Monday, 16 June 2008


We're a small group of textile artists, who met through the Australian Textile Art and Surface Design Association. This year we decided to get together regularly and explore different aspects of textile media. With this blog, we want to share all the fun things we discover.

Playing with Foils

Today Fibrecircle played with foiling onto fabric. We used fusible web, foiling glue, fusible thread, the hot glue gun and bonding powder. The foils were packs from The Thread Studio and Jones Tones foils from Spotlight. The Jones Tones foils say they do not need heat to transfer, just pressure & glue, but we found they were not very successful cold-foiled, and transferred much better with heat as well as pressure, so we used the iron with both types of foils.

First we played around with glues. We used a grey glue sold by Diane Groenewegen in her classes and a white foiling glue, just called Glue for Foiling, from Craft Depot. We tried painting the glue directly onto fabric, stencilling it through paper stencils cut with scrapbooking punches, stamping it with wooden stamps and drawing freehand using the applicator nozzle on the white glue. We also made patterns with the hot glue gun. We set these aside to dry and moved onto fusible web.

This one was done with a piece of fusible web, with straight strips of a type of hemming tape, marketed to quilters to adhere 1/4in seams, ironed onto the fabric. Fusible web gives a very strong transfer, which is fine for big patches of colour, or when the foil sheet is almost exhausted, but generally is a bit strong.

This sample was brushed with glue. This was acrylic fabric Nola had melted over a candle, with the top brushed lightly with the glue. Then a copper-coloured foil was ironed over the top, at a low heat.

These images were stencilled with glue using a stencil made with a scrapbooking punch. This was a scrap piece that had previously been painted and stamped. Nola made glue stencils of tiny leaves to foil. The stencils were not always very successful, perhaps because the stencils were so small, but they do look somewhat leaf-like.

There was quite a lot of difference between the various bonding media we used. The grey glue gave very clear stencils, though the second stencil was also from a punch, measuring about 1in square and with a lot of detail(second left bottom). The white foiling glue was not as clear when stencilled (first and third left bottom). Drawing with the white glue applicator (centre) was not very successful here. Using very fine bonding powder gave quite coarse results through the stencil (upper right) and some of the bonding powder adhered to the baking paper and retransferred when the foil was moved. The bonding powder was very hard to control for this kind of use.

However it's fine for general sparkle effects.

Nola had used the hot glue gun to draw a combination of thicker and spidery lines onto red velveteen. It was foiled with a gold iridescent foil. The hot glue gun took the foils extremely well but the glue didn't adhere to the red velveteen at all well. It would be possible to peel off at least part of the design. But it looks great, doesn't it? It would be fun to try the hot glue gun on baking paper and then foiling it - maybe you'd end up with free-standing elements that could be stitched to other work.

The hot glue gun glue took the foil so cleanly that there was a lovely negative shape left on the foil. It was attached to a deep blue, possibly silk fabric using fusible web. It also looks great! Much more exciting than it looks in the photo.