Looking for an easy, no-stitch holiday decorating idea? Why not make fabric fortune cookies? They're a great way to use up those precious scraps of hand-dyed or commercial fabrics you can't bear to throw out, and you can slip artful wishes for the New Year inside them.
This past weekend, I made a handful to give out at an upcoming holiday dinner party I'm hosting, and found making them to be a fun, no-stitch decorating project that will personalize my dining room table.
I was inspired to make these fabric fortunes by the ones Andrea Shedletsky created for International Quilt Festival/Quilt Scene. All you need are fabric scraps, fabric stiffener, basic supplies like shears and fusible, and your fortunes or good wishes. Cut, fuse, fold, and stiffen.
You can tailor each wish or fortune to a specific person, using the "cookies" as place cards or scatter them on the table to make an interesting tablescape--and let the wishes fall where they may! They make great party favors.
I made my fortune cookies using fabrics I had dyed and printed. You can always use scraps of unaltered commercial fabrics. But if you want to make your fabric fortune cookies unique and just used up your last dyed and printed scrap, consider these altering alternatives:
Stamp. Simply take a piece of fabric and stamp over it randomly with a rubber stamp and ink (like StazOn®) or acrylic or fabric paint. Use a bold, chunky stamp rather than one that is finely cut, for best results.
Dye with paint. Fluid acrylics and Lumiere® metallic paints are good choices for dyeing small amounts of fabric, and the Lumiere will lend sparkle to your table design. Just water down the paint in a small container (not to be used for food) and submerge the fabric. Scrunching the fabric into the container will give the resulting fabric a mottled look. When you have the color you desire, rinse, let dry, and heat set.
Tea-dye. A great way to "age" fabric or subdue bright colors. Be sure to saturate the fabric with clear water before steeping.
Bleach it out. Use a bleach pen to remove color from the fabric, outlining parts of the existing design or making your own design over the original fabric. Be sure to wear gloves and protective eyewear and work in a well-ventilated area or wear a ventilator.
Use a sticker resist. Apply flexible stickers (circles, letters, etc.) onto your fabric, pressing firmly. Using fabric paints, brush or pounce your paint brush over the edges of the stickers and then brush over the surrounding surface. Let the paint dry completely, and then remove the stickers and heat set the fabric. (For full instructions on this method, see the December 2009/January 2010 issue of Quilting Arts.)
These are just a few ideas for altering your fabric to make these fortune cookies, if you desire. Or, just keep it simple. You can get the full directions for making these no-sew folded wonders in Quilt Scene.