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First, it is designed as a base for painting techniques which allows you to easily combine a lot of mediums into your collage if you choose to. Second, the surface is raised which leaves you with a finished look to your piece without the need for a frame that a more flat piece might need. Third, since the surface is made from fabric, it makes stitching techniques much easier to accomplish.
To prepare the surface of my canvas, I adhered pages from an old phone book using Matte Gel Medium. The rippling of the paper surface when the adhesive is applied to it, as well as the overlapping of the edges of the papers, makes a nicely textured surface.
Next I applied a quick coat of Gesso which added a bit more texture and also provided an opaque surface for the next step.
Then I applied a quick coat of off-white paint. This was applied so that some of the Gesso still showed through in places.
Prior to starting the collage phase, I planned to divide the canvas into 4 sections and embellish each section separately. To give the collage a more cohesive look, I made sure some of the elements overlapped the sections so while there are 4 separate sections, they are connected visually.
Stating in the upper left-hand corner, I added some strips of torn fabric, adhering them with Aleen's Tacky Glue.
Moving to the upper right-hand corner, I adhered a tulle circle that is covered with dots of gold glitter. I found these at a yard sale and they were packaged as wedding favor packaging. I adhered a small paper doily over that and the negative from the paper from which I punched small snowflakes I added to the collage later.
In the lower left-hand corner, I added a piece of wide lace, some strips I punched using the Fiskars AdvantEdge over the lace, and some die cut snowflakes I made using the Fiskars Fuse. The bottom snowflake was cut from a piece of book paper. The top layer was cut from off-white fleece. Since I used one of the photo-etched dies that are designed more for use cutting thinner materials, I used the same technique I used here (minus the iron-on interfacing) to die cut a leaf from fabric.
For my final quadrant, I filled it with some very faint stenciling. I used the same color paint I used for the base of the canvas and just pounced it on thicker through a small alphabet stencil. It adds some texture and a fun surprise for people who look closely at that corner of the canvas!
Finally, I went back and added small details to the canvas. Small snowflakes with mica flakes were added to the upper left-hand corner. Some old buttons were added to the centers of the doily and the die cut snowflakes. Fabric and lace trims were added to the bottom of the canvas, as well as some more yarn and a silver tinsel pipe cleaner. Strips of burlap were stitched to the center of the canvas. Again, I extended some of the elements outside of their quadrants (the burlap, the small snowflakes, and the strips along the bottom).
These collages are easy and inexpensive to make. I used things I picked up at yard sales and fabric and paper scraps left over from other projects! With a little organization to the process, you have fun and create something that you can feel good about using as a temporary piece of decor in your home.
Fuse Creativity System Starter Set, Fuse Medium Design Set 101120 Snowflake, AdvantEdge Interchangeable Border Punch Starter Set Flower Garden, Winter Frost AdvantEdge Interchangeable Border Punch, Cutting Mat 18x24, Limited Edition White Christmas Lever Punch, Razor-edge Softgrip Scissors No. 8
Stretched canvas, variety of paper and fabrics, old phone book pages (optional), Matte Gel Medium (optional), Gesso (optional), stencil (optional) liquid adhesive, embellishments such as old buttons, pipe cleaners, yarn, doilies, paint, and mica flakes.