How-To: Fabric Paper Chain

Craft & Design

I loved making paper chains when I was little as a way to countdown the days to something excited, like Christmas, or for impromptu decorations in my bedroom. Today I still love to make them, but sometimes I use such fun papers that I worry about storing them safely or, worse, having to recycle it if the papers are damaged or crushed. This got me thinking – what if I made those recognizable links out of a different material, like fabric, that I could use again and again? Fabric on its own would still be too flimsy, but if you add some heavy duty Wonder Under to it, the fabric links are ready to go. Top it off with Velcro closures and the links can be re-arranged or even stored flat. Here’s how you can make your own fabric “paper” chain just like I did using a few patterns from the Birch Fabrics Circa 52 collection.

I got about 8-10 links out of each fat quarter. I used four fat quarters.

  • Fabric fat quarters (you can pick up some at the store or cut your own – 18×22″)
  • Heavy Duty Wonder Under
  • Sticky Velcro dots
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Cutting surface
  • Rotary cutter
  • Ruler
  • Scissors

Start out by ironing your fat quarter, pressing well to remove as many wrinkles as possible.
Fold the fabric on the longer side and cut in half.
With one piece of the cut fat quarter, place right side up on top of the Wonder Under. Line up one long and one short side to the piece of Wonder Under. Trim off excess Wonder Under. With your iron on the hottest setting, start ironing in the middle and work your way out. Use firm pressure as you move about the fabric. Turn the piece over and iron the back, too, making sure to use smooth motions to avoid creating wrinkles. Set aside and let cool for a few minutes.
Peel the backing off the Wonder Under. If you’re having a hard time peeling the fabric, iron again.
When the backing has been peeled off completely, take the other half of your fat quarter and place the wrong side to the backed side (right sides should face out). Iron again to fuse the two pieces together.
Trim your fused piece so that all sides are even. Mark two-inch increments along the piece. With your ruler and rotary cutter, cut out the two-inch strips.
Once your done rotary cutting, cut each strip in half.
Place a sticky Velcro dot on one end of the strip. Press and hold firmly to create a secure bond with the fabric and the Velcro. Place the matching Velcro dot on top and flip over the other end of the strip to create a link. Press and hold firmly once more.
Your link should now look like this.
Create as many links as you like. You can hide the ends in the middle of the links as you go along. Experiment with holiday colors, leftover scrap fabric, etc.

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