diy laminated cotton

Make your own laminated fabric with Heat n’ Bond iron-on vinyl

Today I’m talking all things laminated fabric. Laminated fabrics are a nice thing to use whenever you want to build in some wipeability and water resistance into your projects.

And while you can certainly buy yardage of laminated cotton and oilcloth (laminated cotton’s thicker cousin), it’s really simple to make your own laminated fabric.

Plus, when you’re make your own, um, you can do cool things like add glitter!!

I’ll show you the easy process it takes to make laminated fabric, we’ll talk about some sewing projects it’s great for, and we’ll throw some glitter at it, literally!

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Supplies to make your own laminated fabric

  • Heat n’ Bond iron-on vinyl* or Pellon Vinyl-Fuse* (*affiliate links)
  • iron
  • pattern weights
  • paper scissors or rotary cutter with an old blade + cutting mat
  • cotton quilting fabric, canvas, or duck cloth
  • freezer paper (optional)
  • glitter (optional)
  • brown kraft paper (optional)

Sewing projects for laminates

Laminated fabrics are great for any kinds of sewing projects where you need some water protection. Or maybe mess prevention.

My dining room chairs are actually reupholstered in some fancy pants Marimekko oilcloth. It’s turned out to be one of the smartest upholstery projects my hubby and I have ever done. 4 kids + dinner + dining chairs =big mess. Ah, but the oilcloth sees that mess and you just wipe it away!

One thing to keep in mind is that iron-on vinyl is pretty narrow. 15″-20″ is pretty common. So, when you want to make laminated fabric, it’s best to stick to smaller projects that don’t need a lot of width. (no super DIY raincoats!! [insert sad face here]) Stuff like:

  • bathroom bags
  • wipeable bibs
  • reusable snack bags
  • pool tote bags
  • DIY makeup brush roll
  • wipeable placemats
  • Aprons (this would be sooooo great for block printing!)
  • dry bags

Getting your fabric ready for making laminated fabric

The first thing you want to do is cut your fabric. Don’t get fancy here. We’re going to be essentially melting the vinyl onto the fabric. Because of this, it’s better to cut plain old rectangles instead of fancy shapes. Any leftover vinyl around a weird-shaped pattern piece is going to be a bit of a mess to clean up.

You can always cut out pattern pieces later.

Heat n' Bond iron-on vinyl

Cut a piece of the iron-on vinyl the same size or maybe a tiny bit smaller than your fabric. Use paper scissors and the grid on the backing paper or an old rotary blade. I had great results cutting it with a rotary cutter.

Definitely, use some pattern weights to weigh down the edge of the vinyl as you’re cutting it. The paper wants to curl something fierce!

Peel off the paper backing

peeling off backing on iron-on vinyl to make laminated fabric

Next, lay out your fabric right side up on your ironing board. Iron it if it’s a little wrinkled. If there’s any lint or threads on the surface, remove them now otherwise they’ll be stuck, literally!

After that, peel off the paper backing from the vinyl. Save the paper backing! We’ll need it in a second.

Sticky side of vinyl to right side of fabric

laying Heat n' Bond iron-on vinyl to cotton quilting fabric to make laminated fabric

Press the sticky side of the iron-on vinyl (the side that was stuck to the paper backing) lightly to the fabric.

Smooth out the vinyl with your hand. You’ll notice it’s not ultra sticky, so if you need to reposition a corner that went a little weird on you, it’s no problem to fix.

Fuse the vinyl to the fabric

First, heat up your iron to medium and no steam.

adding Heat n' Bond iron-on vinyl to make laminated fabric

Place the shiny side of the backing paper over the fabric. If you threw away your backing paper or want to fuse it all in one go, cut a piece of freezer paper. Put the shiny side of the freezer paper over the fabric.

Press the fabric to the vinyl with the paper as your press cloth. Let the iron sit in one spot for 8 seconds before moving to the next section.

diy laminated cotton

Continue to move the iron on the paper only across the whole piece of fabric. Be careful not to let the iron touch the vinyl because plastic messes on metal are no fun to clean. At this point, it’s looking promising!

Finishing up pressing

When you’re done fusing the vinyl to your fabric, flip the fabric to the wrong side.

ironing the backside of laminated cotton

Press the iron on the backside of the fabric. Just like when you fuse interfacing, this will help the vinyl to really get stuck in place.

At this point, you’re ready to go, and you can sew up your new laminated fabric.

On to throwing a glitter wrench into the works…

5 thoughts on “Make your own laminated fabric with Heat n’ Bond iron-on vinyl”

  1. Have you applied the vinyl to the fabric, then cut out the pattern piece after? Is that a reasonable way to do it?

  2. Virginnia Winstead

    Just cut out projects that I plan to cover with heat n bond vinyl. Originally purchased to cover some homemade pennants (diy seasonal gnomes of course) to hang on flag stands outside, but ended up using spray-on was quicker and worked great! Since you’re an expert, can the “laminated” items be used as potholders, etc? Or can they be made heatproof? I used Avery fabric transfer sheets to personalize some small kitchen gifts (early Christmas things) and want to be sure they’re safe. BTW, I had no idea I was going to make laminated fabric which I’ve seen at stores. Wow, another new skill at 78. THANKS & BEST WISHES.

    1. You do not want to use laminated items where they will have to withstand direct heat, as the plastic surface could easily melt. It’s a shame because being able to wipe things clean is so nice! If you want to make something heatproof, you can quilt 100% cotton fabrics with 100% cotton batting, and ideally 100% cotton thread. Check out the bowl cozy pattern post for some ideas on that.

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