Jill Kennedy’s Instructions for Making Embellishments

22 May 2009
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Use any or all of these methods to create unique embellishments for your fiber art. Combine them with your favorite embellishments to make each piece your own.

Textile Technique Book

Don't miss Jill's “Textile Technique Book” article on page 50 of the December 2010/January 2011 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine, where she shares her technique for creating your own book to house your fiber art experiments.

Floral Gift Tags

To see Jill's approach to making gift tags, check out her article “Floral Gift Tags” in the November/December 2009 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors.

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Carolyn L. wrote
on 30 May 2009 3:05 PM

I am excited to try your techniques.  I do have a couple of questions.  First do you mean Crayola (child) type wax crayons or something like watersoluble Neocolor type crayons? OR in the interest of experimentation does it matter?  Can any type paper be used as a base so long as a needle will go through it eventually?  With construction paper there are colorfast concerns. It fades with exposure to strong light.  Is this of concern?  This project captured my imagination!

on 2 Jun 2009 5:29 AM

Hello Carolyn, I'm glad it captured your imagination!  I use childrens wax crayons - nothing special.  If you use watersoluble ones you will not get a resist happening, only a softening of the colour crayon as the water dissolves it - there is little or no wax in watersoluble crayons.  I use construction paper as it holds up well to repeated stitching if it has been treated with a stabilizer and bonded paper to the front - also as the paper fabric is scrunched up, it softens up nicely.  Handmade paper works fine too as it usually has long fibres running through it and so is stronger than, say, computer printer paper.  As for colourfast concerns, by the time the paper is painted, crayoned, glued and stitched -any fading would not be that obvious and is not a concern, for me, anyway. (Remember to hang artwork away from direct sunlight). I guess more experimentation is on the cards to find other papers that will stand up to: water, heat, scrunching, and stitch!

Carolyn L. wrote
on 4 Jun 2009 11:03 AM

Thanks for the response.  I am going to try using some of my lighter weight drawing paper to try your technique.  Seems to me that beginning with white will give more color control. On the other hand, what is wrong with a little unpredictability?  of course watersoluble crayons won't be a good resist! DUH.....   Thanks again. I''ll let you know how the drawing paper works.

joylyn95125 wrote
on 8 Jun 2009 4:27 PM

thank you I am new and need insperation and tech.

Reens2 wrote
on 9 Jun 2009 10:17 AM

I am keen to try your techniques but the term 'construction paper' means nothing to we Brits.  We have something called 'lining paper' which you put on walls before painting them.  Obviously I can experiment with anything and everything but a quick description of construction paper might save me time.  I did a workshop a couple of years ago in which we scrunched up paper after having rubbed our hands in olive oil.  It is a Japanese techinque and softens the paper beautifully but you do have to watch out for the oil 'leaking' - I put mine between blotting paper to dry out.

on 14 Jun 2009 10:54 AM

Hello Reens and thank you for your comment.   We call construction paper, 'sugar paper' in Britain.  It's the sort of coloured paper which you find in childrens scrapbooks.  I have found this type of paper strong enough to stand up to the punishment I tend to put it through.  As it is also coloured, you can use this to your advantage.  Lining paper is also a good strong paper and will stand up well to wet mediums.  The Japanese technique you mention sounds great fun!  Enjoy your  experiments! Jill

Janet Ghio wrote
on 15 Jun 2009 4:37 PM

Hi Jill,

I thought your little quilts were fabulous--being the embellishment junkie that I am. I tried using Adirondack inks and they just don't work on construction paper, so I tried adirondack color washes and they are pretty good. Was there a certain kind of inks you used? I also found that crayolas -at least the box I had-didn't seem to be dark enough or heavy enough-not like I remember them from when I was a kid anyway. Oil pastels seemed to work pretty good. My papers are drying right now, so I will see what happens next.

mavis wright wrote
on 15 Jun 2009 10:00 PM

Hi Jill

Like the others I am intrigued with your little paper quilts and I'm keen to 'have a go' with the technique.  However I live in Central Australia and 'construction paper' means nothing to me and my resident American translator is at present in the USA on holiday.  I have coloured in some watercolour paper with Crayola crayons and have yet to paint them.  I don't have inks in the colour I want and thought I would try Brusho powder paints, do you think that would work?  Also the paper I have used might be a bit thick when it comes to the scrunching up stage.  I did try using the crayons on a piece of handmade paper I had made but the crayons were too hard and tore the paper, maybe oil pastels would be better as they are so soft.  Any advice woyld be gratefully received.

Cheers    Mavis

on 16 Jun 2009 11:50 AM

Hello Janet

It's great to hear that you are busy experimenting - do let me see your finished results :) 

In answer to your questions about inks and crayons, I used several different types of inks.  A water-resistant drawing ink available from Art Van Go, and Colourcraft and a concentrated water colour from Dr. Ph. Martins which you dilute with water.  I also used left-over fabric dye too.  With regards to the wax crayons, again I used both these and oil pastels.  Wax crayons do vary in quality, so do a small test piece first to find out which ones work best for the type of paper you intend using, before embarking on your main piece.

Good luck and happy playing!


on 16 Jun 2009 12:16 PM

Hi Mavis

Please see my reply to Reens above, about construction paper.  

I use inks over the crayon as they are transparent and let the colour of the crayon show through.  Brusho powder paints work fine too as long as you have laid down sufficient wax crayon on the paper to create a resist. You do not want to obliterate the colour of the crayon so bear this in mind when you mix up the Brusho powders.  Oil pastels or soft wax crayons will work fine on your own handmade paper - I imagine it is quite a delicate paper as you found using the crayons on it too hard. 

Watercolour paper comes in a variety of different thicknesses and finishes - It sounds as if, you may indeed, have a bit of difficulty scrunching up the paper if you have used one that is more like thin card.  You could try using handmade cotton rag paper as it is strong and will soften up easily.

Enjoy your experimenting! 

on 12 Jul 2009 4:30 PM



DebbieAnn wrote
on 5 Aug 2009 1:18 PM

Thank you for the instrucitons on making embellishments to add to our pieces.  Looking forward to trying these techniques.


Busylizzy wrote
on 12 Aug 2009 2:01 PM

I am in the UK and have just tried this technique. Is *wonderunder* the same as *bondaweb* ?

I used bondaweb and when I scrunched, the paper just stuck together in a big ball!!! It did occur to me that the scrunching isn't necessary at this stage because when you iron on the second bit of vileneafter re-assembling the cut pieces, it stiffens up again. Just a thought.

I have just spent an evening colouring more paper, so look forward to experimenting more. Look forward to hearing from you, thank you for an inspiring article,


on 14 Aug 2009 5:42 AM

Hello Elizabeth, bondaweb is the same as wonderunder - you need to leave the bondaweb to cool down after ironing it, to avoid it sticking to itself when you srunch up the paper.  Also, I tend to scrunch up the paper several times during the making process as I find this all helps to soften the fibres - but of course, you must work it the way you feel is right for you.  Glad to see you will be experimenting more - do let us see your results on the community. Happy stitching! :) Jill

Busylizzy wrote
on 14 Aug 2009 1:30 PM

Thanks for your reply Jill.My bondaweb was quite old so perhaps that was the problem. I have now got a huge pile of coloured papers with the vilene attached to play with this weekend. How and where do I post pictures?

If Carolyn L is reading - I experimented with the Neocolour aquarelle by rubbing a candle over afterwards to give the resist. It smudged the colour a bit but gave a really vibrant colour. Elizabeth

on 24 Aug 2009 2:06 PM

Elizabeth, if you click on Photo Galleries at the top of the page then click on upload (far right hand side of screen), you will then be able to upload your photos.  Hope this helps.  Looking forward to seeing them. Jill


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