Terial Magic™ is a non-aerosol fabric stabilizing spray that was the subject of a demonstration at our most recent meeting of JAMs (Judy’s Altered Minds). Treated with Terial Magic, fabrics do not fray when cut, sewn or ironed, and they hold shapes and folds.
Originally created for use in creating dimensional fabric flowers, Terial Magic can replace stabilizers and fusibles for quilters and embroiderers and keeps fraying in check for all kinds of fiber and mixed media art.
Terial Magic (pronounced like material) was created for use on fabrics that fray at the edge when cut, or lightweight fabrics that need to have more body to be easily handled. For our demonstration, we tested it on cotton and batik, but the manufacturer notes that you can use it on T-shirt jersey, polyester, wool and many other fabrics. Pictured here, clockwise from top: Terial Magic fabric stabilizing spray; origami fabric dress card, dimensional fabric flower (both by Linda Morgan) and fabric die-cut into tag shape.
Treated fabric has a noticeable body, much like a sheet of paper — it is not stiff or plasticky. There is no difference in the fabric’s feel or finish, and colors remain true with no shift lighter or darker. Treated fabric is ideal for:
- creating dimensional flowers and leaves or other 3-D embellishments for fiber art or clothing (the manufacturers do suggest using a clear matte acrylic spray on dimensional fabric flowers to give even more permanence as well as water resistance)
- paper piecing
- cutting appliqué shapes (raw-edge, or easily finger press under ¼" allowances for hand or machine stitching) and any intricate shapes
- machine embroidery (instead of fusible or paper stabilizers)
- computer printing photos and images (example here, a vintage cherub image was computer printed on white fabric treated with Terial Magic. The fabric can be trimmed with clean, no-fray edges and has a paper-like consistency so it goes through printers with no problems or jamming)
- fabric origami (see example below)
- running through electronic cutting machines (see die-cut fabric tag in the photo at top)
- and more!
Above, an origami dress pattern folded from fabric treated with Terial Magic and glued to a paper card base.
The spray is simple to use: place your fabric in a bowl or tray and spray it all over, saturated it thoroughly. (See below image, courtesy of the Terial Arts website, or visit YouTube for a quick video step by step.) If you are treating a larger quantity of fabric, place it in loose folds, and pick it up and rearrange it while spraying to reach everywhere.
Wring the fabric out, to move the product through all the fabric and to remove the excess (we saved the liquid and repoured it into the bottle). Hang the fabric to damp-dry. We were able to hang some fabric outside in the summer sun and it was dry in mere minutes; our friend Linda draped her fabric along the side of her laundry tub, so it took longer.
Once your fabric is damp-dry, iron it to remove any wrinkles. Unlike starch, Terial Magic does not scorch and leaves no residue either on your fabric or you iron’s soleplate. You can also iron completely dry fabric with fine results. If you are using your fabric to create dimensional flowers and leaves, you may wish to let your fabric air-dry completely, leaving the wrinkled texture alone. This gives your fabric leaves and petals a realistic, organic look.
Treated fabric is very easy to stitch: it is stable and will not shift or stretch as you sew, plus there is no residue on your needle or the sewing machine surface.
In the photo above, we began with two strips of 100% cotton fabric: top, untreated; bottom, sprayed with Terial Magic. The same pre-programmed machine stitches were used on both sides, and you can easily see the difference: the treated portion shows flat stitches with no pulls or puckers.
During our demo, we were asked whether this product could be used to create a pleated dress for a doll, and Linda quickly pleated and finger pressed a rectangle of treated fabric (pictured right). We later ironed the pleats in, resulting in knife-like sharpness (see inset) — we had to work to pull the pleats apart in order to get the fabric to spread.
The product has a pleasant, non-chemical scent, — it reminded us of a ‘linen’ scented candle or fabric softener. It has a slippery feel to your skin as you work the product through, similar to a hair conditioner, and easily washes off your hands.
Terial Magic is water soluble and can be washed out of your fabric if desired, e.g., using it to piece and appliqué a quilt. But it is safe to leave in fabrics permanently, which is another notable feature: starched fabrics can attract bugs such as silverfish, especially depending on the climate and humidity levels, which can ruin stored quilts or linens.
Visit the Terial Arts website for additional resources: video tutorials, project ideas, free pattern downloads and more.
Note: Post updated 11/6/2017 with updated links, including YouTube instructional video, and other edits.
How was this a good thing to use in paper piecing.?
Gives the fabric some extra body and with the lack of fraying, enables you to use tiny scraps and “short” a seam allowance if necessary…folds back nice and crisply.
I use Terial Magic on lightweight cotton fabric that I use for machine embroidered quilt labels and other projects. Even on very dense, heavily embroidered designs there is no puckering and I don’t use any other stabilizer, so there is no trimming or stabilizer showing on the front or back. I just got a Scan n Cut machine, so I am anxious to try Terial Magic on fabrics to be cut on this machine.
I carnt get my felt to go stiff help
Terial Magic is intended to stabilize cotton fabric, and it never goes “rigid”, if that’s what you mean by stiff. What is the fiber content of the felt; is it felt you are making or are you trying to stiffen craft felt (which is often a synthetic)? We’d suggest contacting the manufacturers directly at https://www.terialmagic.com/pages/contact to see what advice they might have for you.
I brought this product ti print photos on fabric its prints great BUT photos way away,even heat set, 100% cotton etc.
Tell me how to do use to keep photos from washing away that’s why I brought it
Nedra, while Terial Magic does stiffen fabric so it feeds through a computer, it does not have any chemical properties to fix ink and does not claim to do so. Using a computer printer to create images on fabric stiffened with Terial Magic would be intended for an art quilt or project that wouldn’t be laundered. You must use a product specifically developed for quilters to create imagery that can be laundered, such as EQ Printables: https://www.artisticartifacts.com/category/pfii.html
I’m new to mixed media. If using product on fabric, will it remain paper like if included in a collage?
We mix paper and fabric all the time, whether the fabric is treated or not. What specific product did you have a question about?
How does it work for spraying on t-shirts of a t-shirt quilt?
It works very well to stabilize T-shirts and jersey/knit fabric!
I read the post about the felt. I take it Terial magic doesn’t work well with synthetic material? I was looking for something to stiffen up netting/tulle etc. My project is an underwater/coral reef wall hanging and was going to use Terial magic for some tubular coral. Btw, I’m so glad I stumbled onto your website!! I am sharing with all my friends…
No, to work, Terial Magic must soak into the fabric, allowed to dry almost completely, then ironed flat. Only natural fibers work with the product.
I’ve been doing some machine appliqué lately with background stabilized by a fusible tear away embroidery stabilizer. It works great to prevent puckering and tunneling of the machine stitch but I hate picking it off the back of the completed piece with tweezers… Do you think Terial Magic would be sufficient to stabilize the block background fabric for machine appliqué without needing any additional stabilizer?
Rebecca, please try it — we think it would be a great substitute for tear-away stabilizer for machine applique!
Will this product work on polyester chiffon? I am having problems at the sides of this material. Can I just spray the four sides of my material or do I have to spray all of the material?
Sorry for the delay in replying. We have only used the product on cotton and cotton blends, so we cannot speak from experience. We would encourage you to try it! Our assumption would be that you could treat an isolated portion of the chiffon rather than the entire piece.
I embroidered a project with tear-a-way stabilizer. The lettering puckered. Can I use this product on my finished project to eliminate the puckering? Or is it too late because it has to be applied before embroidering?
Joanne, apologies for the delay in replying. It is a product meant to be applied before any stitching, so we don’t think it would help after the fact. We’ll see if we can find any advice for you.