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Fabric Fall Tree Collage
Projects : Fabric Fall Tree Collage Art Project

Tree-mendously Creative Collage Art

Creative Collage Art

Tree-mendously Fabulous Fabric Fall Tree Project

By Chris Dunmire

An autumn collage made from fabric or paper scraps!

My Fabulous Fabric Fall Tree is a fun, contemplative collage that you can create out of cut or torn fabric scraps. And if you like the idea but don't want to use fabric scraps, you can substitute tissue paper or other paper scraps as an alternative (see my tissue paper tree collage tips at the end of the lesson).

Learn how to make your own Fabulous Fabric Fall Tree by following the illustrated step-by-step tutorial instructions below.

Project Materials & Tools:

  • Base / Background Fabric
    (8.5" x 11" or your preferred size)
  • Autumn-Colored Fabric Scraps
    (orange, brown, red, yellow, green, tan, purple)
  • Scissors
  • Clear Drying Glue
  • White Crayon or Pencil

USEFUL TIPS: If you don't have extra pieces of fabric lying around the house, you can find interesting and inexpensive fabric scraps (remnants) at sewing and craft stores like Jo-Ann Fabrics or Hobby Lobby. I went to a store that had a special shelf / bin area with material remnants at a discount price. For example, a foot of a particular fabric remnant was only 25 cents. I left with over a dozen different fabric pieces and kept my spending to a minimum.

Step One: Coordinate Your Colorful Material Fabric Scraps

Project Instructions:

1. Coordinate your fabric scraps and make your base.

Decide what color combinations and textures you want to use for your base / background color, tree trunk and branches, and leaves.

Make your base by cutting out a letter-size rectangle or square at the size you prefer. I made my base out of a 8.5" x 8.5" swatch of textured blue fabric to emulate a blue sky background.

Step Two: Lightly Sketch Your Tree Design

2. Sketch your tree onto the background.

Lightly draw in a basic tree trunk with branches with your crayon as a guide for your collage. This doesn't need to be exact, as your fabric pieces will overlap and take on an organic form of their own as you build your tree.

Step Three: Fill in Your Tree Sketch with Fabric Scraps

3. Fill in the tree trunk and branches.

Start cutting or tearing pieces of fabric into strips to fill in your tree sketch. Taper off the ends of the "branches" and make them thinner as they reach higher up.

Position Carefully Before Gluing

Place the entire tree as you like before you begin gluing. You can even hold off on the gluing altogether until you've completed the entire collage. That way you'll be able to experiment with placement of branches and leaves until your heart's content.

Apply Oddly-Shaped Colorful Fabric Leaf Pieces

4. Add colorful leaves.

After the tree structure is in place, you can begin cutting or tearing out your leaves. The colors and quantity are entirely up to you. Since trees are dynamic through the fall season, you'll have to decide whether you want a full colorful leaf changing tree, or a sparse tree. Remember, nothing is final until you glue it all down.

What Else Can You Add to the Collage?

After you've finished positioning your leaves, think about other accents that will complete your picture. I made a sun and grass accent for this collage. Other ideas include clouds, birds, flowers, and fallen leaves.

Once you have everything the way you like it, glue it all into place. Go sparingly on the glue, as the fabric will absorb it quickly and bleed through the other side if you use too much (leaving visible shiny spots after it dries).

When your collage is dry, you may consider framing it for a finishing touch or using it as an element in another collage or piece of artwork. Now wasn't that tree-mendously fun? •

Paper Collage Tree Alternative

Paper Tree Alternative

If you'd rather make your tree out of paper, create a Fabulous Paper Fall Tree by following the same steps as above, but substituting paper scraps or tissue paper for the fabric scraps.

USEFUL TIPS: I found that crumpled paper grocery or lunch bags make good "tree bark" textures. You can darken them to the shade you like with markers or colored pencils.

Save money by coloring white tissue paper to create a variety of colored leaves for your tree instead of buying lots of colored tissue paper tints. Since I only had red and yellow tissue paper available for my above example, I colored white tissue paper with an orange marker to make orange leaves. Other color suggestions: brown, tan, green, and purple. •

© 2004, 2006 Chris Dunmire. All rights reserved.

About the Author | More by Chris Dunmire
Creativity Portal® founder Chris Dunmire works with artists, writers, and others desiring to reach deeper, more meaningful levels of creativity, artistic expression, and everyday joy. Visit her Web sites at ChrisDunmire.com and CoachingYourCreativity.com.