You can use paperbacked fabric for a variety of projects, such as homemade book cloth or note cards and envelopes. Paper backing stabilises fabric, prevents the fabric edges from fraying and provides a firm surface on which to write and glue. You can bond fabric to paper with many types of glue, but Elmer’s--a leading glue maker since 1947--recommends three of its products for this purpose: Glue-All, Craft Bond Tacky Glue, and Craft Bond Fabric and Paper Glue. Always use acid-free paper and acid-free glue to prevent deterioration of the finished project over time.
Smear a drop of glue on the back of the fabric in an inconspicuous spot. Let the glue dry, and check the front of the fabric to make sure the glue doesn’t stain or show through the surface. Cut the fabric 1 inch larger in each direction than the paper to which it will be glued.
Cover your work surface with butcher paper. Cut a second piece of butcher paper two inches larger in both directions than the fabric to be glued.
Lay the backing paper wrong side up on your covered work surface. Spread a thin, even layer of glue across the paper, starting from the centre of the backing paper and moving to the edges with a foam paintbrush. Thin the glue with a few drops of water for easier spreading, if necessary.
Place the fabric right-side-up over the backing paper, and place a piece of butcher paper over the fabric. Roll the rolling pin across the butcher, from the bottom to the top, to smooth the fabric onto the backing paper. Alternatively, slide your hands across the butcher paper, from the centre to the edges, to smooth the fabric onto the backing paper.
Take the butcher paper off the fabric. Pick the fabric up gently and turn it over so that the paper is on top. Roll the rolling pin across the paper or smooth it with your hands.
Wipe away excess glue with a damp cloth, if necessary. Let the glue dry completely. Trim the fabric even with the edges of the paper or to any size or shape desired.
Launder washable fabrics, and iron all fabrics, before gluing to paper. Coat the backs of small pieces of fabric with a glue stick and press onto paper, if desired.
Choose tightly woven fabric, as glue will seep through fabric with a loose weave. Prolonged or repeated contact with glue may cause skin or eye irritation.
Tips and warnings
- Launder washable fabrics, and iron all fabrics, before gluing to paper.
- Coat the backs of small pieces of fabric with a glue stick and press onto paper, if desired.
- Choose tightly woven fabric, as glue will seep through fabric with a loose weave.
- Prolonged or repeated contact with glue may cause skin or eye irritation.