As I explore the possibilities of surface design, one of the things I’ve noticed is that you can use paint, foil, dye, and so on to make your fiber art look like it has appliqué quilt designs.
One of the easiest ways to apply this faux quilting appliqué technique is with a stencil. You can make your own stencil with freezer paper or clear acetate or purchase one of the many new, reusable stencils on the market.
Stephanie Forsyth uses stencils to create shapes for foiling. The foil shapes can be used to appliqué quilts directly, or applied to metal sheeting, as shown at left, from the August/September 2011 issue of Quilting Arts.
Judy Coates Perez often uses stencils and discharge dyeing solution (such as deColourant®) to create a faux appliqué design.
Here’s how to appliqué the faux way using freezer paper stencils, from Judy Coates Perez’s article in the February/March 2012 issue of Quilting Arts.
1. Draw a design on freezer paper and then cut out the design using a craft knife and cutting mat. Retain the cut-away paper from the inside of the design to create a second reverse image.
2. Iron the freezer paper to the fabric. Using a foam brush, apply deColourant paste to your fabric in the desired areas. Let dry and heat with an iron.
TIP: To create multiple identical stencils, stack several sheets of freezer paper and cut through all layers at the same time. If removed carefully, freezer paper stencils can be used 3-4 times.
3. Create a reverse image using the freezer paper that was cut away from the inside of your design. Iron the stencil to a piece of fabric and mist the background with deColourant spray or brush a variety of colors across the background. You can also try misting a light spray of deColourant over a dried clear-painted stencil image.
TIP: When using the spray with freezer paper or plastic stencils, be careful you don’t over saturate the fabric, or the design will not have a crisp edge.
Stenciling appliqué designs looks to me like a fun and easy way to delve into surface design. I think to start, I might use some of the beautiful and interesting stencils coming on the market. They range from Op Art-style bubble shapes to swirls and curlicues to images like trees and clouds. Then branch out into my own designs—no doubt involving a bird or two!
P.S. What do you think of “faux” appliqué? What kind of appliqué quilts have you done? Fused? Needle-turned? Add your comment below.