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Dimensional Printed Fabric Butterfly

Dimensional Printed Fabric Butterfly main article image
Posted on September 8, 2022 by Jan Hunter
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Creating a dimensional butterfly with fabric, paper, thread, and stencils has been a highlight of the last couple of weeks.  Choosing files found at Creative Fabrica to use just like choosing paper often takes more time than it does to cut and assemble a project…. RIGHT?  Well, it did in this case.

While the butterfly pattern is not from Creative Fabrica, the rest of the designs are.  These are the designs and fonts used to create this fun framed home décor piece.

Font – Fresh Market

Vintage Papers/Freebie

Burlap Digital Paper Graphic

Antique Script Documents Vintage Paper

You’ll Also Need:

  • SCAL5 Pro
  • IkonStencil Art Kit
  • Printable Fabric Sheets (Cotton)
  • Linen 9 x 12 inches
  • Cardstock (12 x 12)
  • Printer
  • Hot Glue
  • Wire
  • Wire Cutters
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Distress Inks
  • 9 x 12 Canvas (Flat Wrapped Canvas)
  • Tattered Butterfly (Cinnamon Creek Folk Art Etsy)
  • Tea Stain (optional)
  • White Paint (Liquitex heavy body)
  • Black Paint (Liquitex heavy body)
  • Foam Brush

Optional Materials:

  • Frame
  • Foam Core Board (12 x 16 inch)
  • Contact Paper (Wood Grain Laminate)
  • Clear Silicone Caulking and Caulking Gun

Let’s Start With the Stencils

Create your stencils. Using the IkonStencil Art system is straightforward and easy.  Print, Expose, Rinse, Dry, Post-expose.   Directions for creating a stencil can be found here in a previous post or on the Ikon Stencil Art website.  The advantage to creating this type of stencil is that they are reusable!  For the stenciling on the large upper wing, we created a stencil using a collage image from the Antique Script Collection.  The image isn’t an SVG, but a jpg. You’ll need to trace the image in the SCAL software.  Trace and use three colors.  This will give you three layers in the SVG format.  We’re making a single stencil.  So, you’ll need to make sure that each layer color is set to BLACK for both fill and stroke.  The stencil size used for our piece is 8.5 x 11 inches.

Print using the best quality settings for your printer.  In our case, the print settings were Letter and Premium Plus.  Make sure the inkjet film has the milky side facing the correct way for your printer to print on the milky side.  If desired, you can print the image in reverse and place it with the milky side face down on the stencil film when you’re ready to expose. There are lots of small lines, so don’t overexpose.  We exposed for about 32 seconds.  Set the film in a warm bucket of water for about 20 seconds before beginning the rinsing process.  It doesn’t take long.  Let the stencil film dry after rinsing out.  That is probably the most difficult thing to wait for…  POST Expose your stencil.  Two to three minutes is generally long enough.  Once your film has dried, turn it over and on the clear backing, write BACK.  This is important.

We used the Market font to create the butterfly quote.  Centered.  Repeat the process above for creating the stencil.  Note: the butterfly is there for placement only at this point.

Cut and assemble the Butterfly  

Print the template for the pattern pieces of the butterfly found in the Tattered Butterfly Pattern, or use something similar.

We used a piece of linen for the upper wings.  Secure the linen to an old cutting mat that still has some stick to it.  If you need to, use some tape to hold it in place while you stencil the collage design to the linen.   Remove the clear backing from the stencil and place the stencil on the fabric.  Smooth.  There was enough tooth to the fabric and the stencil to keep things from sliding.  Apply the paint using a foam brush or a squeegee.  We used a squeegee, but looking back, the foam brush would have given us a lighter touch.  Remove and rinse out the stencil.  Replace the clear backing on the stencil back and let the stencil dry face up.

Let the fabric dry and then heat set the paint using a dry iron.  Set aside.  If a grungier or worn look is desired, apply a coat of tea with some cinnamon, vanilla, and/or coffee mixed in.  Let dry.

Open the image you plan to use for the lower wings.  Print on the cotton fabric following the manufacturer’s directions.  Be sure to wait for the image to dry AND to set the ink using the iron.

Place the pattern pieces on the fabric which should be face up.  Flip the pattern for the second wing for both upper and lower.  Layer a piece of printed cardstock under the fabric with the printed side out.  You’ll stitch along the printed line and cut using a scant ¼-inch seam allowance for the raw edge.  It’s normal for a little bit of fraying in the cotton and linen fabrics.

We backed the wings with some printed cardstock with butterflies, using one of the images in the Vintage Images freebie (linked above)  TIP:  You could use copy paper or another piece of fabric if desired.  Stitch the wing pieces BEFORE trimming.

You’ll need to cut two body pieces.  Stitch before trimming and then clip the curves being careful not to cut into the seam.  Turn the right side out and stuff lightly with some polyester stuffing.  It doesn’t take much.  Slipstitch the opening closed.  Embellish as desired by adding some wire for antennae and a charm and or additional stitching.  Small patches could be added as well but weren’t used for this sample piece.  If desired, use some additional tea stain for a little more interest.

Prepare the canvas by adding some color using distressed inks. Blending colors as desired.

Once you have the desired effect, decide on where to place the quote and then stencil the quote on the canvas.  We used paint and a foam brush to apply the paint.  You could cut vinyl as well for the quote.

Once the paint has dried, you can spray a light coat of Mod Podge sealer on the canvas.    Be sure to do so in a well-ventilated area.  Let dry again.

Using the hot glue, glue the butterfly to the canvas.

To Finish:

Leave it as is or use the following idea:  We chose an old needlework frame, some foam core, and contact paper to create our “frame” for our new piece.  The foam core was cut to fit as an insert in the 12 x 16-inch frame.  We covered the foam core with some contact laminate in a wood grain design.

Secure the foam core in the frame with some clear silicone caulking and let set according to the manufacturer’s directions.  Using hot glue, secure the butterfly canvas to the foam core insert.

Your piece is now ready for display!

Thanks for stopping by today and we hope you will try your hand at stenciling on fabric and creating a one-of-a-kind dimensional project in the very near future.  If you choose to create something similar; we’d love to hear about it!

You can find additional projects and inspiration on Jan’s page here or on her blog.


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