Monday, May 16, 2016

Foiling on Fabric

Happy May, Printed Fabric Bee fans and friends from Jane Davila!

Small fusible squares with multicolor metallic foil

This month I'm going to be showing you some fun ways to add metallic foils and metal leafs to fabric for shimmer and sparkle on your projects.
purple metallic foil squares added with fusible web

First up is metallic foil added to fabric with fusibles. Metallic foil intended for use on fabric is a clear cellophane sheet with a very thin metallic film attached to it. If you place a fusible product (web, thread, or powder) on your fabric, cover it with the foil, and heat it with an iron, you can permanently affix the foil to your fabric. Check out the tutorial below for more details, hints, and tips.

copper and purple metallic foil added with fusible web

Here's a basic tutorial of how to apply metallic foil with fusible thread. The same technique applies to other fusible products.

Step one:
Cut and lay a length of fusible thread on the surface of your fabric.

There are several brands of fusible thread on the market including Superior and YLI.
The thread MUST say it's fusible thread.

Step 2:
Cover the thread with a piece of metallic foil. Important: the foil must be placed so that the finished color is facing UP. The back of the foil will be fused to fusible thread, so the colored side must be facing up and away from the fabric. When the foil is fused, it will release from the clear cellophane.

Metallic foil facing up, fusible thread underneath

Step 3: Cover the metallic foil with a piece of parchment paper to protect both the foil and your iron, and press well.

A hot iron works best, but consult the instructions on your specific
fusible product for the optimal temperature

Step 4: Important! Allow the foil, fusible, and fabric to cool completely before this step. Slowly peel the metallic foil away from the fabric. The fusible thread should have melted and will be adhered to the foil. All other areas of the foil will still be affixed to the clear cellophane sheet and can be reused.

That is not a reflection - my hands were blue from painting fabric
just prior to this shot for another project! #studiohazards

Step 5: If the foiled area is not perfectly flat and smooth, cover it with parchment paper, re-iron, allow to cool completely, and remove parchment paper to reveal perfectly flat and smooth foil.

Foiled fabric is extremely durable and can be machine washed and
even dry cleaned, making it perfect for art garments as well!

Here are some variations on the technique of metallic foils with fusibles:

Fusible tape, available in a variety of widths, is used to adhere
metallic foil to fabric

Fusible web, like Wonder Under, can be cut into shapes,
applied to fabric, and covered with metallic foil.

Hand sew fusible thread into a design, like a house, and
cover with metallic foil. Each line on this house is one
single stitch for a graphic appearance.

Create metallic stars stitching by hand with fusible thread
and covering with metallic foil.

Use fusible thread in the bobbin of your sewing machine
to create stitching lines that can be covered with
metallic foil. Remember to use parchment paper both on the top
and the bottom when fusing to avoid making a mess.

Add more than one layer of fusible thread and one color
of metallic foil for a layered effect.

Sprinkle fusible powder, like 007 Bonding Powder from Bo-Nash,
on your fabric, cover with metallic foil and parchment paper,
and fuse for a beautiful sparkle effect. Two colors of foil are shown here.

Snip fusible thread into small pieces and foil over it.

Combine snippets of fusible thread and a sprinkle of fusible powder
with metallic foil for an interesting surface design effect.

I'll be giving away a set of metallic foils to one lucky reader at the end of the month. Please leave a comment with a way to contact you and tell me how you would use metallic foil in a project!

Next up - gold, silver, and copper metal leaf on fabric. Stay tuned!


  1. These are perfect for enhancing my white buffalo quilt in progress. You can contact me through Facebook. Great article, BTW, with lots of inspiring ideas.

    1. Thanks, Kathleen! Your white buffalo quilt sounds intriguing!

  2. These are perfect for enhancing my white buffalo quilt in progress. You can contact me through Facebook. Great article, BTW, with lots of inspiring ideas.

  3. Special glue + stamp/ stencil /thermofax screen, fusible dots, vliesofix

    1. Which glue are you using? I've tried a few but with no success tho I've seen spectacular results on the web.

  4. Thanks this is great I've used foils for years and never thought to use fusable thread Looks good Can't wait to try

    1. The thread is SO versatile. If you haven't had success with the special foil glues, try gel medium instead. You can fuse the foil to it just like a regular fusible.

  5. I love the look of the fusible thread,,,,,,and the free-form designs. I think this adorned fabric would make great beads,,,,,,thanks for sharing

  6. Hey Jane, perfect timing, I want to use it as stars in the backgrounds of my pieces. Forgot about the bone ash method! Thanks!

    1. Sprinkle the powder on and you'll have stars galore!

  7. Bonjour je ne connaissais pas le fil et la poudre soluble.ou peut on les acheter ?
    merci pour le tuto.M Tirtaine

    1. This company in the UK has many surface design supplies: and the fusible powder is made in the UK by Bo-Nash and can be found on Amazon France:ésif-thermocollant-Agent-2/dp/B000W5JQKI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1464651080&sr=8-2&keywords=bo+nash

  8. Awesome article! And what a brilliant use of fusible thread. I would hand-stitch highlights in the fur and eyes of my animal portraits. Thanks for sharing!!!

    1. Pretty! That's a terrific idea to add even more personality!

  9. Using the fusible powder with metallic in two different colors is my favorite! A wonderful way to mix color with a little bit of bling!

  10. Wow make it look so easy..


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