This cute fabric mushroom display ticks so many craft boxes for me: upcycling, vintage images, whimsical, inspired by nature and colourful.
During the lockdown, I decided to tackle my overflowing linen cupboard. I had quite a few old and worn sheets, many of which I repurposed into dust sheets (drop cloths) for when we paint. However, I did use one to upcycle for this craft. A pillowcase would also provide enough material for these fabric mushrooms.
The mushroom and fungi images were sourced from vintage natural history books. A lot of the mushroom paintings were actually by James Sowerby an 18th Century British Naturalist. I was also inspired by the work of the French artist Lyndie Dourthe.
I love the whimsical nature of this craft and the colourfulness of the mushrooms and fungi on display. It fits right in with many of my other nature-themed upcycled crafts, such as the denim faux moth taxidermy and my repurposed felt succulent garden.
I warn you these mushrooms and fungi are so cute that it can become addictive making them. I made far more fabric mushrooms than I needed so I ended up making a second display for a friend.
Once the vintage images have been printed out it can be very therapeutic hand-stitching the little mushrooms. As the stitch is simple, the craft doesn’t require much concentration. I made most of the mushrooms whilst getting watching Netflix.
As well as being a very simple craft it was also very affordable as I used mainly repurposed materials.
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What You Need To Make Fabric Fungi
The vintage mushroom fungi images. I have prepared four different collections of images you can use. Just click on the title of the collection you want to download the images.
What else you need to make fabric mushrooms.
- Fabric for printing – I used an old cotton sheet. The main thing is that the fabric needs to be thin enough to go through a home printer.
- Freezer paper – plastic coated paper
- Inkjet printer
- Fabric Mod Podge
- Needle and thread
- Fiberfill – I use the filling from old pillows.
- Cork strip
- Wood slice or driftwood
- Specimen pins
- Hot glue gun
How To Make Fabric Mushrooms
The first thing you need to do is to print the mushroom/fungi images onto fabric. There are different ways that this can be done, I choose the freezer paper method. This is very similar to the way I print onto paper napkins and tissue paper the main difference being the use of freezer paper.
Printing The Images Onto The Fabric
1.. Firstly, using an iron on a hot setting with the steam turned off, iron freezer paper to the cotton fabric. Make sure the plastic-coated side of the paper is in contact with the fabric. Iron until the paper has stuck to the fabric.
2. Next, using a rotary cutter and mat, cut out the paperbacked fabric so that it is the same size as standard computer paper (A4).
(If you want to avoid using freezer paper you can buy cotton sheets already prepared for printing. But you don’t get to choose the fabric.)
3. Next, place the freezer backed paper into your inkjet printers paper feeder. Make sure that the paper is placed so that the fabric side that will be printed on (and not the freezer paper).
Print the mushroom collection you have chosen onto the fabric sheet. In the printer settings menu, make sure you choose the best quality print option.
4. The printed fabric can then simply be removed from the freezer paper backing, by pulling it apart gently.
Making The Fabric Mushrooms
5. Cut out the indidividual mushrooms with backing fabric the same size. I cut around the images so that there is a small boarder. Pin the pieces of fabric wrong sides together.
6. Next, to stop the fabric from fraying, brush the raw edges of the mushrooms with fabric glue.
7. Next, stitch the two pieces of fabric together using a simple blanket stitch. Blanket stitch is a handy decorative stitch that can be used on fabrics that don’t fray, like with my giant felt letters.
Leave a small hole to stuff with fiberfill. When stuffed then stitch the hole closed.
8. Carry on cutting out and making fabric mushrooms and fungi. It is good to have them in a variety of sizes for the final display. I enjoyed making the fabric mushrooms so much, I got a bit carried away and ended up making far more than I needed.
However, this did give me more choice when arranging my mushroom art. I also had enough to make a second display to gift a friend.
How To Display The Fabric Mushrooms
10. In keeping with the natural theme of this upcycled craft I used a piece of old drift wood to display the fungi on. To make it easy for the specimen pins to stick the mushrooms to the wood, I stuck a strip of cork to the top of the wood.
I just cut up an old cork mat to size and used a hot glue gun to attach it to the log.
11. Finally, to stick the fabric fungi to the log simply use specimen pins. With the cork, it is easy to rearrange the fabric mushrooms until you are happy with the display.
As you can see, I placed the smaller mushrooms at the front and the larger ones at the back.
As I already mentioned I made far more fabric fungi than I needed for this upcycled art piece. But lucky for me when my friend saw it, she requested one for her birthday. So I made another art arrangement with the spare mushrooms. This time I used a wood slice instead of a log for the display.
As well as the freezer paper method used for this craft, there are another 3 different ways you could have printed the mushrooms onto fabric at home. All those methods are described in this how-to print onto fabric tutorial.
I have a thing about mushrooms at the moment and since making this mushroom display I have made a mushroom garland. But this time I made DIY fabric mushrooms out of old fabric swatches.
These fabric mushrooms featured under the letter f for fabric in the alphabet of clever upcycling ideas.
If you liked this fun upcycled craft, then you should check out some of my other cool adult crafts for lockdown. If the whimsical nature appeals to you then you will probably like these Scandi Felt Christmas trees also displayed on a wood slice. Or if its the use of vintage natural history images then check out this vintage parrot decor.