Back in the 1980s, it was all the rage to stiffen strips of large-print floral fabrics (usually mauve) into bows to dress up wicker baskets. While that decorating look has come and gone, it’s still fun to stiffen fabric, especially if you are a crafter
who likes to get her hands a little messy once in a while. Stiffened fabric has a wonderful paper-like quality making it an interesting textured background for your quilling projects. The key is to keep it flat as it dries. The stiffened fabric can be easily trimmed to size using your paper cutter and simple folds are possible.
To create stiffened fabric you will need:
fabric (I have found that thin cottons or cotton blends work best)
fabric stiffener (I used Stiffy by Plaid Enterprises, but there are several on the market)
throw-away plate or container to hold the fabric stiffener
heavy plastic to protect your work surface (I used a transparency sheet and it worked like a charm. If the plastic is too light weight, like plastic wrap, it will wrinkle under the fabric as you apply the stiffener)
Now that you have assembled your supplies, let’s get started. 1. Cut a piece of fabric (smaller than the plastic) and place it right-side up on your work surface. 2. Pour some of the stiffener into your container. 3. Using the foam brush, apply the stiffener to the fabric starting in the center and working your way to the edges, being sure to keep the fabric flat. You want to make sure that the fabric is totally saturated with the stiffener, but not gloppy. 4. Pour the excess stiffener back into the bottle, discard the brush and container (or wash them for the next time).
That’s it. Now just kick back while the stiffener dries. Depending on how much stiffener you used and how large your piece of fabric is, it might take 30 minutes or longer. This process can be hurried along with a hairdryer.
If your new fabric paper is a bit wrinkled, I found that it can be ironed flat. Use an iron setting appropriate for the fabric used (cotton or cotton blend) and do not use steam. Be sure to protect your ironing board surface and iron by using a dry pressing cloth over and under the dry stiffened fabric (a piece of the cloth you haven’t applied stiffener to works well).
One word of warning — do not get the stiffened fabric wet. It will turn limp like, well, fabric.
The fabric “paper” I made accents this colorful birthday card. I used a dry adhesive to attach the stiffened fabric to the paper surface of the card. The small amount of regular glue I used to attach the quilled
coils directly onto the stiffened fabric caused no problems at all. I repeated the circle theme with a silver paper clip bought in a set from the Dollar store. Small silver half-pearls embellish the upper left-hand corner of the card.
Quilling Tip: The fun swirly doodle designed fabric was some that I had in my stash, but this would be a great way to recycle fabric from old clothing too worn to give to charity.