Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Blackboard fabric mini Tutorial

I think it must go back to my childhood, but I just love Blackboards! I always have I don't know why, so when I discovered blackboard fabric some time back, let me tell you I was a happy girl :)

I've had a little bit for some time and I've been wanting to do a canvas blackboard for ages so when some of the new Riley blake fabrics came in to work last week I just couldn't help myself!

I used a 45cm square canvas that i got at the cheap shop and a Metric fat quarter of the tree fabric for the background. I also used some leftover batting which was about a FQ size, a second co-ordinating novelty fabric, some brown fabric for the trunk and about a 6" strip of blackboard fabric. If you can buy a fat Quarter, that would be plenty! I also used a small amount of fusible webbing (Vliesofix)
 I first just drew a really simple tree trunk shape on the paper side of the fusible webbing. I used the pattern on my fabric as inspiration, don't get stressed about it, just a big simple shape is fine! Iron the webbing onto the brown fabric and cut the shape out on the drawn line.

I layed the background FQ on top of the canvas and centred it (I just eyeballed it) I put the tree stump a bit up from the bottom of the canvas frame. I carefully lifted the FQ and took it to my iron, trying not to move it and ironed it in place. I'm not overly fussed about it being perfect, but you could take more care if you like.

I then took it to my machine and machine blanket stitched it in place. If you don't have a blanket stitch on your machine a satin stitch or even just a zig zag is fine. You could also just hand stitch it if you want.
 Now onto the precious blackboard fabric! Yeah!! I got a marker, I actually used a purple gel pen because it showed up easily on the back of the fabric and it was already on my sewing table ;) I traced around 3 circle shaped objects that were in the room. They were a small plate, a DVD Disk holder and a cup. You could do any shape you like.I cut the circles out and took them to my project.

Tips on Blackboard fabric: I really don't know what its made of to be honest, but it looks like a vinyl and  it really does not like the iron or pins!! So if your fabric is a bit curly try not to worry, you are stitching it down and it won't matter. If its really wrinkly, turn your iron down low and just swipe over it really quickly. If you iron it for too long it will go shiny and won't behave properly later. Let it cool and if you really need to, do it again. You must let it cool between each swipe or it will melt and be a big mess on your ironing board.

If you use pins on it, you will have a permanent hole in the fabric,  and ironing is out so using any fusible fabric is pretty much out, so I just used a liquid glue. I tried a glue stick, but mine was a bit dried out and didn't work well. I had the runny glue, so I used it instead. I just put a dab around the circles and stuck them into place. You really don't need much, its just to hold it in place while you stitch it.
 I took this to the machine and did a blanket stitch all around. Remember to take it really slow because you only get one chance at this! Each stitch puts a whole in the fabric, this is why I like to use a really simple shape like a circle, I have also done stars and squares would work too. I haven't tried stitching through it by hand, basically because I think it would be a challenge to get the needle through. If you want to though, go for it :)

I also ironed some fusible webbing onto the back of some cute little novelty fabrics and fussy cut them out. I ironed them onto my background and pinned my top to the batting and just raw edge appliqued them in place. I think next time I would use a fabric that is more contrasting, because they got lost a bit on my background.

Priming the blackboard fabric: I have read that you need to 'prime' the fabric before you use it or the first thing you write on it will be there forever. Basically you need to turn your chalk sideways and rub the chalk all over the blackboard fabric so its totally covered in chalk. You then rub it out and your ready to go. I generally use a damp cloth to remove all the chalk and it works for me, but you can test this on your scraps if you like.

You can do a bit of free motion quilting if you like then just staple the finished project onto your canvas and your done.
If you are interested in a kit for this project, email me and I will let you know how much it would be for the fabrics. The canvas would be a bit hard to post :)

Have fun and remember to email any pics if you give this a try.

Hugs Paula


  1. That is very cool! I will definitely put this on my list of things to try -- it would make a lovely gift! :)

  2. i really like it what a great idea xxx

  3. I saw this in Val's shop, I just love it so much thank you for the turtiol! Ill be on the phone today getting the material for it! :) I would like it for my frigde! :)

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  13. That is very cool! I will definitely put this on my list of things to try -- it would make a lovely gift! :) Skip Hire Near Me