfully fused two sheets of paper to each other using heat and Glad Wrap, I wondered whether I could fuse a piece of fabric to paper using the same method. Once the idea was born, I had to try it. True to form, I decided to record the whole process for your benefit. I start by laying down a piece of white paper. I used a 12" x 12" sheet.

I then cover the whole paper with plastic wrap. The plastic wrap fits my paper exactly, but I learned how difficult it was to keep it on the edges when working with the paper, so this time round I use two lengths and simply allow them to overlap.

I put the chosen pieces of fabric on top if the plastic wrap. These have been roughly cut to size, with overlap. I opted to use two different fabric pieces. I would later learn that this was not a wise choice. The teal fabric on the right was much quicker to respond to the fusing process than the beige one on the left, making it a tad more difficult to judge when the fusing process was complete.

I now tucked the plastic wrap neatly in so that it lined up with the edge of my paper. I learned the first time around that I should keep any extra paper or fabric out of the way, working as much as possible with direct heat.

I now very carefully transferred my fabric and paper sandwich to a piece of off-cut masonite I had on hand. This was placed on my padded ironing board. When fusing the papers, I found the soft surface of the ironing board to be ineffective and only had success once I swapped it for a hard masonite surface. I start to apply heat to the 'sandwich' by ironing it. I keep the iron moving slowly over the fabric, mindful of the fact that this could easily catch fire.
(In case of an electrical fire, first unplug the appliance, then douse the fire. If the iron does not catch fire, simply put it aside and douse the fire by smothering it, thereby cutting off the oxygen it feeds on).

I took a good couple of minutes before I had any success with the fusing process and even then I was skeptical that it would last, but the fabric and the paper was fused. I would recommend using 100% cotton or linen of you were to try this. Also a thinner fabric seems to work better than a thicker one.

I was very careful to remove the fusion from the plank. I turned it upside down and trimmed the excess fabric away with sharp scissors.

I then found some lovely washi tape and  added it as a trim.

The project was finished and my surface prepared for whatever else I chose to do on it. Let me be quite honest. I still don't know if it will stand the test of time. I have my doubts. I also doubt that I would do this again, but you never know when knowledge like this comes in handy. What alternatives can I recommend? I would suggest you give your paper two layers of gesso letting it dry after each coating, which should only take minutes. I would then put my fabric down a piece at a time and decoupage it to the paper using acrylic gel medium. Odds are that the paper might curl at the edges. No problem. Let it dry completely. Once dry, put it on a hard surface, put a towel or cloth over it and simply iron it straight. It will recover beautifully.

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Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
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