Thursday, January 28, 2016

Fabric paper

Today I am sharing one of my textile techniques. It was invented (I think) by Beryl Taylor, an English textile artist. I have a couple of her books and magazine articles where she explains the technique so I wanted to give it a try.

I haven't followed her instructions exactly but it is basically the same. First you need to make your diluted glue mix.  I used 50% water and 50% white glue (pva) like Beryl's instructions stated. I have also tried Mod Podge with equal parts of water added and it worked the same way. I then experimented with textile paint diluted with 50% water too because I wanted to see if the finished paper would be softer to work with. I thought all the glues felt the same in the finished piece so just use what you have.

What I used: cream synthetic fabric, white tissue paper and wrapping paper.

 1. Starting with a piece of plain fabric I painted on the glue mix to saturate the fabric. You could use patterned fabric if you are trying to use up scraps because it will be covered by the paper layers anyway. Make sure you do this on plastic so that you can peel it off when the glue dries!

2. Then put on a layer of paper, pressing it into the glue and add more glue on top the saturate it. Beryl prefers to tear her papers into smaller pieces and lays them down without overlapping so it isn't too thick to stitch through. I wanted to see if you could use a whole piece of paper so I used some pretty wrapping paper.

3. The final layer is tissue paper. Simply press it onto the glued papers and if needed go over the top with another layer of glue. You need to be careful with this layer because once you wet the tissue it becomes fragile. You can scrunch the tissue first if you want more texture but for my piece I applied it flat. I found that some tissue paper was sturdier than others. Experiment with what you have first before doing a large piece. Leave it to dry for a while, I usually leave it overnight.

That is it. Now you have a piece of paper that can be stitched on either by hand or machine. It is very tough and yet still thin. You can see how the wrapping paper shows through the tissue, the colors are a lot softer than the original paper.

I used my experimental piece of paper to make this textile journal page. I machine stitched around the leaves and hand embroidered the rest of the paper. I mounted it onto a piece of textured Kunin felt that had been painted with metallic paint first. I think the fabric paper would also be good to use in collages in my art journal and want to experiment with that too. I will be able to stitch on it then glue it into a journal for added dimension. Stay tuned for those experiments...


  1. This looks amazing! Such a cool technique! Thanks for the explanation. I've looked up Beryl's book - it seems to be out of print now so the price has rocketed - I'll keep it on my wish list for now hoping to snatch it up one day at a more reasonable price.

    1. Thanks Zsuzsa. Beryl does a lot of articles for Cloth Paper Scissors magazine too. She has a video workshop with them. You can see a preview on YouTube if you search for her name and the "layer by layer" video. The 2 minute video is her fabric paper demo.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Toni. It is a little addictive but so much fun!

  3. So so pretty - I have long been a fan of Beryl's work and you have used the fabric paper to beautiful effect

  4. Very interesting post . . . I may have to try this.
    Thanks for the tutorial.