The No-Sew Fabric Memory Collage

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

As children outgrow clothes, blankets, and other textile items, you may find yourself reluctant to toss them out. Often, the clothes of our loved ones hold precious memories that we want to keep forever. With this project, you and your children can upcycle clothes and other fabric items into sweet little works of art, just in time for gift-giving.


  • Fabric scraps
  • Scissors
  • Two-sided fusible web with a paper backing (you can find this at a fabric store)
  • Thin cardboard, like a piece of a cereal box
  • Craft glue, like Aleene's
  • Tacky Glue
  • Thin cloth, like an old dishtowel (to use as a press cloth)
  • Embellishments like beads,buttons, ribbon, etc
  • Empty CD Case
  • Tab from soda can or ribbon loop
  • Paint brush (optional)

For the grownup (or older child):

  1. Prepare your fabrics: Cut clothes along inner seams to make pieces of fabric that lie flat. Cut your fabric pieces into smaller scraps, approximately 5-inch square or smaller.
  2. Attach the fusible webbing: Following the directions on the package, iron one side of the webbing onto the back your fabric pieces, using a thin towel or other cloth on top of the fusible webbing to protect your iron. (You should end up with a piece of fabric that has the paper-backed web melted on to the back. Do not remove the paper!) Or, instead of using fusible webbing, you can use craft glue to attach your pieces in step 9.
  3. Carefully remove the front of the CD case and cut a piece of thin cardboard to fit inside.
  4. Select a piece of web-backed fabric for the background. Cut the fabric to completely cover the cardboard square from step 3. Keep fabric square and cardboard for later.

    For the whole family:

  5. When your fabrics and background are ready, your child can start creating a collage. First, ask him/her to think about what kind of scene they'd like to create. Perhaps they want to make a self-portrait, or illustrate a favorite memory of 2010. Sketch some ideas on scrap paper.
  6. Have your child draw on the paper side of the fabric to make shapes for the collage. Try to use a variety of fabrics. For instance, if your child is making a self-portrait, he/she can make a shirt and pants out of separate fabrics.
  7. An adult should use scissors to cut out the fabric shapes. Children can peel the paper from the webbing, making sure the webbing doesn't peel off the fabric entirely.
  8. Have your child arrange the shapes on the fabric square from step 4. Keep the paper on the fabric square, for now.
  9. An adult should use the iron and press cloth to attach the shapes to the background, ironing slowly so the shapes do not move. Once all the pieces are secure, peel the paper from the background and attach it to the cardboard square, moving the iron slowly over the whole collage. Or, you can glue your fabric pieces to the background, using craft glue and a paintbrush.
  10. Using craft glue, add embellishments to your creation, such as beads, buttons, ribbon, etc.
  11. Let your collage dry for several hours before sliding it into the CD case.
  12. If desired, cover the top part of the CD case with a scrap of ribbon and some glue. Glue a soda can tab or loop of ribbon to the back of the CD case for hanging.

Voila! You have made a fabric memory collage, perfect to use as a tree ornament, to hang on the wall, or even to send in the mail to a loved one. Since you have the fabrics prepared, try making more than one!

This month's recycled-fun project is brought to you by The Ohio Craft Museum, located at 1665 W. Fifth Ave., Grandview. The museum has free admission and free parking year-round. Now on view is "Gifts of the Craftsmen" holiday exhibition and sale. The museum is also offering gift-making workshops for children aged 6-12 on Dec. 11, 18, 20 and 21. In this one-day workshop children will create two projects suitable for gift-giving, complete with gift wrap. The cost is $25, and pre-registration is required. Call 614-486-4402 to sign up.