Saturday, February 10, 2007

How to use burning tools as fabric scissors

Rhianon asks:
I have heard that you can use a burning tool as scissors with fabric butI don't understand what that means. Thank you.

Oh, more pyro stuff! One of my favorite things to do. Yes, you can use a burning tool as scissors although you aren't really cutting with them, you are melting the fabric instead. You can use a fine-tip soldering iron, a hot knife (specialty tool), or a woodburning tool. You can use it on nylon and polyester to cut and finish the edge, all in one step. The fine tip allows you to draw graceful curved designs freehand, and the heat-finished edge prevents fraying. For instance, it is great for making holes in fairy wings (organza) and for creating shape. If you have an art quilt that has many layers of sheers you can burn through the different layers to show different colors - or just for the texture and embellishment aspect of it all. There are quite a few art quilt books that teach how to do this.

There are two safety issues here; 1) fumes 2) red hot tools. Melting synthetic fabric can release fumes and/or chemicals into the air so you should do this in a well ventilated area or wear a respirator. Naturally your tool must be hot to melt the fabric and therefore it can also burn your skin. Be very careful with these tools and never leave them unattended.

Hope this helps,

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Good tips...thanks! I can see a lot of uses for this when you need something not to fray. Fairy wings, too...good idea!