Autumnal spendour – those fabulous dryer sheets (again)!

Whenever I tell people what I’m working on over the phone, there is an inevitable moment of pause, followed by, “you’re doing WHAT with dryer sheets? Dryer sheets?! Why on earth….” The conversation usually trails off with the implication that my mind must be a feeble and twisted thing, incapable of distinguishing a piece of garbage from appropriate material. I generally mutter something about needing to see it to understand and that pictures might be an asset to comprehension.

Okay, unbelievers. Get a load of this.

Dryer sheets, painted in an assortment of fall colours using Pebeo Setacolour transparent paints. To some I added pearl paint, to others I added Lumiere Metallic bronze or gold (boy was this a great idea!). The dryer sheets were allowed to dry on plastic sheets (my painting surface). When they were almost dry, I flipped them over to allow the other side to dry and to prevent them from utterly sticking to the sheets. After they were completely dried, I ripped them or cut them into bumpy lumps that were vaguely hedge-like in appearance. I went for a variety of shapes and sizes and worked quite deliberately at making them different.

Dryer sheets applied - close-up 3
Then I lit a candle and freaked the crap out of my husband by singeing the edges of the sheets. (Note: good ventilation is essential when doing this. Outside is best. Warn spouses before burning things late at night.)

After the edges were slightly melted, I held some of the larger sheets over the candle to melt holes in the middle. Then I got out the Lumiere paints again and touched up about half of the sheets. on some I painted the edges a little here and there, on others, I added veins that look rather like branches. The painted details are deliberately vague and rough, but add a nice touch, I think.

Dryer sheets applied - close-up 2

The next stage was to layer the pieces. This was the fun part……
Dryer sheets applied - close-up 1

Ta-da! Now all I have to do is stitch the stuff down. My intention is actually to go ahead and baste the quilt at this point, pinning the sheets in place for now. When I quilt the work, I’ll lift off the layers and attached them by quilting them in place, probably either by following the implied lines of branches or by using clear, mono-filament thread and sewing some amorphous wobbly lines; just enough to tack them own well.

See? I told you pictures would help.

Addendum: this technique would probably also make great autumn leaves….

a quickr pickr post


14 Comments Add yours

  1. Bonnie says:

    I absolutely love this piece!

  2. sarai says:

    This is great!!

  3. wwwwwwwwwwow. Vicky makes things look like things, or even more so.

  4. arlee says:

    Stunning depth of field and texture–wonderful wonderful effects again, V–you’re the best at this!

  5. Ferret says:

    Wow, I never knew dryer sheets could look so good. Consider me a convert.

  6. Micki says:

    Vicky, these look absolutely wonderful. I love this effect. I guess I am going to have to give it a try.

  7. Pam in Oregon says:

    Wow, what a beautiful quilt. Looks like a lot of work and imagination to be
    able to know how to place the fabric for the effect.
    Thank you so much for sharing

  8. sotd says:

    Gorgeous! Three cheers for transforming such bland materials into such a beautiful product.

  9. Phyl Petrovich says:

    OH MY GOSH!!! I Love it and want to try doing something with them. Maybe I’ll start hanging out at the local laundramat so I can beg people for their used dryer sheets. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  10. Penny says:

    Those are absolutely fantastic.

  11. arlee says:

    i knew everyone would love your work–you’re so inspiring! :}

  12. maggie in sc says:

    Awesome…and I LOVE your banner

  13. Awesome work going on here! Great blog and great visuals!

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