OPALS PAPER
From Annette Husband - Annette from Oz
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Dale Rollerson from The Thread Studio taught me how to use Vilene and Vliesofix at The Artistic Journey art retreat 2007.

Several months ago I had made a project using Fantasy Film and Opals embossing enamels. They were applied to a chipboard base and once I was happy with the piece I trimmed all the edges flush to the sides. After a week went by I was ironing clothes and went past my craft desk at some stage. The completed item caught my eye as I passed as a section had lifted were I had applied the Fantasy film to the Opals base. There were more Opals on top of the Fantasy Film so it was like FF encased in Opals sandwich. This gave me a dilemma as I could not use the heat gun to get the section meted and adhered again as it would have distorted the lifted bit and caused the Fantasy Film to shrink.

I went back to ironing and then thought “hmm maybe I can iron it down”. So I placed some Glad Bake(non stick cooking sheet) down on the ironing board, put the iron setting to cotton and turned the steam off (emptied all the water out just in case). Then I put the item on the Glad Bake and folded the Glad Bake over the section that needed repair and gently ironed it. The Opals melted and the lifted bit stuck down perfectly in place. I left the Glad Bake on top till the item had cooled again. Once cool and set I lifted the Glad Bake off and tada it was repaired and stayed where it was meant to. The section did not warp at all.

This got me to wondering if you could make thin sheets of Opals paper by ironing as well. So I got some Opals and sprinkled it on the Glad bake (pic 1), folded the Glad Bake over and ironed away (pic 2). Let it cool and lifted the Glad Bake off. I then had a thin opaque sheet of Opals (pic 3).

While I could indeed use it like a paper it was very fragile. I figured it needed a stable base so set about trying to iron it to a base surface. I’ve tried it on lace, Fantasy Film, fabric materials, skeleton leaves, Sheer Heaven etc but the one that has worked best for me is heavy weight Vilene which is sheets of porous stuff that is used for stiffening in clothes (pic 1 cut in house shape. Place the Vilene on the Glad Bake, sprinkling Opals on top of the Vilene, fold over the Glad Bake and iron as before. Leave to cool and peel off the Glad Bake. This gives you a firm base of Opals paper (pic 2 taken with flash and pic3 with flash tuned off) and is easily cut, folded, torn, stamped on and can be hand sewn or machine sewn with.

An alternative is to use the Vilene and then iron down some Vliesofix. Vliesofix is also known as Wonder Under and is a type of double sided heat bondable fusible webbing. You place it on the Vilene rough side down (smooth side is the backing paper so make sure that is left on) and iron. Leave till cool and peel off the backing. Now place down tissue or pretty fabric and iron again. The Vliesofix melts and adheres the material or whatever you use to the Vilene base (pic 1 with material bonded to the Vilene using Vliesofix). Now you can sprinkle Opals on (pic2) and iron to melt it into the base of Vilene and fabric (pic3 and 4)

It’s hard to see in the picture but all the embroidered lines in the fabric are now visible again (pic 4).You can leave it matte like or hit the surface with your heat gun to make it shiny. It is also translucent when you hold it up to the light, so would be great as a luminare/candle holder cover (pic 5).

I made a large butterfly dancer last month and did Opals Franklin transfers in the wings. I then wanted to put Fantasy Film and more Opals behind it. If I used the heat gun to adhere the Fantasy Film down and melt on more Opals afterward it would have remelted the Opals transfers and destroyed them. So I cut the FF to the wing size, sprinkled on Franklin Opals over the wing FF shape (pic1), ironed the FF and Opals (pic2), peeled off the Glad Bake when cool (pic3), placed it behind the Opals transfer section on the wing (pic4), placed Glad Bake on top and then ironed it onto the Opals transfers (pic5). It worked perfectly.

I repeated that to all the wing sections. After all were done I trimmed the edges with scissors where able and melted off thicker sections with my Clover iron so it was all flush with the wing edge (see photo below)

Then I made some Opals paper from Vilene. I covered the Vilene with white tissue paper using the Vliesofix to secure it. I then sprayed it with fabric sprays to add colour. When it was dry I placed bits of FF on top and ironed on Franklin Opals to seal it all in. Next I painted on some Jo Sonja Opal Dust paint and re-ironed it again (left).That gave me a lovely piece of Opals paper (right) to stamp the After Midnight belly dancer stamp on that became the butterfly dancers body (below)


There are endless things that can be done with this idea so hope you have a play with it. Try ironing on Opals on fabric flowers and fairy wings as I did in my Opals paper house project below, sewing with it and embedding stuff in the final layer by placing items on a finished Opals paper piece and iron it again to adhere it in place.

After Midnight Art Stamps