Upcycled Decorator Fabric Bowls

I love making useful things out of my artwork. When I started printing my own photos and designs onto fabric it opened up a universe of options to use the material — for scarves, sachets, pillows, and so much more! One of my favorite things to make with my fabric is bowls and vases.

Fabric bowl

If you’re clever enough to come up with your own patterns I’m envious, but I need some direction, and this C&T Publishing book was perfect: Fast, Fun & Easy Fabric Vases by Linda Johansen. I also love her book Fast, Fun & Easy Fabric BowlsThat one’s out of print but C&T sells it as an ebook or you can find it used. These are two of the first vases I made using a pattern in Linda’s Vases book.

Fabric vases

When I scored a stash of amazingly beautiful fabric in decorator sample books at the Oakland Museum White Elephant sale I realized that the larger pieces would upcycle perfectly into bowls. If you’re in the Bay Area SCRAP-SF usually has a great supply of sample books at very reasonable prices. I’ve made three of the bowls so far from fabric I got out of one book. The fabric’s richly embossed and overstitched with divine floral patterns. I used a template for a 9 inch bowl with six leaves, the same one I used for the bowls in the first photo above. This is my current favorite, made from the gold-toned fabric.

Upcycled decorator fabric bowl

The red one is gorgeous too. Here’s the bottom. They’re easily reversible, all you have to do is push on the base and the bowls turn inside out.Upcycled fabric bowl red

The front of the red bowl.
Upcycled fabric bowl red

The easiest way to make these is to construct a sandwich with 2 pieces of fabric, good sides facing out, and slip between them a piece of thick stabilizer that’s fusible on both sides. Bond the sandwich by ironing to activate the adhesive. Place the template or pattern from Linda’s book on top, then mark around and cut. Depending on your template or pattern you may also have to mark the base.
Upcycled fabric bowl white

Sew up the bowl and you’re set! I double satin-stitch around each of the leaves and the base. Bowls are great gifts, perfect to hold keys and coins, dry food, beauty and bathroom items, at your bed side or on your vanity, etc.

Sorry,  I can’t find a link to show you the template I used for these because I bought it years ago, but click here if you want to see an example of one you can use to make a small basket.

Interested in upcycling?

This is my blog post about upcycling books into art.

In this one I talk about using upcycled fabric in an art hanging.

I show an envelope made from old paper in this post.

 

 

No Sew Fabric Postcards

I started making fabric postcards years ago because I didn’t have the sewing chops or time to make bed-sized quilts. Postcards are my way to make very small-scale art quilts with the added wonder that they’re mail-able! Click here to see my 2012 blog post about my fabric postcards. I had been collecting vintage postcards since I was a kid, and once I began to print my own photos and designs onto fabric it was a small hop to sew them into mixed-media fiber postcard form. Here’s an example, my self-portrait photo that I printed on cotton, then adorned with a bit of gauzy fabric and stitching around the design.

Fabric Postcard

Here’s another, my photo of an egret flying with random stitching around the design lines.

Egret soaring fabric postcard

For these fabric postcards I adhere the front to thick stabilizer and then add a backing. I designed this back by scanning the back of an old postcard in my collection, cleaning it up in Photoshop Elements, and adding my name and website.

Fabric postcard back

I print this back onto fabric and then sew the front/stabilizer/back together and edge the sandwich with a satin or zigzag stitch.

These mini-quilt postcards are so much fun to make – but I recently came up with a much quicker no-sew version. I use the same design for the back, but instead of printing onto fabric I print it onto paper cardstock. The front is fabric – I print a few of my postcard-sized designs onto a sheet of pre-treated cotton, then cut each out and run through my Xyron machine to back them with permanent adhesive.

Fabric postcards

You don’t have to use a Xyron, you can use glue or double-sided tape, or spray with adhesive. Then I bond them to the cardstock backs, using a bone folder to make sure they’re well-adhered so the edges won’t come apart during their trip through the mail.

Fabric postcards

I just checked with my local post office, and they said the normal postcard rate would apply: that’s .34 for delivery in the US and $1.15 internationally. Since the postcard rate in the US applies to cards up to 6 by 4.25 inches if you want to make them larger just use the current first-class letter rate, which is now .49.

Anna's hummingbird fabric postcard

Interested in learning how to make the mini-quilt type of fabric postcards? Click here to see a free preview of my online class on CraftArtEdu, “Fabulous Fabric Postcards.”

Want to learn how to print your own fabric? Click here to find out more my ebook, Inkjet Printing on Fabric.

Transfer This! Free Workshop at Flax Art

I’m beyond excited that Flax Art & Design, the fabulous art store in San Francisco, is having me put on a free workshop demonstrating my favorite products, Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) and Lutradur!

I’ve told you about both products in many blog posts (see my list below). TAP is my go-to heat transfer paper, the best I’ve ever used. TAP allows you to easily transfer crisp, colorfast and washable images to almost any surface with your household iron. You can inkjet print, paint, stamp, or draw images onto TAP for a variety of amazing effects.

Owl wooden box

Lutradur, which I’ve also written extensively about, is a spun-bonded polyester that combines the best qualities of fabric and paper. It’s a fantastic medium for mixed media as well as for artists looking to add a new level of texture to their work.

Lutradur butterfly hanging

I’m a demonstrator and teacher for C&T Publishing,makers of TAP and Lutradur. In this free 2-hour lecture/demo at Flax, I’ll show you the entire process – from creating an image on TAP to successfully transferring it to Lutradur. I’ll bring a wide variety of samples to show you the endless potential that these two products make possible, and to spark your creativity and imagination.

Lutradur and TAP butterfly window hanging

The free workshop is March 15th, from 1 to 3 pm. Space is limited, so sign up today to reserve your spot! Call Flax Art & Design at 415.552.2355, or click here to sign up online.

Want to know more?

Check out my book: Inkjet Printing on Lutradur.

CraftArtEdu class: Inkjet Printing on Lutradur.

CraftArtEdu class about using TAP and other heat transfers onto wood.

And here’s a list of my blog posts about Lutradur and TAP:

Egret in flight lutradur art quilt

Transfer artist paper on lutradur

Photos on wooden boxes

Evolon and Transfer Artist Paper

Transfer Artist Paper on cotton

Digital collage on art board

Image Transfer to Wood

More on lutradur, Digital Ground and TAP

Wingspread Mixed-Media Art Doll

Printing with Golden’s Digital Grounds on Lutradur

Butterfly Bliss mini-art hanging

Evolon cuff bracelet. Part 2: Printing and sewing

Last week I told you about the Evolon cuff bracelet I made using my blended digital photo collage. This was the file:

Julia butterfly cuff sheet

And this is what came out of the printer:

Cuff print

You might be shocked at the difference, but I was actually pleasantly surprised. When you print on an untreated surface, as opposed to one treated to optimize inkjet printing, you’ll see major differences – the colors aren’t as saturated, and they may even shift, and the resolution (line sharpness) isn’t as good. Think of the difference when you print a photo on untreated computer printer paper, compared to one you print on good quality photo paper.

The untreated Evolon turned out better than I expected. The colors were definitely muted, and the lines were not as sharp as the original. In contrast though, I’ve found printing on untreated Lutradur much inferior to the results I get when I treat it with Digital Ground or inkAID. On untreated Lutradur, the colors are vastly reduced in saturation and the resolution is extremely poor. I’ve also found that the ink on untreated Lutradur remains wet for quite a while, so it will smear if you need to use the print right away.

Anyway, I thought that the way the print turned out would be fine for my purposes. I cut out one of the cuffs, and as I handled it I was happy to find that the ink didn’t smear at all. I cut out two more pieces of fabric, one for the center, a stiffish beige patterned print from a home decor book that I bought at Scrap-SF (yay upcycling!), and a piece of black velvet for the back. I decided to leave all of the edges unfinished, isn’t the shabby chic look much easier, not having to bother with seam allowances and such? I did a zigzag stitch to tack the print to the beige fabric.

Evolon cuff bracelet

From my collection of buttons (mostly courtesy of my mom and estate sales), I picked a flat mother-of-pearl, and stitched thick elastic between the fabrics to attach to the button. I used two different kinds of lace around the edges, one was flat vintage lace from a garage sale, and the other some newer curly lace.

Cuff bracelet lace I stitched two different kinds of pearls and some gold-toned beads to parts of the cuff. These are small flat pearls.

Cuff bracelet pearlsAnd these are round pearls and the beads.

Cuff detail

After I finished all of the construction and adornment, I stitched the black velvet to the back, for that rich luxurious feeling only velvet has.

Evolon cuff braceletI was sad to have to send the bracelet off, and now I’m really glad I printed the second piece and I’m heading down to the studio to make another one!

Stay tuned for my further experiments with Evolon, I’m really inspired by this wonderful material.