A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Creating Texture with Mixed Media and Fun Bits - part 2

I just feel that now I need to clarify something. This week is not a heavy tutorial week. I might refer to other tutorial posts I've done on this blog (I mean, why repeat them, right?) My main goal is to get people to think outside the usual "box" and begin to see all kinds of things as possibilities for their art.

One question I often get is just how to attach some of the bits and things to the fabric pieces. Well, that is a long answer. To be totally vague....that depends!  Below are some of the techniques that I use. If you have others, please let me know and I will add them to the list on Friday.

Stitching - There are many things you can attach just by stitching. For example, just about any small object that has a hole through it. Or sometimes you can stitch across an object if it is flat enough and can be contained by hand stitches.  Here are a few examples:

This is a piece that will be put into a larger piece someday. It is in my head...just not on the design wall yet.

There are several examples of stitching in this small piece. The heart is a special set that I got at an office supply store. It is stitched down at the point and where the two swirls meet. For this I just used several stitches with my regular thread. The bit of card that describes the photo is contained in a fabric pocket that is hand stitched on. The metal label that says "Reflections" is also hand stitched to attach it. 

The watch part I chose is rather large and a bit heavy. Too heavy to rely on just stitching. It is glued on (more about gluing later) But if you look closely, I used the small holes in the bit to also stitch in on for extra security.

Another example of attaching bits involves stitching but also something a bit more unexpected. This piece will also be in the larger one with the piece above....someday.

As you can see, I used a decorative stitch on my machine to attach the "road" and a zig-zag stitch to attach the patch. Nothing new about that. But in this close-up you will see how I attached the keys.  I stitched on a belly button ring which held the keys. 

I have also stitched with wire. I unwound a piece of picture hanging wire and with one of the "threads" I stitched a watch mainspring onto this piece. Regular thread kept getting frayed and cut. And that thin wire is barely visible even up close. I used a needle nose pliers to pull the needle through.

Adhesives - There are several ways to use adhesives and many different ones on the market. Here are three that are my "go-to" adhesives for all my art pieces. The glue sticks I use often to position fabrics to keep them in place until I take the piece to the sewing machine. Of these three, perhaps my most favorite is the E6000. It will hold just about anything to anything. 

The motocycle above was attached with the Super77 (and I have used several other brands of permanent spray adhesive with great success) But for heavier bits, like the watch part in the first set above, E6000 is a wonder. The watch gears in the "Spring Forward" piece above were all glued carefully with E6000. (I am not paid or in any other way compensated by the makers of E6000 or any other product I mention in this blog.) I just love the stuff!!

The motorcycle charm was glued on with E6000 with no stitching involved.

And just an extra note....if by any chance you happen to be very tired and in a hurry and attach something in the wrong place (not like I would personally know anything about this  ;-)) with some patience and delicacy, it can be removed with those products like goo-gone, etc. It just takes a bit of time and there was no residue remaining. 

I often use the Super77 and similar spray adhesives when I have a delicate piece to attach...like a skeleton leaf.  I place the leaf in the spray box and lightly spray it. After you attach it to the piece, let it dry thoroughly as the adhesive will still be active through the leaf for a bit. (The gar scales were attached with E6000)

Capturing - Another way to add fun bits to your piece is to capture them. This involves stitches or sheer fabrics mostly.  This is where objects are not actually stitched through or adhered to the piece but rather captured by something else that is. Here are a couple of examples on a piece that has been finished just yesterday. Both types of capturing are used in this piece. It's just not bound yet because I'm not sure what I want to do...but the piece is completed otherwise.

These are capiz shell discs that are captured by random stitches. They are too fragile to punch a hole through but these stitches hold them in place very well. To keep the stitching from showing on the back of the quilt, I take care to keep my needle moving from one place to another in the batting level of the quilt.

I found out that real starfish are VERY fragile! But I wanted them in this piece. I used a piece of sheer with some large glitter bits and hand stitched it on three sides over a rectangle that was already on the piece. I then VERY CAREFULLY scooted the starfish into position and hand stitched the sheer down between then to form little pockets for each individual starfish. Gluing them into place would not have worked well since they are not absolutely flat. I like having them "free" inside the pocket but still protected from snagging, etc.  (I'm not sure these little guys would have survived anywhere near a sewing machine.)

Hope you enjoyed these examples of adding fun bits to your art works.

Have you found any interesting things to photograph that you plan to or have attached to your pieces? OR...do you have some examples of ways to attach bits to your art work? Don't forget to send them to me!  Kelly@KellyLHendrickson.com


  1. I recently found your blog and love, love the inspiration! The name caught my eye ( and then we set it on fire) I started looking around and I was hooked! :)

  2. I've been meaning to thank you for all the fantastic outside the box ideas. So, thank you. I love all the "I hadn't thought of that" ideas your posts have sparked for me. The only halfway different attachment I've tried is machine stitching heavy paper and mylar to a quilt. With a longer than usual stitch length this seems to work fine.

  3. You can use gel medium as a kind of glue as well. Another way of keeping stuff together is using resin. Metal rings can be used to keep separate pieces together as well.

  4. These are terrific ideas! thanks Luv the wire and the capturing!

  5. Welcome, Mrs. C! That is exactly how I first got involved here! Glad to have you join us!
    Thanks, Snarky and Wil for additional options for attaching fun bits!
    Thanks Elle! Glad you enjoyed the ideas!


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