The Guilty Crafter's Dye-I-Y studio
By Angela Daniels
March 1, 2016
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Using Elmer's Blue Gel glue as a dye resist is one of my favorite dyeing techniques. It's fast, inexpensive and there are no limits to what you can write or draw on fabric. Since its almost St. Patrick's Day, I thought it would be perfect to create a "lucky" shirt to wear and dye it in one of my favorite Rit Dye greens: Kelly Green.
Rit Products Used
You'll Also Need
A computer printed sheet of paper with the word "Lucky" to use as a template. Also a magazine to use as a base for the paper.
4 gallon pot
Step By Step
There are very few supplies needed for this technique. Elmer's Blue Gel glue works best because, with it's light blue tint, it's easy to see where you are "writing" with it. It is also completely washable so after the final dyeing and rinsing stage, you can simply wash out the excess glue.
Pro-tip: ALWAYS pre-wash clothing and fabric before you dye! There are factory finishes on new clothing that can coat the fabric fibers and interfere with dye absorption. Occasionally, this could lead to "blotchy" dye jobs. Personally, I also avoid using fabric softener sheets in the dryer with articles of clothing I'm about to dye for the same reason (haven't proved this is an issue but it seems logical to me).
*GLUE* Once your tshirt has been completely washed and dryed, you can now "write" on it directly with your bottle of Elmer's Blue Gel Glue. Freehand is totally fine but for this "Lucky" shirt, I chose a font I really liked and printed out a piece of computer paper with the word "Lucky" on it. I placed the sheet of paper underneath the top layer of the tshirt with a magazine underneath for stability (and to make sure the glue didn't seep through the top layer of the shirt to the back layer- you don't want that. Always put a barrier between the front and back layer).
*DRY* The key to success in a glue resist project is to make sure the glue is COMPLETELY DRY before you move to the dye process. Still wet? The glue will just wash away in the dye bath leaving no resist or only partial resist. So be patient. I sometimes use a hairdryer to speed up the process in a pinch.
*Dye* Simply follow your usual dye directions. I filled up my kitchen sink about 1/2 way and used about 1/2 a bottle of Rit liquid dye in Kelly Green. Pro-tip: Have the water hot but not as hot as you might usually do for a dye bath (hot straight out of the kitchen tap worked for this project). If the water is too hot, the glue design could start to melt and wash away before you are ready for that to happen).
Soak until you achieve your desired color, stirring occasionally just as you would with any other dye project. Make sure you are dyeing in a large enough container (or sink) that your garment has room to move freely. Be mindful of the glue- your goal is that it does not rub or dissolve off during this process. Remember, it is acting as a barrier to your fabric where dye can't get in.
Pro-tip: Use Rit Dye Fixative to your freshly dyed garment and let it sit for 20 minutes (follow directions on the bottle). Rinse well in cold water until the water runs clear. Rinse very thoroughly so that when you do dissolve the glue (which you can do with hot water at the end of the process), there isn't small amounts of dye rinsing over the area your glue was covering.If there is still glue on the shirt, wash gently in warm water with mild detergent.