Guest Post: Diana Trout Shares Her Technique for Making Papercloth

Diana Trout does amazing work–you’ve seen some of what she does in her book, Journal Spilling. She recently shared a tutorial on her blog–her method of creating Papercloth–and she’s generously agreed to let us share it here, as well. Here is her technique for making paper into a sturdy substrate you can stitch without having to worry that it will fall apart:


Creating papercloth is simple and low cost. This technique yields a material with all of the fabulousity of paper: you can draw, paint, cut and all of the flexibility and strength of cloth. You can stitch away with no worries of compromising the integrity of the material. Handstitching and machine stitching work well and the more you handle the papercloth, the softer and more pliable it becomes.


photo by Diana Trout

There are tutorials and articles published on papercloth but I thought I’d throw my own 2 cents into the pile. You can find videos, magazine articles (Cloth Paper Scissors) and Beryl Taylor’s, Making Paper from Cloth, a DVD from Interweave. I am using papercloth for bookcovers in my upcoming series of online bookbinding classes and I wanted my students to have the information at their fingertips!


Longstitch Woven Cover by Diana Trout

You can see from the above picture, that the sewing stations in the papercloth cover are pretty close together. Proof of just how sturdy this material is. Stitch up a design on your papercloth as I have below, using embroidery threads or your sewing machine

Papercloth by Diana Trout


Papercloth=Bookcloth! It’s the same stuff with a slightly different technique and glue. I’ve made my own bookcloth for years using the traditional materials of transluscent Japanese paper, cloth and wheat paste such as in my little button books from some years ago.


Button Books by Diana Trout


Don’t worry if your tissue gets a bit wrinkly. I love the way the piece in the picture below looks.


Papercloth by Diana Trout


On to the tutorial! Here is the YouTube video and PDF for you.  Enjoy!

For more information about my online Longstitch, 2 Ways class go to my blog here.

Materials Needed for this Tutorial:

The Fabric:

Muslin or other very lightweight cloth; patterned or plain (lightweight quilting cottons can be used)

The Papers:

Any lightweight papers can be used: tissue papers (colored, white, printed, old sewing patterns)

Paper napkins (separated into the single ply); Mulberry papers or other lightweight Japanese papers; Lightweight book pages

Plastic trash bag for workspace

Acrylic paints,

Any kind of pva glue, mod podge, acrylic matte medium. Mix some water into the glue to make it the consistency of milk (a ratio of approximately 1:1). The glue should run easily off your brush.

water, large brush (should be soft), Rag

The Method:

Cut your cloth to size. I am using approximately 12” x 18”

Spread out your trash bag to protect your surface

Use smaller pieces of plastic cut 3-4” larger than the cloth you will be making (trash bag cut, acrylic sheets, freezer wrap)

Lay the muslin on your plastic or freezer wrap.

Generously brush it with the water/glue mix. Begin laying the papers on top of it. Brush more glue on the paper as you go along. Use the brush gently so that you don’t tear or dislodge the paper.

You can layer as much as you’d like, collage fashion, as long as you continually brush it with glue.

When the papercloth is thoroughly dry – and this can take a while – gently peel the paper off of the plastic.Some glues may produce a shiny surface. It also   depends how much water you put into the glue mix. You can stitch (machine or hand) on this paper. You will notice that with handling the Fabric Paper will become softer and more pliable.I

If your paper is coming loose from the cloth, sew, sew, sew to keep the layers together!

Thanks, Diana!

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