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Elements in Fabric

Elements in Fabric

  • Briefly: Get realistic effects by using non-traditional art and craft supplies in your landscape quilts (Scroll down for detailed description)
  • Type: Workshop
  • Tutor: Linda Schmidt
  • Videos: 6
  • Skill Level: intermediate/advance
  • Number of Lessons: 6
  • Techniques

    Mixed Techniques

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  • Tags: art quilt, Design a quilt, dimensional, fabric paint, free motion, inspiration, landscape, Linda Schmidt, Machine Appliqué, modern quilting, online workshop, quilts, water, waves

  • Regular price $53.00 USD
    Regular price Sale price $53.00 USD
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    • Description
    • Requirements

    How do you create the four elements in fabric? How do you make earth, wind, fire and water so vivid they leap off the surface of your quilt? In this workshop, you will gain a greater understanding of design principles as you work with a wide variety of techniques and products to thoroughly explore the possibilities open to us today.

    Linda will show you how to create water with fabric paints, painted melted cellophane, sheer fabrics and melted fibers.

    Then, let the wind carry you up into the sky to make storm clouds and lightning with batting and sheers, fabric paints, Angelina fibers and bobbin work.

    Next, you will feel the fire with Tintzl, shredded sheer fabrics, Bonding Agent 007, foil, fabric paints and markers.

    Finally, come back to earth to learn to make Puff Paint, mica chip and Tyvek rocks and Fiber Etch trees. You will experiment with paint sticks, metallic paint powders and more. This class takes you from where you are to someplace else.

    Level: Intermediate to advanced.

    Note: Once purchased, you can access the class data any time, 24 hours a day and you get immediate access. (if you don't have an account we suggest you sign up for one prior to purchase)

    Time Duration applies only to teacher access for your question and answer duration.


    Lesson One: Water

    • explore the principles of good design
    • get inspired by photos and poetry
    • create the playing pieces:
    • paint water fabric
    • burn rocks
    • cut sheer fabrics
    • create embellishments with painted melted cellophane, cracked ice, Angelina and Tintzl fibers and tiny beads and gluje
    • create our water scene using Totally Stable as a base, placing cut up water fabric waves alternating with rocks, sheer fabrics and embellishments
    • sew it all down to Totally Stable with invisible zigzag stitches

    Lesson Two: Flames

    • get inspiration from fire photos
    • choose a background and draw in shadow trees
    • add blazing Tintzl fire
    • add a tree canopy and silhouetted trees
    • add fabric flames
    • add mid-ground trees
    • add shimmer and texture with Angelina, Tintzl and sheer fabrics
    • add foreground burnt-edged tree trunk
    • add shadows and highlights

    Lesson Three: Sky

    • get inspired with photos and poetry to create our Air piece
    • review the design principles as they apply to this piece
    • paint a sky fabric
    • color batting
    • make clouds out of tulle, sheer fabrics, and Angelina fibers
    • tuck the batting under the fabrics to create a cloud scene
    • make lightning with bobbin work
    • finish the scene with more clouds
    • sew it all down to Totally Stable with invisible zigzag stitches

    Lesson Four: Hills and Valleys

    • put up a background forest fabric
    • make fabric rocks and use them to define the space for the background forest
    • create the tree trunks
    • use Fiber Etch to create leaves for the distant trees and the mid-ground tree
    • add leaves to the distant trees
    • create a Puff Paint tree trunk (alternative thread tree method at end of lesson)
    • create Puff Paint and mica chip rocks
    • experiment with Tyvek rocks
    • let everything dry until the next lesson

    Lesson Five: More Hills and Valleys

    • puff and paint your tree
    • puff and paint your rocks
    • add the mid-ground tree trunk and leaves
    • create the stream with melted cellophane and puff paint rocks
    • add greenery
    • add shading and final touches
    • sew everything down

    Lesson Six: Putting Stuff Together

    • borders – transparent and ribbon
    • quilting
    • making a sleeve
    • binding
    • doing back art on the pieces
    • labeling

      Supplies Required for Workshop

      Photos of earth, wind, fire and water scenes

      Keep your eyes open and search the Web for photos of scenes of earth, wind, fire and water.  There are lots of them out there, just put "copyright free landscape photographs" in your Google search engine, and start looking.  The more idea you have of what the elements look like, the better off you will be.

      In the course of the lessons, I will mention specific Web sites, but go through your own old photos, open up all of those inspiring e-mails people send, and starting LOOKING at the world around you and taking photos of sunsets, sunrises, flowing streams, ocean waves, forest fires, storms, mountains, campfires, rainbows, rocks, hills, and falling rain.  It’s all out there, so start looking and collecting!

      Needed for Most Lessons

      • tall thin candle (taper as opposed to votive candle), matches and candle holder
      • pie plate or other small flat pan half filled with water
      • white Totally Stable or freezer paper the size of your finished piece (I prefer Totally Stable - available at;; many fabric stores)
      • 1 package of very light fusible webbing such as Lite Steam a Seam II. Do NOT use EZ Steam Lite – the release paper sticks to the webbing & won’t come off 
      • 1 package of white MistyFuse, which many quilting stores carry, also available at
      • Scotch tape
      • paint brushes
      • smooth plastic covered surface
      • heat gun (craft version)
      • woodburning tool (craft version - not the sharp knife one, just the solid blade one)
      • thread, needles, sewing machine, seam ripper, scissors, rotary cutting tools, iron and all of the other stuff you always need. 

      Lesson One: Water


      Fabric to paint: I use Prepared For Dyeing (PFD) mercerized combed cotton broadcloth, 133 thread count, that I purchase at  It is also available at many quilt stores.  If you do not have access to this, any high thread count, thoroughly washed and dried, white fabric is just fine; like an old white sheet or pillowcase. Paint a piece double the size of the size of the finished piece you want to create.
      Other fabrics: Rock fabrics, preferably batik or hand dyed.  Scraps will do just fine. 

      Transparent sheer metallics:  often called opalescent organdie, sparkle organza or silk organza in white transparent or opalescent colors. My favorite is SKU number 840-8171 called "white pearlized sheer metallic" from Jo-Ann fabrics.  I call it opalescent organdie in my lessons. The best time to find them is when people are making Halloween costumes or prom dresses or holiday dresses, in the regular fabric stores.  These are very sheer, fragile, transparent fabrics that will melt if you iron them with a hot iron.  You have been warned.

      Cellophane about a yard square, or enough to wrap around a standard bouquet.  It has to be the real cellophane, not a plastic substitute.  Get it at florist shops or grocery stores that sell flowers. You want clear, not colored, cellophane. You can also find it at Michael’s, Wal-Mart, Hobby Lobby and other craft stores in the gift wrap department, called cellophane, or sometimes clearophane.  It also comes wrapped around some products. It is clear and crackles loudly.

      Iridescent glitter: Very fine white or slightly tinted iridescent glitter. There are many of them, but one good one to look for currently is Decorative Glamour Dust which is iridescent and is available at many craft stores.

      Iridescent cracked ice: This is totally optional but very cool.  I only used a tiny bit of it in these pieces, since I wanted something more readily available, so I mainly used cellophane, instead; however, this is good STUFF.  Put it over water fabric and it turns into magic.  It is available at in two sizes, either 2" x 75' roll (called streamers), or 25' x 4' roll.  If you are in a craft store and see something called "whisper" in the gift wrap section, this looks like cracked ice, but is much more fragile.
      Another alternative is Angelina Film in the Winter sampler, which is available from This is also more fragile, but you can iron pieces of it together with threads in between, so it is worth playing with.  If you sign up for this class and want some cracked ice to play with, but do not want to commit yourself, send me something interesting to play with or embellish with and a stamped, self-addressed envelope, and I will send you a square foot of this to use in your pieces.  If you live overseas, do not send the postage, just send a self-addressed envelope and something interesting to play with or embellish with, and I will send you some.  My address is: 7695 Sunwood Drive, Dublin, CA 94568, USA.

      Fabric paints: Any fabric paint will do just fine, as long as you can also get a pearly white along with them.  I have used Delta, Jacquard, Setacolors, Versatex, DecoArt So Soft, Lumiere and others.  Use what you have; but if you have a choice, get Setacolors by Pebeo.  For the water, you need ocean colors

      • titanium white (opaque)
      • perle (shimmer or metallic)
      • cobalt blue
      • ultramarine blue
      • possibly emerald or turquoise (transparent)

      These paints are now at some craft stores in the States, by the decorating t-shirt section.  They are also available at, and many other sources.

      Pastel chalks:  These are NOT oil pastels, but chalk pastels.  We will use them as an optional way of coloring your clouds, so you will only need a few of them in soft cloud colors – pink, blue, gray, yellow, whatever color you want your clouds to be.

      Angelina fibers are also called Fusible Fibers at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, Wal-Mart, and other craft stores.  The iridescent ones are hair-like hologram fibers that will fuse together when melted gently with an iron through tissue or parchment paper, the metallic ones will not bond to themselves, but can be bonded in other ways.  The colors go by various names, and most craft stores usually sell only the pastel colors.  You will want all of them (because they're so cool), but for these classes, you will need:

      • White - there are four or five of them, called Aurora Borealis, Crystal Green Flash, Crystal Amethyst and/or Crystal Mother-of-Pearl.  Get any one of these (for clouds, sea spray, waterfall spray, and background fire if you cannot find Tintzl), or more if your budget allows.
      • Soft blue or lavender - called Opal Sparkle or Calypso Blue Fluorescent or any other shade of light or dark blue (for clouds in the Air piece)
      • Gold or bronze metallic, Red Flash and/or Copper metallic for Fire piece.  These metallic fibers are not heat bondable, but we will be using a fusing agent.

      Some online sources for these are:,

      Tintzl - Unfortunately, the factory burned down and I can’t find this anymore. You can substitute flat, hologram thread like Superior Glitter thread cut in 3-5” lengths, held together with MistyFuse.

      Optional: Clear fabric glue and micropearl beads from the scrapbooking section of the craft store, either tiny silver ones or tiny clear ones.  The beads can be mixed with the glue, then applied to the background with a palette knife, where they will stick and look like bubbles; or apply the glue to the edge of the sheer fabric water pieces and sprinkle the beads on top.

      Lesson Two: Fire


      Background fabric: A piece as big as your finished piece with red, orange or black in it.  It will be covered up almost completely, so do not agonize over this choice.

      Tree fabrics: dark batiks or blurry fabric in black, dark blue or very dark green, and a foreground branch in burnt-tree colors, maybe black and orange

      Small scraps of flame-colored fabrics: gold, orange, red, yellow – batiks or cottons or whatever you have around is fine. Paint some if you don’t have anything handy.

      Sheer Fabrics:  You need some STUFF that you can rip, tear, shred.  This is very important.  Here are some options: red tulle; chiffon scarves; tissue lame; sheer metallics; crinkled metallic silk; fabric made of bronze or gold metallic fibers; fabrics in flame colors like orange, gold and red, even black or gray; any other transparent, whispery, shimmery fabric will help as long as it will overlap with transparency over other layers.

      Bondable webbing product:  Lite Steam a Seam II, Do NOT use Heat N Bond or EZ Steam II. Heat N Bond sticks to your needle, and EZ Steam’s release paper won’t come off.

      Angelina Fibers and Hologram threads in iridescent, gold and red, available from and other sources (see above for full explanation).

      Fusible Bonding Powder:  this is a powdered fusible webbing that is great for making layers of background without stiffening up your whole project; think chain mail as opposed to armor.  It is now available at many quilting stores, as well as on the InfoChannel and at  It comes in the starter pack with a very good presser sheet and a video on how to use it.  If you do not want to go to this expense, however, I propose alternatives in the lesson, so this is completely optional.

      Foil: again, this is completely optional.  If you have some around, great, but do not get some especially for this project, since we only use it a tiny bit for a special effect.  You can get the same effect with Setacolor Glitter paints or spray-on glitter.  If you are going to get some, though, go to and have them send you the sample pack of 10 colors.  This is good STUFF.  It is also available from and other sources.  It is good for several hours of foiling fun, and we will use it on the back of this piece to make back art.

      Fabric markers or paints in black, smoky colors; whatever you have will do just fine.

      Lesson Three: Wind


      Fabric to paint (see above), the size of your finished piece plus at least 1" all around.

      Some regular batting, silk batting or cotton balls – whatever you have that you can stretch into a cloud-like puffy substance. 

      Fabric paint – black, orange, peach, pink, blue, gray - whatever color you think clouds are. This can be Setacolors, Jacquard paints, whatever works the best for you. I prefer Setacolors (see above).

      Iridescent Tintzl or hologram thread(see above) in iridescent white.

      Angelina fiber in white, light blue and dark blue. (see above – just get the light blue if you are doubtful, but Angelina is very, very cool)

      Heavy silver metallic thread, preferably silver Glamour from Madeira, but Kreinik ombre in silver, very fine metallic braid, Ricky Tim’s new heavy silver thread, or any heavy silver thread will work fine.

      Sheer fabrics – white tulle (you do not want net, you want tulle; tulle is very soft and fine and almost disappears against a background), opalescent organdie, white sparkle organza, sheer fabrics in opalescent, white, transparent, soft blues and/or blacks. Chiffon scarves are great for this, the kind you can get at the charity store for ten cents, or at the Ross store for $5.

      Lessons Four and Five: Earth


      Fabrics to make rocks and tree trunks, and some cheater floral fabric to add greenery and some commercial water fabric to put under your other substances to make water. You will also need some junk fabric that you bought once upon a time but now cannot imagine why you bought it, in order to make Puff Paint rocks and trees on. This can be any old fabric you never want to see again.

      Puff Paintor Xpandaprint: this goes by different names. In the US, it is called Jones Tones Puff Paint, Tulip Puffy Paint, or Pebeo Expandable Paint and is available at fabric and craft stores, like Michael’s, Hobby Lobby and Wal-Mart. It is a paint that expands once you let it dry naturally, then heat with an iron or heat gun to puff up. Do NOT get paint that says "three-dimensional" paint if it does not say "expands with heat." (Non-puffing three-dimensional paint simply dries in the shape you squirt it out in, and you cannot paint it.) Get the white or cream-colored non-glossy version, so you can paint it yourself.  You only need one tube to make the tree and all the rocks you want.  Do NOT get 3-D paint from Jo-Ann’s.  It will not work.

      Tyvek is completely optional, but good STUFF.  This is a slick-feeling, white paper/fiber made by DuPont.  The easiest way to get one is to buy a Priority Mail envelope at the Post Office or office supply store.  I did not use this in my pieces, but explain how to use it since you may want to put some in your piece. 

      Solvy: if you do not want to make a Puff Paint tree, you can make a tree on Solvy with thread instead. 

      Fiber Etch (optional): To create fabric leaves, you can use your scissors and spend a lot of time cutting stuff up or use Fiber Etch, available from and many quilt or machine embroidery stores.  You will need part of a tube.

      Lite Steam a Seam II (see Lesson Two above).

      Painted cellophane and iridescent glitter (see Lesson One supply list above).

      Fabric paints:  whatever you have is fine; otherwise, get Setacolors in tree branch colors, like black, brown, copper and gold.

      Shiva paint sticks are optional but cool.  These are oil-based paint sticks like giant crayons in iridescent colors, but they are very expensive.  If you just want to get one, get the gold metallic one; if you want two, get the gold and silver; if you want three, get those two and white iridescent.  Six colors are available from  or  Contact  to find out where the new 16-stick set is sold.  If you cannot get the iridescent ones, you can always get the plain set and use Jacquard Metallic paint powders, available at Michael’s craft stores and, to make them iridescent.

      Metallic paint powders are very optional.  If you cannot find a metallic paint, these powders can be added to any paint or paint extender to make that paint into a metallic paint.  In the US, they are available at Michael's, in the art supply section or you can get them from  They are highly useful to add just a gleam or a spark anywhere you want it.  Good STUFF.

      Mica chips are also very optional.  These are tiny vials of crushed mica rock that give reality to the rocks in the Earth segment.  You could also use sand, beads, tiny rocks, glitter or beads crushed up or maybe Mona Lisa metallic foil bits I bought at Michael’s in a weak moment. You can get them from  I also made perfectly good rocks without them, so do not stress out about this; just know that if you ever see them, they are fun to have.

      Lesson Six

      You will need finished tops from the first five lessons.  That will be the hard part.  You will also need:

      Border fabrics: usually fabrics that were used in the body of the piece itself, the same fabrics and sheers you used in the first place; the scraps will do

      Fibers:  Tintzl or hologram threads and Angelina fiber to match the interior of the piece

      Safety Pins:  I like the small bent safety pins

      Batting:  I prefer Hobbs wool, but whatever works for you is fine with me

      Backing fabric

      Quilting gloves of some sort.  My favorites are Machingers, about $8 from and various other sources.

      Wide sheer silk ribbons to correspond with the quilts (optional).

      Binding fabric: usually something you used in the quilt already

      Topstitch 100 needles:  necessary to quilt with metallics and rayons. They are by Schmetz and say "System 130 N Topstitch" needles on them, then they also have a size listed; I like the 100’s.  You can get the 90’s at Jo-Ann’s here in the States, and they are probably perfectly adequate for these projects. 

      Sewer’s Aide is a clear silicone that helps lubricate the thread.  You can use this directly on the thread if you have a mechanical tension; if you do not, then do not use this on the thread.  Instead, try to find a place where you could put a piece of moleskin on your machine just before it goes to the needle.  See below.

      Moleskin is available in the foot care section of the pharmacy. Look at your sewing machine and see if there is a place you could put a little bit of this just above the needle, so you could saturate it with Sewer’s Aide so the thread will be lubricated right before it hits the needle. If you have no such place and have electronic tension, forget both the moleskin and the Sewer’s Aide. Bummer.

      Threads: You obviously need to have thread to quilt; I haven’t quilted with cotton in 15 years, since other threads are much more fun.  Check out my Dealing With Difficult Threads article to see the threads I recommend, and why.  My favorite threads to quilt with are Yenmet fine metallics, Superior Glitter threads and Madeira Black Core Metallics, FS#20. 

      That’s about it.  Not as bad as you thought, eh?