Small Space Tip for Fabric Surface Design

No need to have a dedicated area for printing fabrics in your sewing or craft space! BERNINA Ambassador Heidi Lund shares a tip to create a surface design area for printing or painting fabrics almost anywhere in your home.

Materials to create a temporary fabric print table:

  • Flat, stable surface such as a small table
  • Enough batting to cover the surface
  • Freezer paper
  • Blue painters tape

What you will need is a small flat surface like a table top. In this case, I am using an island in a kitchen. I have also uses a wide ironing board as well.

Surface Design Work - kitchen island

Gather together your supplies.

Surface Design Work - supplies

Cover your table area with two layers of batting. The purpose of the batting is to give you a little cushion between your fabric and the hard surface when printing the fabric. Next, cover your batting with the freezer paper placing the shiny side down against the batting. Use the removable painters tape to join the paper together, and to secure everything down to your table area.

Surface Design Work - Covered Work Space

You are now ready to print, stamp and stencil without having to worry about defacing your home!

Surface Design Work - stencils and paint

Once you finish having fun designing on your fabric, you will lift it up and see that the paint has not only imprinted on your fabric, but also on the top surface of the freezer paper.

Surface Design Work - printing

You can now, with confidence, add surface design to the backgrounds of your projects.  Here is an example of some of my fabrics that I have printed on. These pieces are great for backgrounds, cut up for sewing back together and for whole cloth motifs.

Surface Design Work - printed fabrics

Give this technique a try in your small area. You will be amazed with how little space you can create big things.

Quilt with printed fabric by Heidi Lund

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10 comments on “Small Space Tip for Fabric Surface Design”

  • Surface Design is one of my specialties. It’s great to see this article about how you can do it in a small space. Many of my friends think you need a dedicated area to do surface design work and they say they don’t have the space for it. I’m going to pass this article along to them so they can make a temporary fabric print table of their own.

    • Thanks Joanne,
      Not everyone has a huge studio space or even a garage that they can use for surface design. Being able to take a flat hard surface and turn it into a workable print space is nice. Again, I’ve been known to use my ironing board in my tiny home as well. I cover it the same way and let the fabric drape on either side. As I print, I slide the fabric and secure it with a pin or two, then set it aside to dry and work on another piece.
      Have fun!
      Heidi Lund

  • Thanks Heidi for the great tips..wonder if a TV tray would work. With a 2nd holding the paints, etc not in use and of course vinyl sheet underneath all as I am so messy… and probably on the lawn (as not sure my landlady in CA would be thrilled with new color on her hardwood floors).

    • Hi Candy,
      A tv tray would work well too, but you may need two of them – one to hold the paints, stamps, towels etc and another to have as your printing station! Enjoy. Be careful about putting plastic on hardwoods, it is really slippery!

  • Thank you for the info on creating a work space for stamping. I recently started this type of fabric embellishment/painting but have been limited. Since you had displayed your rubber stamps in your post, I am wondering where you found them or others like them. I am not having luck finding such bold, interesting rubber stamps. Would appreciate your feedback.

    • Hi Gloria, I look for interesting stamps everywhere I go. Many of my stamps are cut from gum erasers using a linoleum cutting tool purchased from my local craft store. I then glue them to a wood block sometimes using as many as 6-8 erasers. Use your search engine on your computer to search for wood printing blocks and you will see lots of options from different vendors for purchasing them. You can also use a piece of wood, apply double sided carpet tape that you purchased at a hardware store and stick items like washers, jute, sticks etc. to it for a terrific one of a kind stamp.

    • I really like using Lumiere paints, they are made by Jacquard and if you can’t find them at your local art store you can purchase them from You really can use any acrylic paints on fabric, just be sure to add a fabric medium to them. I like Liquitex fabricmedium.

    • Good question. Your home iron is not hot enough. I take my garments and fabrics and heat set them in my oven. I lay them on a large foil pan that has holes on it. Turn the oven on to it’s lowest temperature 170, and heat set for 15-20 minutes. I have even heat set the lumiere paints on suede this way.

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