You know how this goes already. Great idea. Takes a lot of time. Get it 75% done. Move on to the next urgent project, but you’re gonna finish the first one as soon as you’re done.
Almost a year later, after you’ve moved the first project around twenty times, and threatened to finish it, you finally see a window of opportunity, and BAM!
(Try to ignore the fact that the word thread is crooked. I can’t, but maybe you can.)
Last fall we had a few days in The Green Apricot studio making these floor cloths. We had a great time, and it was much easier to do in the studio space than it would have been to do it at home. I didn’t finish the three that I began last fall, and when we had Stuff Your Stocking days at the studio last week, it hit me that I wanted to combine one of the projects with one of my unfinished floorcloths.
The whole process is a bit complicated because there are so many steps and a lot of dry time in between each, so I think we’ll do it a little differently next time. And there will be a next time.
The first time I do a project like this, I follow the directions. I know, shocking. I do it with recipes too. In the process I figure out what I think really works, and what shortcuts I can take. We used the books Floorquilts! by Ellen Highsmith Silver and Beginner’s Guide to Floorquilts by Carolyn French. Both are very similar as far as directions and products used.
I won’t go into detail about how exactly to make the floorcloths because I believe in obeying copyright laws, but I will say that after finally finishing the three I started last fall, there are a couple of things I would do differently.
All in all, I would advise following the directions in order to get the longest lasting floorcloth, but the main thing I would change is using a bit of fusible web to make the process easier. For instance, in “Dont Thread On Me,” it would have been a bit easier to have fused the pieces of the letters together rather than trying to decoupage each part of the letters. Also, in “United We Sew” I used fusible web (Steam A Seam II) to adhere the states and the outer border to the background. It was much easier because I could arrange things, stand back and make sure I was pleased, then actually fuse them down. I feel like I could have prevented the word thread on “Dont Thread On Me” from being crooked if I had been able to do that.
Steam A Seam II is a repositionable fusible web that doesn’t use an iron until you are ready to fuse everything in place. I did a blog post about fusible webs recently, and you can click here to read The fuss about fusibles. One of the bad/good things about this product is that the release papers have a tendency to want to release a bit too much, and can come apart easily. This was perfect for building the border around my floorcloth. I just peeled back one of the papers, temporarily stuck random fabrics to the exposed fusible, lined it up on my floorcloth, then fused down half of it lengthwise to the top, turned it over, and fused down the other half to the back.
Be sure to use two protective sheets when fusing, whether they be teflon sheets or just regular freezer paper. Otherwise it is easy to get fusible on the iron or ironing surface.
There are a number of processes, and stinky chemicals, involved in finishing out the floorcloths in order to make them both durable and safe. I didn’t take pictures of each step of this, but you get the idea. Above is one of the last steps- adding a nonslip product to the back to prevent it from sliding on slick floors. It truly is a messy and smelly process, which actually makes it perfect for the studio. Nothing to clean up at home because it’s all at The Green Apricot!