Basically, the smoother the fabric, the better your impressions and cuts will be.
Stamping on Fabric
You can use chunky stamps and acrylic paints to stamp on lots of fabrics, but I like using my regular stamps and inks, too.
Cotton made with fine, tightly woven fibers works great. You can stamp pretty fine lines on muslin:
More loosely woven fabrics, like burlap, don’t take the fine lines well but are pretty good with chunkier stamps:
I recommend testing any fabric before you embark on a project. I’ve had bad luck stamping
polyesters but good luck with cottons, including blends. I have stamped on twill tape, bias tape and
seam binding. It can help to put a sheet or two of craft foam under your fabric.
Again, the more tightly woven the fabric is, the better it cuts. I’ve had good luck with muslin and
even with satin and taffeta. Sometimes when you put fabrics through the diecutter, you will have little bits of fiber that did not get a clean cut. Don’t pull them. That can weaken the structure or make the weave crooked. Just trim the edges with small, sharp scissors.
When you try to use loosely woven fabrics in the diecutter, you may run into trouble. They don’t
have as much structure as the tightly woven fabrics and they tend to fall apart. So here is a trick for diecutting fabrics like burlap. Coat them with Mod Podge! The idea is to get enough Mod Podge on the piece to hold the fibers together even after cutting.
I like to use an old nonstick baking pan with shallow sides, like a jelly roll pan. I line it with waxed paper. You can use a nonstick craft sheet, but I like the waxed paper because I can throw away the sticky mess at the end. Just cut a small piece of your fabric and lay it in your pan or on your surface. I limit it to the size of the pan. Then use a foam paintbrush to apply Mod Podge (I like the matte finish) to one side and then the other. It helps to leave a dry edge to hold onto. You want to coat your fabric pretty thoroughly but it shouldn’t be dripping. Then I hang it up to dry with clothespins and old hangers. I found that if I let it dry on the pan, the Mod Podge pools up on the bottom and it looks terrible. I tried letting one side dry and then turning it over and applying Mod Podge to the other side, but that did not solve the problem. So the good news is that you can do both sides at the same time, but the bad news is that you have to find a place to hang it up while it dries. The other good news is that this frees up your pan so you can prepare quite a few pieces at the same time. If the piece is wide, it helps to put two or three clothespins on it so that it will dry relatively flat. I tried this with all-purpose glue, and it did work, but the glue pooled up even more and the piece was brittle when it dried.
Here is a piece of coated burlap drying:
As you can see, I stamped a design on the burlap before I coated it with Mod Podge. You can also
stamp over the Mod Podge, but the look is a little different. The chunkier stamp still makes the best impression:
First, stamped burlap:
Regular dies can cut lots of types of woven fabrics, but I do recommend trying a sample before you embark on a project. Regular Sizzix dies do a fine job of cutting stiffened burlap, and so do the Spellbinders wafer-thin dies, but the Sizzlits do not work. All of them, including the Sizzlits, will cut stiffened cheesecloth.
Tomorrow’s post features a project using stamped and diecut cheesecloth. I hope you will join me again!