Matted fabric collage instructions

These free instructions are for making a small piece of fiber art that will be placed in a matte board. It is a simple design that can be made with very small pieces of scrap fabrics. They are quick to sew and make great gifts.

Step 1: Gather your materials

Coordinating fabric scraps for collage

Focal point fabric: find a piece of fabric to feature. In this case it is going to be the gray cat at the bottom of the narrow scrap of fabric

8x10 matte board with cut out (or any other size you wish)

backer board the same size as the matte board (chip board, or matte board) (sometimes the matte board comes packaged with a backer board)

Small piece of stiff fusible interfacing slightly larger than the cut out  of the matte board

Glue stick and double sided tape (I like carpet tape)

Coordinating thread

Sewing machine, scissors & iron


Step 2: Cut & Arrange

Cut a piece of interfacing about 1" larger than your matte board inside dimensions. If your matte board cut out is 4x7 then cut the interfacing 5x8.

Place the interfacing with the shiny side up on your ironing surface.

Cut out the image from the fabric you are using as your focal point. Leave some background around the image.

Place the image in about the center of the interfacing using the matte board as a guide.


Step 3: Add the collage fabrics

Add small bits of fabric around the main image until you have completely covered the interfacing.

As you add fabrics, feel free to iron them down to the interfacing. Or you can wait until you get all the pieces exactly the way you want them.

Once all the pieces have been added, press the fabric to the interfacing.

Turn the whole thing over and press from the back side to make sure all the pieces of fabric have stuck. (This is where you might discover that you put the interfacing the wrong way!)


Step 4: Quilting

If you are comfortable doing free motion quilting, then this is a perfect project to use it on. Free motion stitch over all the collage fabrics so that you frame the center image.

If you don't feel comfortable doing free motion work, then a straight stitch will work just fine. Randomly stitch all over all of the collage fabrics.

The edges of the fabrics will not be finished. They will remain raw.


Step 5: Finishing the Quilt

Using the matte board as a guide, trim the quilt so that there are no pieces of fabric hanging over the edge.


Step 6: Getting the Matte Ready

Using the cut out in the matte board as a guide, trace the cut out onto the backer board.

Cover the inside of the traced area with double-sided tape. Burnish the tape down firmly.

Put some dots of glue on the back of the matte board (top, bottom, and sides) close to the cut out. Just put enough to hold the quilt and the matte board together.

Step 7: Matting the Piece

Align the image in the matte board. Place the matte board on the finished quilt and tack it down.

Remove the covering from the double-sided tape on the backer board.

Rest the bottom edge of the front and the back on a table and CAREFULLY line up the front with the back. Push them together once they are lined up properly. Press the quilt onto the backer board with your hand so that is sticks to the tape evenly.


Step 8: Sign Your Artwork

Sign the matte board and you are all done!

This little piece of art is now ready to frame.

Did you find these instructions useful? Were any of the instructions confusing? Would you like to see more pictures? What other projects would you like to see instructions for?

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And below is the obligatory copyright stuff...

2003 Loretta Alvarado
All Rights Reserved

Feel free to print out the instructions on this page for your personal use. And send your friends here too! They might find something they will enjoy. However, no fair reproducing or distributing your copy without my permission, that is a violation of my copyright. If you wish to make these pieces to sell, please contact me at I am happy to allow the use of my ideas as long as I know who is using them. Thanks!