Create Layered Fabric Collages with Sheer Fabric Finds

What’s the fastest way to add dimension and interest to paper collage art? Layers! I love adding paint, stamping, glaze, and tissue papers to create backgrounds for collage.

sheer fabric collage by jeannie palmer moore
Sheer organza fabric collage, detail,
by Jeannie Palmer Moore.

The thing is, on a paper collage, you can choose mediums and ephemera that allow the layers underneath to peek through, thus creating that built-up effect.

But what about fabric collage? Most fabrics are opaque, and they don’t become see-through when you add gel medium or paint.

You can use open-weave fabrics or fray the edges to get that layered look, but the easiest and often best way is to use sheers.

Sheers come in a variety of materials, including cotton, silk, and synthetics. They come plain, patterned, in colors, embroidered, matte, and shiny.

You can paint sheers with fabric paint or acrylic paint and print on the fabrics by hand. You can even use an inkjet printer to print images, words, or designs onto the fabric. And of course you can stitch it.

Organza is one of the most versatile sheers for fabric collage, and mixed-media artist Jeannie Palmer Moore often uses organza to attain dimensional layers.

“I love the transparency of organza, and it’s easy to sew through,” writes Jeannie in the Volume 7 of the Art Lessons Collage and Paint series, Altering Organza for Collage.

If you want to get started using sheers in collage, you don’t need to make a special trip to the fabric store. You probably have some sheers right at home (or at your local thrift shop) you can experiment with.

Look for:


sheer fabric collage by jeannie palmer moore
‘Maui Fun’ sheer fabric collage
by Jeannie Palmer Moore.

Old prom and bridesmaid dresses

. You know you’ll never wear them again and that crepe sash or tulle petticoat will yield loads of sheer fun.

Cast-off curtains. Cotton or synthetic sheer curtains give you lots of options (the latter makes a great silkscreen, too). Also consider lace and open-weave curtains.

Chiffon scarves from the ‘50s and ‘60s are probably hiding in the back of your (or your mom’s) and they go for a song at yard sales.

Also check:

Resale and consignment shops to find fancier fabrics such as silks and embroidered and embellished sheers.

Flea markets where you can find delectable vintage lace pieces like collars and doilies.

So pull out some sheer fabric and download Altering Organza for Collage to start creating layered fabric collages with depth and interest.

P.S. How do you create layers in fabric collage projects? Leave a comment below.


Blog, Collage, Fabric Art, Mixed-Media Techniques


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.