How to Make Fused Fabric Flowers

Paint a canvas with dyed fabric in a flower design.
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Materials and Tools:

digital camera
computer
inkjet color printer
fiber reactive dyes
three 4-gallon buckets or plastic shoebox-size containers
3 glass jars with lids
measuring spoons
mixing spoons
measuring cups
microwave
100 percent white cotton fabric
urea
soda ash
warm water
old-fashioned hand-crank wringer
clothesline
washer and dryer
artist's canvas
fusible web for 100 percent cottons
rotary cutter
cutting mat
clear quilter's ruler
scissors
iron and ironing board
dust mask
safety glasses
rubber gloves
apron
picture-hanging hardware
black permanent marker

Steps:

1. Take digital photos of flowers.

2. Download the photos onto a computer and make an 8-by-10-inch print. Enlarge to about 20 by 20 inches in black and white at a copy store.

3. Pencil sketch the flowers onto a white piece of fabric 3 inches bigger than the artist's canvas.

4. Cut 100 percent white cotton into 36-by-44-inch pieces and soak in one cup of water for 15 minutes in 4-gallon buckets or shoebox-size plastic containers. There's no need to wring them out.

5. Wearing a mask or respirator, safety glasses, an apron and rubber gloves, mix dye solutions (desired colors of the background and flowers) of 2 to 4 tablespoons of powdered dyes with warm water (heated in the microwave to about 110 degrees F) and 2 tablespoons of urea in a glass jar with a lid. Stir until dissolved. Leave the gloves on. Take off the rest of the protective gear.

6. Pour the dye solution over the white fabric scrunched up in a ball in the plastic container and gently squeeze the dye into the fabric.

7. After 15 minutes, pour a soda-ash solution-9 tablespoons of soda ash to 1 gallon of water-over the fabric and dye. Over the next hour, gently squeeze and massage the fabric to incorporate the dye color all over the fabric so there's no white fabric showing.

8. Take the fabric out of the bucket and wring the excess dye out with an old-fashioned hand wringer attached to a sawhorse.

9. Hang the 36-by-44 cotton fabric on a clothesline until dry. Tip: Stretch the clothesline between two trees in the back yard.

10. Wash the fabrics in like-color families with synthrapol in the washing machine, and dry them in the dryer.

11. Choose the fabric for the background and the fabric colors for the flowers and leaves.

12. Rotary cut the fabric colors for the flowers and leaves into 2-inch strips. Iron the strips onto fusible web, placing them very close together. Peel away the backing.

13. Cut the petals and leaves freehand with a rotary cutter from the stripes, using greens for leaves and rose colors for the flowers. Cut the flower centers with scissors.

14. Arrange the leaves on the background fabric and iron them to fuse them to the background.

15. Arrange the flower petals on the white fabric with the sketched design created in step 3. Iron them onto the white background fabric, creating two large flowers. Cut out each flower and fuse the entire flower to the background fabric containing the leaves.

16. Staple this fabric onto the artist's canvas, wrapping it onto the sides and around to the back, making sure to cover the entire canvas, including the sides.

17. Attach the appropriate framed art hardware.

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