When making stitched mixed media journals with rigid covers I particularly like to use a heavyweight stabilizer such as double-sided fusible Peltex to make the stitched journal covers. This type of stabilizer makes it easy to construct the covers because it’s easy to sew using either hand stitching or machine sewing. However it’s not always readily available in stores, and because it’s quite stiff and rigid it becomes expensive to order and ship through online outlets.
Back in the days before there was any such thing as this type of heavyweight stabilizer, textile artists were making their own thick stabilizer using simple supplies that were readily available from their own supply stash. Here’s how to do it.
Gather your supplies
- thin cardboard such as a cereal box or pizza box
- acrylic felt, fusible fleece, or cotton batting
- spray glue or craft glue
- Pellon Wonder Under fusible webbing (optional)
- brayer (optional)
Instructions for Making DIY Heavyweight Stabilizer for Stitched Journal Covers
Cut one piece of cardboard and two pieces of felt, about an inch larger than you what you need. When using a cereal box or even a pizza box, it may not be large enough to cut out in one piece, so you may need to cut several pieces such as for the front cover, back cover and spine. You can use any color felt; I like to use white when using light colored fabric, and black when using dark colored fabric.
Spray one side of the cardboard with a spray glue. Use this type of glue outside or in a well ventilated area – you don’t want to be breathing this stuff in. Alternatively you can apply a light coat of craft glue to cover the complete surface of one side of the cardboard. If using fusible felt, follow the directions and iron it directly to the cardboard.
Press the glued side of the cardboard onto the felt and press the pieces together by hand, or use a brayer which makes it easier.
Apply glue to the other side of the cardboard and press to the other piece of felt. You should now have a sandwich of felt/cardboard/felt.
That’s it! Allow the glue to dry, cut to size and it’s ready to use, just like you would use thick stabilizer or chipboard for constructing your journal cover.
The cardboard is thin enough to sew using either a sewing machine or by hand, and the felt provides a softly textured surface which makes it ideal for sewing and embellishing.
Make it Thicker for Really Rigid Stitched Journal Covers!
To make a thicker, more rigid piece, simply add more layers of cardboard and felt. Keep in mind that if it gets too thick, you may have trouble machine sewing it unless your machine has a walking foot or an even feed foot. To make the DIY stabilizer fusible, simply iron some fusible webbing such as Pellon Wonder Under to both sides of the felt.
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