Hello, Alexa here, welcoming you to It's a Creative World, at the start of a new (and hopefully warm!) week.
As well as scrapbooking, I love fabric - although my forays into its possibilities are very limited as yet. I also love books, and having seen some lovely book wraps at an exhibition, I decided to try one myself. Not having lots of printed materials sitting around awaiting my eye to fall on them, I printed my own. Since I am not using fabric dyes, it would not survive a wash, this book-wrap - but if you think the likelihood of ever wanting to wash yours is slim, read on! The techniques are very straightforward, so if you have any children wanting a new activity during the school holidays, this might fit the bill.
Using some plain white cotton (cheap men's hankies would do fine), and some muslin (bandage muslin in a roll is a good substitute), get out your stamps and inks, and experiment. My own thought is that the best of the inks for a job like this are the Ranger Archival or Stazon: the cleanest image and quickest to dry. Choosing a limited range of analagous colours (the ones beside each other on the colour wheel) makes it easy to mix and match with a greater likelihood of success. You don't need to be precise! Measure your book from top to bottom, make sure the fabric lengths you are stamping are at least that long plus another inch or so, and a few inches wide (they'll be cut vertically into thinner strips later). Put some music on, and off you go!
With single images, like the flower stem bottom left above, stamp a few times before re-inking to get a faded depth. Not got many stamps? Use any other things you can find - corrugated card, a roller, or some string stuck onto core board with double-sided tape and a coat of white acrylic to seal it all in place. Mine is green because the last time I used it, I forgot to clean it. - oops! Didn't affect its ability to pick up the Stazon, in any case.
Once you have a range of fabric pieces, cut them into strips. Add any ribbons you happen to have, too. The width is up to you - mine are about 2 centimetres. Cut a piece of iron-on interfacing, like Bondaweb (there's a very soft one which is ideal), so that it is wide enough to go right round your book or notebook, and will have an overlap - this is the wrap bit. Length-wise, from top to bottom, it only needs to be slightly longer than the book. Start top left and begin to pin strips across the interfacing, letting them hang down. When you've finished, take the rest of your strips and begin weaving them through the vertical ones - over and under, with the row below going under and over. I didn't bother to make my horizontal strips long enough to stretch right round the book. When I ran out of a horizontal strip, I just trimmed and tucked the end under a vertical strip; picked another (differently patterned and coloured) strip, laid one end of it on top of the end of the previous one, and kept going until I reached the far side ...
When you've woven the entire piece, and it's big enough to wrap round your book, iron it gently so the strips fuse onto the interfacing, and remove the pins. Now for the back - you can go to town here! Just take a piece of cotton or muslin the same size as the woven front of your wrap, and stamp all over it with gay abandon!
Next, load up your sewing machine with threads: you can use a different one in the bobbin to the one on top. Shiny, glittery ones are fun too. Now place the insides of the two pieces of fabric together, so you have the outside and inside of the wrap itself visible to you, and start stitching. If you've never experimented with the stitches on your machine, now is your moment! You can stitch anywhere, just to help hold the fabric together. If you'd prefer to sew by hand, that would look wonderful - you could add in beads, buttons, bows ... anything you like. You don't need to stitch edge to edge - stop and start as you please and cut the threads flush with the fabric:
Your book wrap should be taking shape nicely. You can decide at this point how to finish the edges: I did some (not very expert) blanket stitch on the top and both sides on mine, fringed the bottom edge just by cutting slits in the fabric a few centimetres long, and sewed a variety of beads on the end of a number of the individual 'tongues' on the fringe ...
To fasten it, I twisted some fibres together and threaded them through an old dress label which I folded and stitched in the middle of the back of the wrap. I then added a wooden bead or two to the ends of the fibres to give them some weight. To close the wrap securely, I wound the string of fibres round a button which is sewn on one edge of the wrap. A long stem of summer grass was included by sewing a piece of page protector over it. You could include a photo, a momento ...,My wrap covers a notebook which I had decorated with some collage at a taster mixed-media course:
and I finished it with a fabric label with the second part of my 'poem' on it. It reads:
"The earth lay soft against the sky.
Beyond, the the dying of the light,
the glinting pools, and the curlews' cry".
(It's my maudlin Irish heritage showing up!). The final book-wrap looks like this:
So there you have it. It's a project which lends itself nicely to recycling - that favourite garment which is too shabby to wear, those bits of fabric which have been sitting in a drawer for ages ... Book wraps also make lovely presents!
As ever, we'd love to see anything you make, so please leave us a link! Hoping you have a happy and creative week!