Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Real Oil Cloth


So the snack bags aren't up on Etsy or Art Fire yet but they will be soon! And to add to the good snack bag news I'm working on leak "proof" snack bags. My first thought for this was vinyl and that led me to using oil cloth. But I realized I wanted to be really green about this, I mean vibrant-in-your-face-kelly-green. So I thought a little harder about the oil cloth. I had looked into this fabric before and found out that all this supposed oil cloth was really cute cotton prints coated in PVC. I don't want PVC leaching into my food! The point is to get away from plastic. So I researched the wonderful web full or information for any and every project you could ever want to start. I quickly came up with the very simple and easy way to make oil cloth. Spread some oil on a piece of cloth. It really is that easy! Real oil cloth is made using cotton fabric and a flax byproduct called linseed oil.


This would be a natural alternative that wouldn't leach nasty PVC chemicals into my food (this link talks about the poisons of PVC). I devised a plan to construct a frame on which to stretch my selected cotton prints. I didn't want to staple the fabric to the frame and waste a whole inch on the edge (you can make neat things out of long fabric scraps). My thrift store embroidery hoops came to mind. I would make a large and bulky embroidery hoop that would hold about a fat quarter's worth of fabric without putting holes into the pretty pieces. I went to Lowe's (this was the fun outing alternative to the neighboring Ikea in Mission Valley) and picked up some long skinny boards, stiff metal joints, and found some boiled linseed oil. I have the outer frame mostly constructed, save the tightening mechanism similar to the embroidery hoops. Due to the lack of a real wood saw (I was stuck using my tiny metal jewelry saw with it's tiny little blades NOT meant for wood) the ends of my boards are really rough. I'm going to have to file down the inner frame board ends in order for them to fit inside the outer frame. Then it's just connecting the last few pieces and I will be ready to get greasy! I probably should have waited to start this project after we moved so I had some sunny outdoor space to apply the linseed oil but I think I'll finish it here and try at least one swatch. Stay tuned to see a final product and more about how cool oil cloth really is!
Happy Crafting,
Cerise : )

6 comments:

OmMama & KraftyKatina said...

Super awesome!

Proactive said...

From what I understand, boiled linseed oil is toxic. From my research, site recommend using raw linseed oil. I making oilcloth from some raw linseed oil that I bought. If anyone has done this I would be interested in hearing your experience.

Tandy said...

Linseed oil is also HIGHLY flammable. Between that and the toxicity, I'll probably avoid your etsy shop.

aphilo said...

Linseed oil isn't toxic once it's dry. Boiled linseed oil contains metallic dryers which makes the drying process go faster. You could always use regular linseed oil instead since it's edible. It may take a lot longer to dry though. Linseed oil is flammable, although I don't think there's any chance of my sandwich bag being near fire, so I'm not too worried. Besides Which my great aunt used real oilcloth all over her cabin in Alaska, and It never once caught fire even though they used oil lamps and a wood fire.

nancyk4u said...

I am very interested in "real" oil cloth too and plan to try this when the weather gets nicer. I would use the Raw Linseed oil. About being flammable? Not worried about that anymore than I would be vinyl laminate!

Nancyk4u.etsy.com

Marfa said...

Your etsy shop is empty. I just came across your page as I sewed some reusable sandwich bags today, out of fabric and would like to get oilcloth and just found out that most use PVC instead...so I'm going to try your method out. I used linseed oil a lot while in college, as I earned a bachelor's degree in fine arts and painted with oil paints!