Learning mixed-media art techniques begins with understanding the language. Browse our glossary to learn something new today!


Abaca Paper

What is abaca paper? This tissue is composed of long, abaca fibers and is semi-transparent, resembling Japanese papers in its appearance and construction. It can be treated like a lightweight fabric and used for a variety of different purposes and projects. In the past, it has also been known as Manila hemp, since it is…


Angelina fiber & film

What is Angelina fiber? Angelina fibers are fine, glossy synthetic fibers that melt and fuse when heat is applied. It comes in a wide variety of iridescent colors and can be stitched, fused with other fibers, or impressed with a rubber stamp and a warm iron. They can also be bought pre-fused in sheets called…


ATC (Artist Trading Card)

A 2½" x 3½" piece of art backed with felt or a firmer backing such as cardboard. Artists often use them for business cards and/or trade them for fun. ATCs may be made out of virtually anything, including fabric, as seen in this felting tutorial.


Embossing powders

Embossing powders definition Usually used with rubber-stamp techniques, embossing powders are dusted onto pigment-inked images, then heated with a heat gun causing the powder to produce a shiny, enamel-like finish. Powders come in clear, colors, metallic, and iridescent. Embossing basics Find out how to emboss with this free eBook on embossing techniques. Embossing tools To use…


Ephemera (art)

This art journal tutorial demonstrates how to make space for ephemera, such as plane tickets and tourists' guides. Ephemera definition Vintage or antiquarian paper items other than books, such as postcards, photographs, greeting cards, decorative cutouts, paper dolls, signs, and so on. These pieces are most commonly used in art journaling. Learn about how to…



What is fixative? Any of a variety of transparent materials that, when applied to artwork, keeps the medium (paint, ink, pastel, etc.) from smudging. While the most common fixative in mixed media art is a spray acrylic that comes in matte and gloss versions, other kinds of fixatives include varnish, shellac or resin diluted with…

Fluid acrylics

Fluid acrylics can be mixed with extender to dilute the color, as shown in this handmade card tutorial What are fluid acrylics? A type of acrylic paint that, as the name suggests, are more liquid (fluid) or runny than 'normal' acrylic paints, with the same intensity of color. They offer an effect closer to watercolors without…

Fusible Web

Fusible web is shown here on top of the fabric and Timtex interfacing it will be bonding. What is fusible web? Very thin sheets of webbed, dried glue that can fuse fabrics and other fibers together when activated by heat. Comes in cut sheets or on a roll, housed between two layers of release paper.…


Gel medium

Gel medium may be glossy or matte, and some are made even thicker with the addition of pumice, like this Golden gel medium. What is gel medium? An acrylic polymer medium that can accept color media and other additives, such as glitter or fine beads, to create texture when applied to a surface. How to use…



This mixed media sculpture uses black gesso as the background.. What is gesso? Gesso is a thick chalky primer that can be painted onto paper or fabric to provide a rough-textured surface. There are two categories, oil or acrylic, and both generally come in black, white and clear varieties. Both types stick to most surfaces,…



Interference paint

This mixed media collage uses an iridescent green fluid acrylic interference paint. What is interference paint? Sometimes called pearlescent or iridescent pigments, interference pigments are a polymer emulsion (paint) containing titanium-coated mica flakes. Because they interfere with light waves, technically interference paint is the most accurate term. Painted over a dark color, you see the labeled…



Japanese Washi Paper

The texture of Japanese washi paper is the reason it is often called Japanese tissue. What is Japanese washi paper? Japanese washi paper is a strong paper tissue that comes in different patterns and colors, and is the perfect medium for stitching on paper. Its strength comes from its varied constituents, which include fiber from…


Kona cotton

What is Kona cotton? A 100-percent cotton broadcloth well suited to dyeing and bleach. It generally only comes in flat colors rather than prints, and is very popular amongst quilters who enjoy working with creative fabric art ideas. To see how kona cotton is used in quilting fabric art techniques, see sister Interweave site Quilting…


Kunin Felt

This fiber arts tutorial shows how kunin felt can be melted with a solder iron to create fake stitch marks. What is Kunin felt? Made by Kunin Group, this kind of synthetic felt is perfect for green art projects, since it is made from post-consumer, BPA-free recycled plastic bottles. It is fade, mold, mildew and…


Lokta paper

What is Lokta paper? Lokta paper, or Lama-Li, is cultivated from the Daphne Bush that grows high in the Himalayan Mountain region of Nepal. Tibetan refugees create the most exquisite and versatile handmade lokta papers on the planet. Lokta has four deckled edges and is a very strong fiber. This bush completely regenerates in about 4…


What is Lutradur? This is a polyester fabric-like material that has a wide variety of applications. It can be drawn or painted on to create a colored surface that still filters light. It is quite sturdy and can be cut into without fraying, and heat set up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lutradur techniques Lutradur is…


Machine-made Cords

What are machine-made cords? Also known as machine-wrapped cords, these are a group of threads and fibers stitched together by machine to create unique cords. They make great card embellishments and are easily made with a sewing machine. See also: embellish, easy handmade Christmas gifts


Matte medium

There are many brands of matte medium you can buy, but most look similar to this one available in our online craft store. What is matte medium? Matte medium is a kind of acrylic polymer medium that can be used to extend paints, increase translucency, and decrease gloss for a matte finish. It can be…

Metallic rub-ons

What are metallic rub-ons? Wax-based polishes that are housed in small pots and come in a variety of colors. You apply them with your finger and they are great for accenting raised areas. How to use metallic rub-ons These rub-on paints are best used with an embossing stamp or in rubber stamping projects. Download our…

Mod Podge®

What is Mod Podge? An acid-free brand of glue produced by Plaid. Mod Podge is useful for collage and decoupage as it can be used both to glue something down and as a protective layer over it (instead of varnish). It is available in a gloss, satin, or matte finish. While it is not at the…

Molding paste

Molding paste and stencils work together very well for creative collages. What is molding paste? A water-based, acrylic polymer emulsion that dries to an opaque, semi-gloss finish. Once hard, acrylic paint and other media can be applied. Molding paste techniques Molding paste comes in three textures: light, regular and coarse. Because molding paste is soft…

Mulberry paper

Painting on mulberry paper can make for interesting results because the texture will show through the medium. What is mulberry paper? Also known as rice paper, this paper has lots of texture and its edges feather easily when wet. It is available in a huge range of colors in both lightweight and smooth and textured…


Needle Felting

A few basic needle felting supplies What is needle felting? This hand-made technique fuses an additional layer of fiber onto a base fiber or felted fabric. This can be done by hand with a needle felting brush or piece of foam and felting needle(s), or using a needle felting machine. In both cases, the fabrics/fibers…



How to overdye What is overdyeing? Literally, to dye or paint color over another dye or printed pattern. Many artists like to alter commercial and vintage textiles by overdyeing: a perfect technique for a unique fabric collage. See also: space dyeing, tea staining


Pearl cotton

What is pearl cotton? Also called perle  cotton, it is a mercerized twisted, non-divisible, lustrous 100% cotton thread. It is always sold in a skein, and available in five weights: No. 3, 5, 8, 12 and 16. No. 3 is the heaviest kind, while 16, or Finca, is the finest. The thread is commonly used…

Photo Transfer

Photo transfer definition Photographic images can easily be transferred onto other surfaces using various techniques, from emulsion transfers with Polaroids to the gel medium photo transfer method. This image transfer tutorial demonstrates how different types of photo transfer techniques will change the results. Photo transfer to canvas If you have gel or matte medium on hand, it’s…


Rag Paper

What is rag paper? The symbol of quality is still a paper that is made from 100 percent cotton rags. At one time, rag meant cotton taken exclusively from cotton textile remnants. Now very few cotton papers are made from rags, either entirely or partially. The difference between true rag papers and cotton papers made…


Shisha Embroidery

The embroidery mirror work effect can also be achieved with thin, lustrous buttons, as seen in this mirror embroidery tutorial. What is shisha embroidery? Also called mirror embroidery, this is a common feature of Indian clothing that has spread in popularity to the western hemisphere. Such mirror work embroidery requires the use of small reflective…

Silk Hanky

You can buy silk hankies online at Interweave Store. What are silk hankies? These dyed silk fibers are harvested from the silk cocoon and stretched over a frame to form 10" squares. The layers can be separated and are wonderful for applying to the surface of wet felting projects. See also: fiber arts

Silk Rods

What are silk rods? These are byproducts of reeling silk from the cocoon; silk accumulates on these rods and remnants of it remain. The resulting rods can be dyed or separated into layers, and used in creative paper crafts, stitching and silk fusion. See also: silk hankies, fabric art

Space dyeing

This hand-dyed fabric was accomplished using space dyeing techniques. What is space dyeing? Space dyeing fabric is to apply dye selectively to different parts of a textile, randomly or in a pattern. See also: fiber arts

Stippling (painting)

Stippling techniques What is the paint stippling technique? Stipple painting is a mixed media painting technique that gives new surfaces an elegant, aged look made by repeatedly tapping on a surface with paint or ink and a stiff brush. While most methods of faux painting hide imperfections, stippling actually highlights them. It is best done…


Tea Staining

What is tea staining fabric? Dyeing with tea bags uses tea to alter the color of fabric or paper. Tea dyeing is often used to “age” new fabric or paper, giving it a vintage appearance. (Coffee can also be used for this purpose.) Depending on the kind of tea and the length of time it…

Teflon® Pressing Sheet

How to use Teflon pressing sheets What are Teflon pressing sheets? Special sheets used to protect iron and ironing board from fusible web residue. See also: iron on transfers, fusible web



What is Timtex interfacing? A non-fusible, extra-firm stabilizer. It is commonly used as a base for decorative houses made of fabric. Timtex interfacing is shown in the rear, next to the blue fabric and fusible web it will be stuck to in this fabric art project. How to use Timtex stabilizer See also: fabric house pattern,…

Transfer Artist Paper (TAP)

You can easily buy transfer trtist paper in packs of 5 for less than $15 at online craft stores. What is transfer artist paper? A kind of image transfer paper used for photo transfer to fabric with an iron. The resulting image is colorfast, washable, ironable, and stretchable. TAP can also accept drawings and designs…




This upcycled jewelry tutorial demonstrates how UTEE can add a gloss to finish off your pieces. What is UTEE? Ultra-thick embossing enamel, or UTEE, is similar to regular embossing enamel, but, as the name suggests, it's thicker and can be impressed after heating. It’s popular for use in embossing metal, but it does require an…


Water-soluble Stabilizer

How to use water soluble stabilizer What is water soluble stabilizer? Also called water-soluble fabric, wash away stabilizer or dissolvable fabric, this is fine polyvinyl fabric that feels like very thin plastic. It disappears in cold or hot water (depending on the brand and its use) after it has been stitched on, leaving only the…


Waterbrushes are very affordable: this Niji waterbrush retails for $12. What is a waterbrush? A combination of a fountain pen and a brush, consisting of a head with the brush on it and a handle that's a plastic reservoir that holds water. The two parts screw together and apart very easily. A slow, constant trickle…