Idea #45: Fun with Fabric

Art quilting is a fun craft that can grow into a satisfying hobby. Here’s a quick how-to!

Materials: paper, fabric scraps, fusible webbing (&/or glue sticks, optional). Tools: pencil & colored pencils, fabric scissors, iron & nonstick mat, sewing machine (or can hand-stitch). Materials cost: $20 to $100 or more depending on your access to fabric scraps. Time: five or more hours of “painting” with fabric.

  1. Plan it out. Look at images, anything you like. Choose one idea. Play with sketching it out on blank or graph paper to grid out where colors will go. Pick out fabric scraps of various colors, I like batiks but it all works. A base piece of 14” square fabric makes a good background, your blank canvas for “painting” with fabric.

2. Set it up – Lay out your fabric palette for what you’ll need. Pre-cut small to medium chunks of fusible webbing and match to the colored fabric scraps for amounts of each color. Iron the webbing to the backs of each. Grab your pencil and trace the bits you want onto the paper portion of the webbing.

3. Cut & place – Use your fabric scissors to “fussy cut” along your pencil lines, leaving the paper of the fusible attached. Test-fit on your background, like puzzle pieces. Leaving background showing or overlapping pieces is fine. When you like where things are placed, peel off the paper and iron them down to glue in place.

4. Iron down – Fusible webbing will hold your design in place. Later, stitching everything down with batting will add thickness and dimension. It’s art, so anything goes. Hand-stitch shiny buttons or beads for even more “pop” if you like.

5. Art quilt example – This frog, tree and sunset landscape is my first art quilt, finished recently. Subject matter is up to you. Landscapes are popular, but you can create a space scene, a portrait, or something abstract; anything! Think of it as painting with fabric.

Bonus images – part of a triptych of outer space images I’m working on for a future wall hanging.

Special thanks to my wife, and to Jason Cromwell (who taught me how to do this), and also to Annie’s Quilt Shoppe.

See the display in at 3rd & Cota St. in Shelton, WA or visit for more crafty ideas to try at home!

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: