Monday, February 22, 2016

Glue resist on fabric

I have been sorting out my textile magazines and have come across a few different techniques I want to try out. One of the techniques I have seen a few times is a glue resist on fabric so I decided to experiment with it.

Each article I read was a little different but the basic technique is to use washable glue to draw a design on fabric and then add color over it when it is dry. Later on the glue is washed away to reveal the design, looking a lot like batik without using hot wax. In almost all of the articles they mentioned using the blue Elmers washable gel glue. I was unable to get that here (unless I ordered online) so I decided to try a few different glues that were available to me in the local shops.

 Basically I chose any of the washable glues that I could find. The two Elmers products were on clearance so I doubt I will be able to get them again. Some of the bottles had large nozzles that were hard to control so I put those glues into small squeeze bottles that I had. That was the Crayola, the Mont Marte and the J Burrows glues. In fact the J Burrows glue bottle is so hard that I could barely squeeze it at all.

I also decided to experiment with the colors I was going to use to see the different effects I would get. Some instructions said to use paint and others mentioned dyes.

      I used some scraps of synthetic material to do my experiments on but you can use natural fibres too. This first sample was on unwashed fabric.  I wrote the name of the glue so I could find them later on. I also tried to draw small flowers with some of them but the glue spread too much. I painted over the right side of the fabric and used dye on the left.When it was dry I soaked the fabric for about an hour to soften the glue then hand washed it. The paints are very bright on the synthetic, the dye is quite muted.
     The two glues that worked the best were the Elmers white glue and the Kids glue by Portacraft (from a $2 shop). The other glues worked on the painted areas but not very well with the dye because they didn't penetrate the fibres as much. The metallic gold Dala fabric paint didn't really work at all (it is the green looking paint in the middle). It seemed to stick to the glue and not come off. At the very bottom I used a white Uniball Signo pen just to see what would happen. To my surprise it did work a little.

 This is after I threw the fabric in the washing machine to see what would happen. The crayola glue that didn't wash out properly by hand did wash away this time. Some of the white areas have become brighter too. 

This sample was done the same way but it is on washed fabric. I don't think there is much difference to the unwashed fabric. I also used the smaller bottles on this one to see if I had better control of the glues. I was able to take more care to get thinner lines.

After machine washing some of the fabric paint washed away but it is barely noticeable.

     These samples are a different variation of this technique. You place a stencil on the plain fabric first then use a silk screen ( I used a home made screen to spread the glue across the fabric. Immediately wash your screen and stencil so they don't get ruined. Then when the glue is dry paint or dye on top and leave to dry before washing out the glue.
       I used the J Burrows glue at the bottom and the Mont Marte glue gel (cheap store) at the top. Again I dyed the left side and painted the right. The left fabric is unwashed and the right washed.  I did heat set these fabrics in the microwave by placing in a microwavable bag and zapping for about 30 secs. The dye is a bit darker than the previous samples. I pressed too hard when screen printing the glue so the pattern is a bit blurred but the basic idea works. With a bit more practice I should get a clear image. The glue doesn't resist as well with this technique so the white is not as bright. 

After machine washing the fabric is as soft as it was originally, even the painted side. I think this would be a great way to make some pretty fabric of your own to use in your textile projects. You could probably do more stencils and colors on top of these for a multi-layered look. The possibilities are endless.

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