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Colorful fabric wreath or box tops. You pad and glue cardboard.

An ancient Japanese art of forming padded relief pictures, oshi-e, requires the careful overlapping and gluing of batting-and fabric-covered cardboard shapes. After learning the art from fabric designer John Marshall of Oakland, we adapted its essential steps to create the wreath pictured above and the gift box adornments shown on page 130.

The pictures at left and on page 128 show steps in making the fabric wreath. From this basic method, you can vary the size of your wreath and form shapes for the box and package toppings. On page 130, we describe a slightly more complex technique of overlapping the padded cardboard shapes that remains truer to the methods of the original Japanese craft.

If you'd like to display your box-top designs elsewhere after gifts are opened, use double-sided tape to attach the designs to their boxes. Otherwise, glue the motifs to create permanent storage containers.

The wreath: 34 light and dark leaves and 4 bright pears

To construct the wreath, you'll need scissors, a felt-tip marking pen, and craft glue. You'll also need sheets of thin cardboard and two 14-inch squares of corrugated cardboard (you can cut the squares out of cardboard boxes), 3/4 yard of 1/4-inch-thick polyester batting, 1/4 yard each of yellow and green fabric, 3/4 yard of a darker green fabric, and scraps of brown fabric for pear stems.

Thirty-four leaves, each approximately 4-1/4 inches long and 2-1/4 inches wide, cover the wreath backing. Use a single cardboard leaf as a template to trace the other shapes out of cardboard and batting. Use small amounts of glue to attach batting to the leaves.

To make the fabric leaf coverings, use the template an equal number of times on both shades of green fabric, marking a line 1/2 inch from the template's edge before cutting out. Glue the fabric to the cardboard as pictured on page 127.

Adapt this procedure and use the yellow and brown fabric to form four pears with stems. The pears are 4 inches long and 3-3/8 inches at their widest point.

For the doughnut-shaped wreath backing, draw two concentric circles on each piece of corrugated cardboard: one with a 3-inch radius, the other with a 7-inch radius. Cut out the rings thus formed and glue them together; then place the backing on 1/2 yard of the darker green fabric.

Cut, clip, and glue the fabric to the cardboard according to the pictures on page 128. Glue the leaves to the backing, then glue the pears at equal distances on top of the leaves.

Decorated boxes with padded tops

You can make the padded tops for these boxes from fabric scraps by overlapping the design elements, just as you did with the leaves and pears.

But to make more subtle transitions between shapes, you might try a slightly different technique: leave the overlapped portion of each piece unpadded, so it can slip inconspicuously under the piece above. This way the overall design will be relatively flat.

For the chef design, we felt it would look best if his hat overlapped his head and his head overlapped his cravat. So, when cutting out the cardboard to form the head, we extended it upward about 2 inches to incorporate the shape of the lower portion of the hat. We glued batting to the head piece everywhere except on this extension and then covered the entire shape with fabric.

The cravat was extended upward in the same way to incorporate the lower portion of the head. Finally, we glued the hat to the unpadded portion of the head, and the head to the unpadded portion of the cravat, for a three-dimensional effect.
COPYRIGHT 1985 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Dec 1, 1985
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