Embellish a Scarf in 7 Easy Steps | Wearable Art

The May/June issue of Cloth Paper Scissors is all about creating mixed-media wearable art that fits your style. According to Editorial Director Jeannine Stein, mixed-media wearables are “something artists don’t always think about when they’re knee-deep in art journals, painstakingly piecing together an assemblage, or strategizing a collage design.” She goes on to say, “But why shouldn’t we create art to wear? Why limit our creativity to canvases and watercolor paper?” As you’ll see in this issue, there’s nothing to stop you from adding your flavor to aprons, purses, scarves, and more, for yourself, to give, or to sell.

DIY wearable art project | ClothPaperScissors.com

Take, for example, the infinity scarf project that Lesley Riley shares in this issue (shown above). In this article, Lesley explains two ways to create a resist on fabric to add a favorite quote for a subtle punch of meaning. Get the May/June issue of Cloth Paper Scissors here for the full feature article and the rest of the techniques, plus plenty of other mixed-media projects and tons of inspiration.

Embellish a Scarf in 7 Easy Steps by Lesley Riley

Art to wear | ClothPaperScissors.com
Figure 1

1. Iron the portion of the scarf where your quote will appear to a piece of freezer paper. Iron the scrap fabric onto freezer paper, too. The freezer paper holds the fabric in place and keeps it smooth.

2. Iron some resist shapes to the scarf. (Figure 1) These shapes will take the dye differently and appear darker when ironed later. I added paintbrush and pencil shapes that I cut from Transfer Artist Paper (TAP).

3. Twist a glue bottle top open about halfway and write some test words on some scrap fabric with the glue. You want the glue to flow smoothly, but not too fast or thick.

4. When you’re pleased with your test samples, write the quote across your scarf fabric with the glue, writing just as you would on paper. (Figure 1) Lay down enough glue that your writing saturates the fabric and is visible on the back of the fabric. The glue seals the fabric, creating a resist for dyeing or painting. Leave the scarf on the freezer paper to dry.

Wearable art ideas | ClothPaperScissors.com
Figure 2

5. Peel the dry scarf from the freezer paper. Prepare your fabric dye according to the manufacturer’s directions. Apply paint or dye to the fabric as desired, or submerge the scarf in the dye bath to achieve the desired color. Remember that the color will be lighter when the scarf is rinsed and dried, particularly if you used paint.

6. Rinse the dyed scarf as directed and wash it in hot water to remove the glue and excess dye. Massage the glue writing in water that’s as hot as you can stand it in order to remove the glue. Do not iron the scarf until all of the glue is removed. If you used paint instead of dye, heat set it now.

7. Iron the scarf, attribute the quote with a permanent pen, and embellish as desired. I stitched “paint” on the tips of the paintbrushes. (Figure 2) ~Lesley

When you try this project, post it online and share your picture in the comments below. It’s a great way to network with other artists. Find the complete instructions in Cloth Paper Scissors,complete with a materials list and extra tips from Lesley, not to mention many more resources on wearable art projects.

Never limit yourself,


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