Dec 18 06

Burn, Baby, Burn!

I’ve just recently started playing around with burning fabric to try and create a distressed or weathered or aged look. I need to learn a lot more, but wanted to share my early experiences because it’s pretty fun and it’s always nice to be able to achieve new effects on our quilts. Look below to see the tool I used today:

creative tool

You can buy this tool at Joanne Fabrics and there’s one called the “Creative Textile Tool” at Michaels that’s also good. They go for about $29.95, so make sure you take your coupon with you! As far as I can tell, they all get VERY hot and simply vary in the tips available for each tool.

I started by fusing Wonder Under fusible web to the wrong side of a few pieces of very cheap organza fabric. This fabric is a very thin synthetic which MELTS if it gets too hot, so cover the fabric with a teflon pressing sheet so your iron doesn’t touch it directly. (Would you like to guess how I know this?!) Once fused, cut out the precise leaf shape and remove the backing paper. I remove the paper ahead of the burning process because otherwise, I think some of the paper will fuse itself permanently into the leaf edge. Now you are ready to indulge your pyromaniac fantasies!

burning process

The burning happens very easily and VERY fast, so stay alert and be ready to move quickly! (Also, you can see that I did this at a bathroom counter so I had water nearby in case I needed to throw any flaming fabric in!) I burned the leaf edges by just gently touching my tool to the edges of the leaves-be careful because you’ll melt away large sections FAST if you aren’t careful! I burned holes within the leaves the same way. In many places, the burning left a cool black shadow afterward and I LOVE this effect! Can you see that off to the side there is a batik leaf with some focal burn marks? This was a pre-fused batik leaf that burned VERY DIFFERENTLY than the organza. It was a tough burn and I need to play with this some more. The take home message is that it’s an entirely different animal than the organza.


This last photo shows the burned leaves fused to a background fabric. I then did free motion quilting within the leaves to create veins, as well as some quilting outside the leaves. I like the effect of the weathered look of the leaves and I also like the shadows created by the overlapping organza. The edges of this will be finished and then it will be a fabric postcard for some lucky friend. It sure is fun to play with new ways to handle fabrics and threads!

One Comment

  1. Teri Says:

    Hi Patsy,
    Have you ever tried using artificial floral leaves? I bought some recently. I pulled them off of the stems and took all remnants of plastic “veining” off. I haven’t done anything with them yet, but I planned to make postcards to. I like what you have done with yours!