Studio Snapshots | Testing Glue Resist

While indigo dyeing a bunch of scarves the other day, I had some time to try out something new that has been percolating through my brain for awhile. I’m a big fan of design blogs, and have enjoyed seeing indigo dyed shibori textiles become popular in the design world. On the heels of this interest (and sometimes confused with it as well) are textiles whose patterns are based on African mudcloth (called bogolanfini) designs, those too have been trending in the design world for the past year or two. Here’s a site that gives a great overview of bogolanfini, click on over if you’re curious! 

Anyway, I really love some of those patterns, and decided it was time to try it with a glue resist, which is a simple substitute for wax aka batik. It’s extremely hard to get the wax back out of fabric, most dyers I know that batik had to resort to sending it to the dry cleaners who used to have a solvent that would dissolve the wax, but that chemical is no longer available. I’ve read that Elmer’s washable school glue gel washes out in warm water, so I pulled out a piece of Essex Linen/cotton blend fabric and drew some designs:

On the far left design after drawing a line with the glue I went back and kind of worked it through the fabric with the tip of the glue bottle. This didn’t last long because it made the line wider than I wanted it to be plus it took so much longer that I knew I wouldn’t do this method very much if I had to rub the glue in each time! But, I did it enough to have something to compare it to. I then waited for the glue to completely dry, because I was in a hurry I pinned it in front of a fan and ran the fan full blast for a few hours. 

When it came time to dye, I just swished the fabric in the vat for 20 seconds or so. The glue got kind of tacky, so I gently submerged it for the second time and called it done, although usually I do at least 3 dips. The dye colored the glue so I had no idea if it was working until I hand washed the fabric in warm, soapy water.The glue quickly came off and white lines appeared, hooray!!!! Here’s the piece after it’s been washed and dried:

Here’s the back side:

You can see that there’s incomplete resistance to the dye on the backside, those fat zig zig lines and dots on the right side are where I rubbed the glue in, although it made a difference on the back, I don’t see much of a difference on the front which is great because I don’t want to do that!!!! I’m quite happy with these results and am ready to try a larger piece of fabric!