Back when I had decent eyesight, I did a lot of arts and crafts. I found it not only relaxing but also a great way to make gifts for my family and friends.
One of the things I loved to make for my female business colleagues were tapestry covered portfolios and briefcases they could use for work. Not only did these items display my appreciation toward the individual in question, but they were also quite useful.
Sometimes, I also made matching business card holders, address books, notebooks or other items and present the gift as a complete set. The same concept can also be used to cover photo albums and scrapbooks. It is a versatile process that you can customize any way you desire. Here are step by step instructions.
Step 1. Determine the item or items you wish to cover such as a portfolio, scrapbook or notebook.
Step 2. Decide on a color scheme. This will make it easier when you go shopping for materials.
If you making business-related items, take into consideration the color scheme of the base item (e.g., briefcase, desk, etc.). If you are covering a photo album, think about the type of photos to be included therein. For example, wedding photos would require a different type of fabric than photos of children. If you are covering a scrapbook, consider the individual for whom the book is being prepared; their personal tastes and the overall theme of the book.
Step 3. Decide what type of trim you want to use to finish off the piece. Braid, rope or ribbon works best for covering business-related items while lace or ribbon might better suited a scrapbook or album.
Step 4. Go shopping for the base items (e.g., portfolio, photo album or scrapbook). I do not, as a rule, recommend covering leather with tapestry but there are some good quality vinyl choices that will work well. Try an office supply store for business-related items and a craft or discount department store for photo albums. A scrapbook supply store is a great source for finding different styles and types of scrapbooks.
Step 5. Measure the items purchased to determine how much tapestry and trim you will need to cover them. Add an additional 3″ on each end.
Step 6. Shop for the other supplies needed to complete the job. These include tapestry fabric and trim as well as an adhesives that will permanently adhere to vinyl, leather, tapestry and cloth. I recommend a permanent spray adhesive or a liquid adhesive for the tapestry. Any type of cloth adhesive should work on the trim. Note: you will also need the following common craft items — brown paper or newspaper, scissors and a small clean paintbrush. You may already have these items or you can add them to your purchase list.
Choose tapestry fabric and trim in the type and color scheme chosen. Always be sure to purchase more than you think you will need so you have a sufficient amount in the event of an error. I suggest at least an extra quarter yard of fabric and an extra 18″ of trim.
Do not use tapestry that is too thick or heavy, as it will not provide a proper fit. The fabric chosen must be thin enough to meet the item’s natural edging without standing above it.
Choose braid, rope, ribbon or lace in a coordinating or accent color. It should be no thinner than 1/8″ and no wider than 1″ in order for it to finish off the item without looking over embellished.
Step 7. Make a paper pattern of the item to be covered. Make sure that it fits the item perfectly and covers it from end to end and top to bottom.
Step 8. Using the paper pattern cut your tapestry. Check it against the item to make sure it fits as desired.
Step 9. Adhere the tapestry to the item using the proper kind of adhesive. If using liquid adhesive, I recommend painting it onto the piece to make sure that every surface is properly covered. Allow the glue to dry according to the instructions provided on its label.
Step 10. Attach trim to cover the rough edges of the tapestry. Make sure that it meets perfectly and lies flat against the item being covered.
OPTIONAL: If you feel it is needed, you can use decorative buttons or filigree metal jewelry pieces to cover up the area where the trim ends meet. In most instances, if you have chosen your trim well; however, this step will not be necessary.
You can also use trim to further embellish the item if that is desired. However, that step should be planned in the beginning in order to make sure sufficient trim is purchased. In most instances, less is really more.
To protect the items once they are finished, use a fabric protectant like Scotch Guard to prevent it from staining.