Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tutorial - Foiling Fabric

I needed to create a moon for an art quilt I'm currently working on. I wanted something that really glimmered and shone but still had some texture. After toying a few different ideas (lumiere paint, tyvek, lutrador, angelina layers, textiva, glass organza, rainbow shimmer chiffon etc etc) I decided to use some silver glitter white cotton layered with some jones tones foil.

The foil is washable and can be put down in a few ways. I used heat and bond fusible web to get a flat even coverage.

Here's how:

1. You will need: Non stick baking paper, backing fabric, jones tones foil (from spotlight or speciality art / craft / textile stores), fusible web, scissors and an iron.

2. Layer your backing fabric (right side up), and fusible web (paper side up) between baking paper. Iron to fuse the web to the fabric. Use the dry setting on your iron.

I used a heavier weight fusible web as I didn't want any areas without foil. A lighter weight like misty fuse or vliesofix will only have the foil adhere to the lines of web. This can give a nice effect but wasn't what I wanted for this.


3. When cool peel off the backing paper. This will have given the fabric a very shiny laminated type effect that can be useful in itself. However we're going to use this to adhere the foil to.

4. Place the foil, shiny side up on top of the web covered fabric. Still work between baking paper to protect the iron and quickly press to glue to the web. Be careful not to iron for very long as you will change the foils texture and lessen its iridescence.

5. When cool peel off the shiny cellophane top layer from the foil. The foil itself should have stuck firmly to the web. If it hasn't you may need a little more heat from the iron.

6. Trace the design you wish to cut from your newly foiled cloth onto it's back. I used a water soluble marker in case it showed through on the edges, but a light line with a grey lead should work fine too.

7. Ta Dah! One moon. I attached mine to the quilt with Vliesofix before stitching. I kept heat on for longer then i should have when ironing this directly to the foil and you can see the change in texture. Since the irridescence is still intact and I was aiming to add texture with stitching anyway I decided it actually worked well for what I wanted. You can see how it differs from the original foiling as I have placed a piece of that to the left of the moon.  I've used a holographic silver thread for the freemotion quilting.

You can also foil by layering it on top of bonding powder for a glittery effect or rubbing it over dry glue like Jones Tones Plexi glue for a 3D raised effect. Share


  1. Neroli, that was the best description of foiling. Will give it a go. Love your moon. Cheers Jenni

  2. Just had a question on fusible web - it's basically a sheet of glue that looks like a web in it's finer versions (like Misty Fuse) through to a sheet of clear plastic in it's thicker ones (Heat and Bond). The middle weight I commonly used is called Vliesofix.

    Most fusible webs have a non stick silicone coated paper on one side that allows you draw the shape or pattern you wish to cut.

    The glue side (the web) only becomes sticky with heat - so you can iron it to fabrics (the wrong side of fabric), cut out the shape you want and then peel the backing paper off. The fabric doesn't feel sticky even with this web on it and you can then position that onto your quilt, top or whatever you want and iron it to permanently bond it in place.

    Most fusible webs will need to have stitching done around the edge of shapes if you want them to remain secure for machine washing, however there are various ones around now that don't. So you can make appliques for T-shirts or whatever without any sewing at all.

    Fusible web is what i've used in all my patterns, so anyone can do them, even if you don't sew. All you need is to be able to trace, cut and iron and you're set :)