Haute Homemade: Printable fabric lets you make art from your computer
Sep 04, 2011 | 3577 views |  0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I am not an artist. Yes, I took art classes in college and I understand the basic concepts of composition, but when it comes to actual creation, I’m much better-suited to Photoshop and digital creations.

But I decided that I wasn’t going to let my lack of skill with a paintbrush (or pencil, oil pastel, etc.) stop me from making some art for my living room.

A while back, I received some samples of printable fabric from Blumenthal Craft. This PhotoFabric comes in a variety of flavors — cotton poplin, twill, silk and canvas — in 8.5x11 paper-backed sheets.

All you do is find an image you want to use, put a sheet of PhotoFabric in your inkjet printer and just print like you would any photo. Then peel off the paper backing, rinse it and your custom-printed fabric is done.

I wouldn’t use the fabric for anything that needs washing, because I don’t know how permanent the ink is. But for projects like mine, it worked perfectly.

I wanted something bright and punchy, so I decided to do a multi-panel pop art canvas in the style of the famous Beatles’ pop art poster. (In fact, this entire project was inspired by my singing “All You Need Is Love” while I was pregnant with my second child.)

I sifted through family photos, and chose the four that suited my needs. My original plan was to have all of us facing each other, but capturing a 2-month-old’s smile is hard enough, let alone a smile in the right direction, so I just went with the best I could get.

Creating the pop art effect took a bit of skill with Photoshop. The tutorial I used to create the photo art is available at www.melissaevans.com/tutorials.

I printed 8x8 photos on the canvas, using the “best” setting on the printer to get the most detail.

I used another sheet of the canvas for the white inside borders, sewed it all together and then embroidered “all you need is ♥ is all you need” in the center.

I then sewed 2-inch strips of white fabric around the perimeter of the art, so I would have extra fabric to stretch it over the frame.

To make the frame, I measured the length and width of the artwork and cut four pieces of 2x1 wood to fit. I used a miter saw to cut the ends of the wood at 45-degree angles, then glued and stapled the pieces together.

The next day (wood glue should set for 24 hours), I ironed the artwork, laid it flat on the table and centered the frame over it. Starting at the bottom center of the art, I pulled the canvas back and stapled it to the frame. I then stapled the top center of the art, then left center and right.

I continued stapling around the frame, pulling it evenly on opposite sides, and tucking the fabric to lie neatly in the corners. Staple generously to ensure that the canvas lies flat. Then just clip any excess fabric and the art is done.

The possibilities for using the PhotoFabric are almost endless — as long as it’s not something to be worn or washed. It would work well for decorative pillow cases, lampshades, quilts and so much more.

Luckily for people like me, with new technology on both the digital and crafting front, you don’t have to be an artist to create beautiful art.
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