Reported by Erika Martin
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As a mixed media artist, I’m always on the lookout for new media to use with my creations. I was excited to try out C&T Publishing’s Lutradur Mixed Media Sheets. The packaging describes it as a versatile cross between fabric and paper. According to the website, it’s a “fabulously versatile non-woven fabric. You can cut it, sew it, paint it, print it, stencil it, stamp it, pleat it, dye it, distress it, draw on it, die-cut it, punch it, sculpt with it, bead it, do gel transfers onto it, weave it.” That description totally fascinated me.
When I received my Lutradur sheets, the first thought that went through my mind was that it reminded me of heavy-duty type of interfacing that one would use in sewing. There are two different weights of Lutradur in the package. They are 8.5 x 11 inches in size and there are five regular sheets (70 gram) and five heavyweight sheets (100 gram).
While I don’t own the book, “Fabulous Fabric Art with Lutradur” (by Lesley Riley), there are a lot of great pictures on the back of the packaging of the Lutradur sheets to get your creativity going, as well as some cool ideas on Lesley’s site. Lesley also has some videos up that show how she uses Lutradur sheets in her own creations.
I tried a variety of different techniques and projects with my Lutradur sheets and have found myself quite addicted to them now.
For my first project, I created a canvas project and used my die cut machine to cut shapes out of the Lutradur. At first, I tried the skinnier Sizzix die (also known as Sizzlits). The first run through the machine didn’t even cut into the Lutradur.
I put about 4 thin shims on top of the die and ran it through again and while it cut through the Lutradur, it wasn’t a clean cut and I had trouble breaking the die cuts away from the Lutradur.
Next, I tried one of the biggest dies from Sizzix (the Beauiful Butterflies die from Stampin’ Up – one of the Bigz Dies) and had flawless cutting. I tried a few layers on the die at once and they cut beautifully.
I used Shimmers Spray to color the butterflies. The ink from the spray turned a bit lighter after they dried, but they had such a delicate look to them with the fibers of the Lutradur.
I wanted to see if the Lutradur would hold an embossed impressions so I put the butterflies into different embossing folders and ran them through the Big Shot and I love the texture that it resulted in.
I found that the thicker sheets of Lutradur had a very pronounced embossed effect while the thinner sheets held the embossed image, but it wasn’t a pronounced as it was on the thicker sheets.
I decorated a canvas to put my butterflies on so that they resembled an entomologist’s display board. I used large safety pins for the body of the butterflies by adding beads and weaving the pins through the center of the butterflies.
I then used high-temp hot glue to secure my butterflies to the canvas.
My daughter brought this canvas as a gift to a friend’s birthday sleepover and it was a huge hit all around!
My next project included using the Lutradur in my sewing machine, printing on it in my ink-jet printer and distressing it.
Because the Lutradur sheets are sized at 8.5″ x 11″ inches, they fit in a printer perfectly. I used a thicker sheet (the heavyweight, 100 gram sheet) in my printer to print a picture of the Eiffel Tower on it. The printing went perfectly.
I used a pair of decorative scissors to give the edges a bit of a vintage and worn feel.
Next, I used some Shimmer Spritz to add a bit of distressing to the image. Because I used an ink-jet printer, my image started to bleed and it lost its detail. When it finally dried, it had a blurry and hazy look to it, but I could still tell it was the Eiffel Tower. I chose some embellishments to add to it so that the blurry picture would be complimented by them.
I sewed together a couple pieces of fabric with two pieces of denim inbetween (I didnt have any batting, so I cut a couple pieces of denim from an old pair of jeans that I had used parts of for another project) to create the cover of an artist’s journal. I pinned the Lutradur on top.
I then sewed the Lutradur onto my journal cover with my sewing machine.
I ran my embossing gun over the Lutradur to give it a bit of a worn feel. I came to realize that using the embossing gun on Lutradur is one of my favorite techniques. I love the texture that happens when the Lutradur is melted, twisted and turned with the heat from the gun.
I tore some pages out of an old book that I got from the discard pile at the library (I think the librarians would shudder if they found out all the crafty things that I do with the books I get from their discard pile) and sewed those into the inside of the journal cover with a piece of Lutrador that I had printed as a sample with a picture of the Eiffel Tower on it. These pages will be used to paint on, sketch on, journal on, etc.
My next project was to experiment a bit more with the embossing gun on the Lutradur and to do some beading on it. Beading was one of the uses for Lutradur that was advertised on the packaging so I wanted to try it out.
I cut a piece of thick Lutradur in half using my paper cutter.
Cutting with the paper cutter was effortless and it cut just as easy as any piece of cardstock would. There was no fraying at all. Just a clean cut.
I used my embossing gun to melt and shrink the pieces of Lutradur down. The effect that I got was a really pretty tattered and textured look. The Lutradur took on a harder feel to it after it was melted with the gun and that made it even more sturdy.
The sturdy feel of the Lutradur was perfect for beading. My grandmother recently sent my daughter a little baggie with a couple of fake pearl necklaces that had broken, along with a couple of maroon bows. She figured that my daughter would come up with some sort of craft project to use them on. Instead, I took the beads and bows and made something for my daughter out of it. I used black thread (so that it would blend in with the background of the little purse I was making) and threaded the fake pearls on.
I did the beading on both pieces of Lutradur that I had cut and then sewed them to the front and back panels of the little purse that I created. I recently took up some pants for a friend’s son and I saved the pieces that I cut off the bottom of the pant legs because I knew they would come in handy for a project – I turned one of the pants cuffs into a purse.
I added a couple of Lutradur handles to the purse and used my embossing gun to melt them and sturdy them up a bit. I added the two little maroon bows to the front where the handles ended.
Voila! An upcycled purse that uses the cuff off a pair of pants, fake pearls from broken costume jewelry, a couple miscellaneous bows and some melted Lutradur.
For my last project, I wanted to try dying some Lutradur to see how it would take inks. I cut a bunch of circles of different sizes using my die cut machine and the Sizzix Circle #2 die.
I then put a little bit of water in some bowls and added some re-inkers (used for re-inking stamp pads) and stirred them up.
I dipped the Lutradur circles in the water and sloshed them around a bit to fully soak the circles.
I put them all out on a piece of poster board to dry. (I also cut some circles out of old book pages – gotta love that discard pile at the library – and dyed those with ink, as well).
I then ran my circles through my sewing machine to create a fun and colorful garland.
This garland can be strung up on a wall, across an archway or doorway, along a mantle, as well as wrapped around a tree or bush.
To keep it all in one place, I wrapped it around an empty glue bottle that I had hanging around. This keeps it from getting it all tangled and ready to hang up in the next place I want to add some color.
The final color and intensity you get with dying Lutradur will depend on the kind of ink that you use and how much of it you use. While I was dying my circles, I found that the color was too light, so I added more re-inker to the water. I tried alcohol inks, but found that some of the inks didn’t want to fully disperse in water and beaded up on the Lutradur so dye-based inks worked better for a dye bath.
- Two different thicknesses in one package
- Great price point for 10 sheets total – $9.95
- Can be used in a multitude of ways – sewing, cutting, printing, etc.
- Can hold a lot of different artist’s media – gels, paints, inks, etc.
- It can be melted and molded
- Convenient 8.5″ x 11″ inch size for putting through a printer
- Not easily found in most big-box craft stores. I called around to the different crafting stores in my area (7 stores in all) and only one store carried this product (a high-end fiber and quilting shop). The upside is that it’s easily found online.
- Die cutting has to be done with heavy duty die cuts to get a clean cut (Sizzix brand “Sizzlits” don’t give a clean cut)
- While the 8.5″ x 11″ inch size is great for putting through a printer, this is the largest the 75 and 100 gram weights come in (although the Ultra-light comes in a 20″ x 72″ inch piece)
Honestly, I found the con list so inconsequential and just loved working with this product!
Lutradur Mixed Media Sheets can be found on Amazon for $9.95 (10 sheets, two thicknesses).
C&T Publishing also carries Ultra-Light Lutradur (25 grams – $9.56) on Amazon. Though I personally didn’t have the opportunity to work with this product, now that I’ve tried the other two thicknesses, I’m definitely interested in trying the ultra-light out.If you’re looking to expand your crafting library and learn 27 techniques and 14 projects with Lutradur sheets, Lesley Riley’s book, “Fabulous Fabric Art with Lutradur,” can be found on Amazon for $14.25.
Have you tried Lutradur Mixed Media sheets? How do you use them? Leave us a comment and let us know!