This post describes how I made the canvas shown above. My last post gave general tips for stamping and diecutting fabric, and you can read it here. These techniques are used in today’s project.
This post is actually my audition for the Sin City Scraps Design Team. If I am chosen for the team, I’ll get to create and share projects using the amazing stamps from Sin City Scraps!
If you’ve seen Donna’s stamps, you’ll know how much fun that will be. If you haven’t seen the Sin
City stamps, please go take a look here!
For today’s project, I used cheesecloth. It comes in a variety of weaves, but the one I like is woven closely enough that you can stamp on it in pretty fine detail:
I chose it for this project because I wanted my diecuts to have the texture of fabric and I had a piece I had dyed in a really pretty color. For instructions of cold water dyeing, see my dyeing tutorial here. If you want to use cheesecloth for this project but don’t want to buy the specialty dyeing supplies, you can use several other methods. You can use Kool-Aid, Rit dye, tea, coffee or ink. Here is a piece I dipped in different strengths of cherry Kool-Aid:
Most articles about dyeing with Kool-Aid will tell you it only works for animal fibers. But since you
aren’t going to wash it, it’s completely fine for most mixed media projects. I mixed unsweetened Kool-Aid powder with water and added a little vinegar to help the color set. The color will fade if you rinse the cheesecloth, even with the vinegar.
Here’s what you will need for today’s project:
Angel wing die
Die cutter and pads
Paper cutter (optional)
Nonstick baking sheet and waxed paper, or nonstick craft sheet
Canvas panel (mine is 6" x 8")
Cheesecloth or other fabric (you could use paper instead, but I like the texture of fabric)
Plain white paper
Chalk ink: yellow ochre, toffee, dark brown
Mod Podge (I like matte)
Gel Medium (optional; I like matte)
Ribbon for hanging (optional)
Cardstock to cover back of canvas
I wanted to stamp a pattern on my cheesecloth and then stiffen it with Mod Podge so I could put it through my diecutter. I tested it by applying some of the ink I wanted to use, to make sure my design would show up. This is chalk ink (toffee).
One thing I love about chalk ink is that you can heat set it with an iron, so you don’t have to wait for it to dry. And it won’t run when you put on the Mod Podge! So after I heat set the ink, I laid the cheesecloth in my nonstick baking pan lined with waxed paper, applied matte Mod Podge to both sides using a foam paintbrush, and hung the piece up to dry with clothespins on a hanger. Details about this method are in my post about stamping and diecutting fabric (here).
While the Mod Podge was drying, I prepared my canvas. I wanted a simple background so the wings would stand out. I used a cosmetic sponge to apply three colors of chalk ink to the canvas.
I dabbed the wedge of sponge on the ink pad and applied it to the canvas, starting at the edge and pulling it toward the center but not going all the way to the center, and worked my way around the edge. I started with yellow ochre:
Then I added toffee, pulling the sponge further in toward the center. Then I added a little bit of
dark brown at the edges:
The idea is to give the canvas an aged or distressed look, but I especially wanted very little color in the center because I wanted it to look as if light were shining from there.
Once the cheesecloth dried, I cut my wings. The die had two different wings. I chose the one on the left:
I wanted to have some control over which part of my stamped design ended up on my diecut, so I put a piece of white paper through the cutter and used the result as a window or stencil for placement:
I wanted to cut a piece of fabric that was just big enough, so I trimmed closely around the wing and then used that to cut the fabric. I wanted a piece of fabric that was just a little bigger than the wing,
because the die has two different wings and if I had put a larger piece of fabric through, the die would have cut out both wings and I might not have had enough fabric to make my second wing.
Now I had the fabric cut the way I wanted it, but it was almost impossible to see where to put it on the black foam of the die. So I laid the white cutout on the die, matching the outline of the wing.
Then that told me where to put the cheesecloth, and I left the white paper in place while I put the cloth through the cutter:
To make the first wing, I put the fabric right side up. Since the second wing is a mirror image of the first, I put the fabric wrong side down for the second wing. It may not have mattered much in this case, because the cheesecloth is close to transparent and the pattern I stamped isn’t really directional, but I wanted to be careful, in case it was noticeable. You would certainly want to do this for any fabric that is not the same on both sides.
I laid the wings on the canvas to check the spacing.
I knew I wanted to add a phrase, but I didn't want to stamp directly on the canvas. There’s nothing wrong with stamping right on the canvas. If your canvas has been primed, it will take stamping pretty well. If your canvas hasn’t been primed, you can coat it with gesso and let it dry before you ink or stamp it. I just didn’t want to stamp right onto the canvas because I was afraid I wouldn’t get a clean impression and then I’d have to start all over. I like to use this “indirect” method of stamping because I can stamp as many samples as I like and use whichever one looks best.
First, I stamped my phrase on a piece of the cheesecloth that had not been stiffened. I have a
magnetic alphabet stamp set that allows me to spell out whatever I want to say. I liked the color combination but the cheesecloth kept shifting and it looked crooked.
So I decided to stamp the phrase onto a stiffened piece of cheesecloth. I cut the stiffened cheesecloth with my rotary blade paper cutter, because I wanted a nice rectangle. Using a piece that had already been stamped gave a little more depth. I stamped the phrase on top of the dried Mod Podge with dark brown chalk ink. I don’t think you should try to heat set the fabric with Mod Podge on it, so you may have to be a little patient at this point. I used a cosmetic sponge to apply toffee chalk ink to the edges of the wings and the rectangle with the phrase, to give some definition and contrast. I also added a little more dark brown chalk ink around the edges of the canvas.
Then I applied matte gel medium where I wanted the wings and phrase, put them on the canvas and pressed down on them. Then I added a layer of gel medium all over the top of the diecuts, rectangle and canvas:
You can use Mod Podge here, but I like the gel medium. You can also use wax. When I use wax, I put a little under the diecut, apply my heat source (mini iron) on top of the diecut to melt the wax, then let it cool before adding wax all over the top of the diecut and canvas. Here's a little canvas with wax:
If you don’t want to display the canvas in an easel, you can add a hanger. I had a piece of seam binding that matched the cheesecloth I used, and I adhered it to the back of the canvas with gel medium:
Then I covered the back with a piece of cardstock and rolled my brayer over it to make sure it was glued down evenly (tip: I put a piece of plain white paper between my brayer and whatever I am smoothing over, just in case there’s stray ink or anything else on my brayer).
I hope you will try stamping and diecutting fabric. There is really no end to what you can do with these techniques! Please let me know if you have any questions!