Adding Bling with Foils



Sometimes you just need a bit of bling. It can be to add focus or light to a piece or simply for the sake of adding a bit of sparkle.

By Cecile Whatman, Unique Stitching


 I like bling – a lot, but you do need to use it carefully as a feature, not a tsunami of sparkle.

Foils can be applied to any surface as long as you have something to bond it with. If you can rub glue or tape onto your chosen surface or iron double-sided web like Vliesofix on, then you can add foils. It’s most commonly found in papercraft but all the examples I will show you are on fabric.

Foils are basically fine cellophane type surfaces that have colour lightly sprayed onto the back. The cellophane is coated by the colour, so you always work with the colour up and the silver side touching your bonding agent. Always work with the foils the right side up.




Here are three techniques for adding foil to your work.




1. Vliesofix or Double sided web

In the case of the rain drops above, I used gold holographic foil for the bottom left drop.

  • Use Vliesofix or what ever double sided web you have
  • Cut out your shape exactly (on the line) and iron the shape onto the surface you want to apply the foil to.
  • Cut your foil paper to size – just larger than your glue base.
  • Lay the foil paper right side (pretty side) up on the Vliesofix.
  • Cover with an appliqué mat or baking paper
  • Iron gently for a few seconds. Your iron does not need to be too hot – just enough to activate the Vliesofix.

Allow to cool completely, and then gently peel the foil paper away from the surface leaving the metallic colour behind.

In the case of the piece above, I wanted an antiqued, aged, perished look so I did not allow the Vliesofix to cool fully and some of the glue did not bond the foil to the fabric. The cooler you allow your Vliesofix to get the more solid and even the finish will be.


2. Bonding Powder

Bonding Powder is little particles of glue in a shaker. Originally designed as a mending product, I use it a lot to bond sheers, Angelina fibre and of course foils. This is a great technique for adding a soft, drifty finish.

  • Sprinkle a small amount of bonding powder on your fabric or other surface. A little goes a long way.
  • Place your foil right side up on your bonding powder
  • Iron until the particles of bonding powder activate and grab the foil. It won’t take long.

Gently peel the foil off. You will have a ‘sprinkle’ effect as the foil will only grab and transfer the parts where the bonding powder particles sit.







This piece (left) shows bonding powder and foils.








and here (above) is a more detailed look at it.







3. Fabric Glue Pens


There are a range of glue pens available depending on your surface. These can be used on anything, but are safe on fabric with a gentle wash. You can write, draw, stencil or stamp with these pens.







These are really simple to use. Simply write directly onto your surface. The glue will first appear cloudy and white.

  • Leave the glue to dry until it is clear. If you touch it, you will see that it is tacky.
  • Place your foil right side up over the clear glue.
  • Rub the foil firmly over the glue, ensuring there is firm contact across the whole glued surface.
  • Peel the foil off gently.


An “Into Craft” Special on Foils and Glue pens is available at Feedback or questions on this or any article are welcome on my Facebook page –

There is a lot of debate about what makes art, particularly in the textile area. Often the answer revolves around the idea that art occurs when you follow your own creativity, step outside that which is more commonly ‘crafted’ and manipulate materials and media in a way that is original and expresses your individual voice. This series will explore a range of techniques and skills that allow you to achieve this.




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