I have been given a ton of beautiful upholstery fabric sample books, but they have paper backing around the edges of the fabric. I would like to remove the backing if possible to maximize their use (especially the 100% silks). Any ideas on how best to do it?
By the way, I plan to make bags, quilts, and dolls clothes.
Kylie from Melbourne, Australia
Removing the paper might stretch the fabric out of shape. If the paper doesn't cover too much of the fabric maybe the best thing is to cut it off with pinking shears. (01/25/2008)
If it were me, I'd take a plastic dish-pan (from the dollar store) and fill it up with warm water and a little squirt of shampoo or dish soap. The soap is important because it "lubricates" the paper so it slips off. Then stack each piece under the water and leave the fabric over night or for a day or 2. Then take each piece out one at a time and lay it on a hard surface and carefully "scrub" off the paper using a toothbrush or a small scrub brush. Then rinse. Then hang each piece from a clothes line to dry or lay flat on a sweater drying screen if you have one.
* You really only have 2 choices: Either "soak" the paper off or "cut" the paper off. (01/27/2008)
I just soaked the fabric in some water with some detergent (lightly applied). The paper will come right off after soaking for a bit. Good luck. (01/29/2008)
We regularly used these when I studied Interior Design in art school, and there was no way to effectively remove the paper backing. If there was, we would have known about it and used it. A special glue was used to make sure the paper protected the fabric edges and stayed put. Most of the fabrics would be damaged if water was used to attempt removal. We just cut around it. (01/29/2008)
Beware, a lot of upholstery fabric changes character when exposed to enough water to soak the paper off, and as susanmajp stated, the glue probably won't come off, so you will have no paper, but still stiff crusty edges. Upholstery fabric often has heavy sizing or treatments like Scotchguard on them to give them the proper furniture, drapes, and cushions feel and help them last and stay clean. If you wash it in soap and water it will look like regular washed cotton fabric, or worse still, a crinkled jumbled mess. The dyes may run in the silks as well. Just a heads-up of what may (or may not) happen, and also should be considered when deciding to make a washable project. (01/30/2008)
Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts have something similar they use to adhere their patches to their uniform. It is really gluey and sticky and extremely hard to remove. I was told to bring it to the dry cleaner to have it cleaned and then when I got it home the patches would come right off. Well as a mom to three boys I can't afford anything at the dry cleaners at $5 per shirt.
I did the following and it came out like brand new and I was able to then sew on my new patches in the right places.
Soak in small amount of detergent and warm water. I use my kitchen sink and about 1/4 the amount of liquid laundry detergent I would use in the washer. Saturate item thoroughly and do not wring out.
Let it sit for approximately 15-30 minutes. Use a nylon scrub brush (the ones with a grip handle on top used to clean floors, etc.) and scrub the backing/paper off in circles. It may take several times and a lot of elbow grease, but it should eventually come off.
Once the backing/paper is off, if there is any remaining glue, repeat the process. I also used the back of a very dull knife to slightly scrap some of the glue off that the brush would not remove. You can't tell that there was ever anything on the shirt and it looks brand new.
Hope this helps.
I have great success using an iron. Just enough heat to loosen the glue and it peels right off.
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