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Paper/Fabric ATCs

29 Mar 2006

My latest obsession—experimenting with paper and stitch
© Patricia Bolton

Two weeks ago, I committed to making more than 200 ATCs for Spring Quilt Festival/Chicago next week (what was I thinking?!), so I’ve been in my studio late at night experimenting with loads of techniques. Here’s a fun way to stitch on paper/felt backgrounds:

Note: John and I are actually away from home at the moment attending a publishing summit in Chicago, so if I misspelled some of the items and colors (I can never spell quinacridone correctly), mea culpa!


Kunin felt
Scrapbook papers
White tissue paper
Decorative tissue papers (sewing patterns, gift wrap tissue with floral designs or writing are my favorites)
Acrylic gel medium (regular matte)
Coloring agents of choice (I use watercolor paints, fluid acrylics, water-soluble crayons, oil pastels, Tim Holtz “Distress” ink pads)
Staz-On ink in black or other black rubberstamping ink (I prefer Staz-On because it dries instantly)
Rubberstamps and/ or stencils (for stamps I like ones with script text and chunky designs)
Golden acrylic glaze in yellow or quinacridone nickel azo gold
Lumiere paints
Heat gun
Rotary cutter, ruler, mat
Sewing machine and threads
Embellishments (beads, buttons, ephemera)

1. Cut a sheet of WonderUnder® to size of Kunin felt (9” x 12”)
2. Set iron to cotton setting and iron the WonderUnder® to the Kunin felt. Peel off the paper backing.
3. Cut the white tissue paper to 9” x 12” and iron to the WonderUnder®/felt piece.
4. Tear bits of scrapbook papers, and with gel medium, cover the white tissue paper. Go ahead and glop the gel medium onto each piece.  (The gel medium that seeps through the edges of the scrapbook papers will act as a resist when it comes time to color.)
5. Tear bits of decorative tissue papers and sewing patterns and place on top of the scrapbook papers for a more complex look. Juxtaposing floral designs and straight, architectural lines from the sewing patterns will produce some really interesting effects.

6. Take your black rubberstamping ink and favorite rubber stamps and randomly stamp.Raw_with_stamps

7. Now the fun part: Take your coloring agents and color the background, then take either yellow fluid acrylic or quinacridone nickel azo gold and paint in various areas on top. (The resulting mix of colors will amaze you.)Diamond_background


8. Heat set with a heat gun.

9. Take your chunky stamps or stencils and randomly add more designs with Lumiere paint.

10. With your rotary cutter, mat, and ruler, cut the felt into 2.5” x 3.5” pieces. Usually the felt will yield 9 ATCs.


Options for embellishing the paper/fabric ATCs:

• Rubberstamp images on hand-dyed fabric, cut out, then machine stitch on top.
• Cut geometric shapes from fabrics then stitch to the ATC for an abstract design.
• Accent the background elements with free-motion stitching.

So many options… have fun!

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Vicki in Michigan wrote
on 30 Mar 2006 8:23 AM
I'm thinking about doing all this in a hotel room -- could one heat-set (step 8) with an iron? You are getting some really cool effects. I have been knitting lately -- you are making me itch to get back to fabric and paper. :-)
Lesley wrote
on 30 Mar 2006 12:26 PM
Pokey - Those backgrounds are amazing. I can't wait to try this.
Lesley wrote
on 30 Mar 2006 12:26 PM
Pokey - Those backgrounds are amazing. I can't wait to try this.
sue b wrote
on 30 Mar 2006 3:29 PM
too cool ! I've been itching to work with kunin felt I bought months ago and you've given me a perfect project to start with !
andy "the babycub" wrote
on 1 Apr 2006 9:03 AM
Fantastically gorgeous and inspirational. In fact I find this with everything in Cloth, Paper, Scissors: it's streets ahead of any art or craft magazines we have here in the Uk which are so centered on plugging manufacturers products rather than plugging enthusiasm, experience and knowledge.
Patricia Bolton wrote
on 1 Apr 2006 2:29 PM
Vicki, I'd be a little leery of heat setting with an iron, only because you'd probably smear the paint and inks if they weren't competely dry. I think you might have better luck using the hotel hair dryer! Have fun... Patricia
taska wrote
on 9 Apr 2006 9:28 PM
I've seen kunin felt mentioned in other places and I am still unsure what it is. Is kunin felt the same thing as the craft poly felt you can find at Michael's -in bright colors? Thanks, Taska
Patricia Bolton wrote
on 14 Apr 2006 12:54 PM
Taska, I hope I'm not too late in responding and you see this message. How you can check if it's indeed Kunin felt, is look on the little sticker with the UPC code on the back. It usually says Rainbow felt, Kunin Manufacturing. I usually only buy Kunin felt in white and black (mostly black) because they burn well, and they can both be colored with acrylic paints of choice. Hope this helps!
Dena wrote
on 12 May 2006 1:02 PM