This Wrap Scrap Project: Fabric Collage tutorial was written by Alison of WinterGirlWolf Arts. Making pictures out of wrap scraps is a therapeutic hobby that she started during lockdown. You can see all of her past creations at @wintergirlwolf on Instagram, and Wintergirlwolf Art on Facebook . She doesn’t currently have a shop, but she does occasionally sell her art when her workspace gets too cluttered!
Here is her advice for making your own beautiful collage artworks.
You will need:
- One 30cm cake drum/board (used one is fine too!) or old art canvas/painting. You are looking for a thicker cake board (about 10mm) if you want to stick badges on it for display.
- 1 tacky PVA craft glue – good quality. Starts white and dries clear within half an hour. Lots of arts and crafts stores sell this, however some basic kids PVA craft glues are pretty much the same and will do the job.
- Flat piece of plastic/card to spread glue or glue spreader.
- 1 pair of larger fabric shears, and a set of small sharp scissors for thread snipping (but work with what you have of course!) Woven fabric scraps
- Seed or bugle beads (optional) and tweezers to position
- Plate stand or plate hanger for display
The first stage is to prepare the fabric you want to use.
The easiest design is simple stripes layered horizontally – select your favourite scraps and cut strips approx. 1.5cm in width (any thinner tends to fray and fall apart, especially looser weaves) and a no more than 30cm long. However, if you are using fabric with iron on interfacing on the back (say left over from another craft project) you can cut smaller and thinner pieces.
You can cut at pretty much any angle on fabric, but if you cut on the horizonal/weft or vertical/warp, you can always remove a few threads and create a neater “fringe” effect. You could cut wider strips to show off a particularly nice bit of pattern. For looser woven fabrics, cutting on the bias can look a bit messy so be aware. Cut with the larger fabric shears to create a smooth edge.
Lay out the fabric strips on the table
Lay out the fabric strips on the table and re-order them into the arrangement you want. You want to be aware of how each coloured strip looks next to each other, and then step away for a few feet and get a perspective from a distance (if you have ever done a painting/art class you may have had this drilled to you!)
When you are ready to proceed attaching fabric
get your cake board/canvas. For a brand new cakeboard, I use the white paper “back” to glue fabric on with the metallic side being the back. For older cakeboards, the paper covering can usually be peeled off before proceeding. For a used scratched cakeboard, I wash any residual crumbs, and peel off the damaged scored foil on top, exposing the underneath. This new exposed side is your canvas.
Starting to glue your collage
Get your cakeboard laid flat and spread a thin layer (using a spreader for even coverage) covering a 3 cm strip from the top edge. Carefully lay out your first layers, leaving 5mm over hanging the edge to be trimmed later. You will have the strips slightly overlapping, like roof shingles (artistically I quite like rotating the picture to show off the fabric edges, having the “shingles” upside down effectively but its your call!). The glue takes about 30mins to dry and is re-positionable for about 10 minutes. Work your way down applying the fabric strips. Don’t worry too much about glue stains – fispi fabric is generally thick enough it doesn’t soak through – although other thinner woven fabrics (especially silk blends) may be prone to being marked by glue from fingers. Please note for glueing 50% woolly scraps you may need more glue as the lanolin in the wool makes then a little resistant sometimes!
Leave to dry
Once dry, use shears to trim overhanging fabric from the edge of the picture in a neat straight line. Then use your small sharp scissors to tidy any loose threads of untidy sections with more precision
Option decoration stage
You can look at your design and at this stage and add lines of bugle or seed beads as embellishment, to emphasize parts of the design. Bugle beads are easier for doing lines and seed bead for sections, for example sand on a beach, the centre or a sunflower. Simply apply glue then beads, using tweezers to position if necessary. You can thread beads in advance of necessary.
To display, I recommend a 30cm clear plastic plate stand or 30 cm plate hanger.
Tips and alternative design ideas
- With a thicker cake board, you can use it as a colourful way to display all your pin badges lurking in your jewellery box (including an Firespiral ones you have).
- Work with a circular cake board and cut wedges like a clock face. In this example, I have used hot glue from glue gun (for extra strength) to attach a smaller cake board 15cm wide as a feature. If you were feeling ambitious, an MDF board with a drilled whole can have a clock mechanism fitted to it…
- For landscapes: select an appropriate sky in blue or black. I used glued diamante as stars for night. Getting perspective is tricky – remember the art rules you are looking for paler colours and bluer tones for the more distant the horizon layer. This is where I find bead embellishment helpful to draw emphasis to details in the foreground, for example framing a tree trunk.
- Not to be obvious, but remember it doesn’t have to be horizontal stripes! Vertical, diagonal, waves like the sea. You can draw a design to follow on a cake board in advance.
***Important note*** remember when your piece is finished and you want to display it, given that its fabric and PVA glue it is probably not ideal for display in high humidity environments like bathrooms and kitchens.
Also bear in mind that unless framed with UV resistant glass the fabric will fade in direct sunlight eventually.
We sell cloth for crafting by the half metre, in lengths from as little as 50cm. We also sell mystery scrap and cloth packs if you want a mixed bargain of exciting bits and pieces to work with!