Discharged and Decorated

Inspired by the demo I attended on arashi shibori discharge, I dug out a bleach pen and a jar of Jacquard discharge paste I had bought some years ago.  I didn’t have any chemical to use as a bleach stop, so I relied on soap and water to rinse the bleach pen from my samples.  The discharge paste is used differently as it is activated by steam ironing.  Instructions say to wash the fabric to remove the product after ironing.

My fabric guinea pigs were a black cotton twill, hand dyed scraps, and cotton velveteen. My first experiment was discharge paste applied with a foam brush on the velveteen.

Discharged_velveteenDischargedvelveteen_sparkle_paintDischargedvelveteen_Inktense_pencilsThe first photo is of the whole piece of velveteen, with the middle section showing the discharge effect.  The second photo shows the Jacquard irridescent purple paint I tried out for the first time, while the third is a closeup of Inktense pencil treatment.  I’m really in love with cotton velveteen as it washes beautifully and stands up to abuse.

The photo below shows my attempt to stamp with the discharge paste.  Since you don’t see the results of the paste until you iron the fabric, it’s hard to gauge whether you’re applying enough paste for the effect you want. One surprise was the gold color that the twill turned when the black was discharged.

Stamped_discharge_pasteI made the spirals below with a bleach pen.  The top strip shows what happens when you use too much.  I dunked these in a bucket of water after about 15 minutes and then machine washed them.

Bleach_pen_dischargeFinally, I diluted the discharge paste with water and tried the stamp again.  I also swiped the scrap on the left with some of the leftover diluted paste.

Discharge_pasteConclusion – both the bleach pen and the discharge paste are thick, and the latter seems to be easier to use when it’s diluted a bit.  A downside to the discharge paste is the ammonia smell that is released when you iron the dry fabric. And it’s REALLY  important that you work in a well ventilated area with either product. My venue was a screen porch.  I found the bleach pen didn’t work at all on some all cotton fabric, which was too bad as it was really ugly fabric.  It’s important to prewash your fabric to remove any sizing that will block discharge.

If I use stamps again in this process I plan to experiment first with how the stamp prints before I apply my discharge agent. This experiment gave me a sense of how much product to apply and yet another way to mess around with fabric.


Filed under dyeing, In Process, Techniques

2 responses to “Discharged and Decorated

  1. Sounds like fun. I have “collected” a number of supplies to use in transforming fabric — bleach pen, shiva painstix, some lovely books to teach me. Seems like the only thing I’m missing is guts. In so many other areas of my life I figure, what’s the worst that could happen?? And yet I hesitate here. Thanks for the lesson and the inspiration.

    • Well, what’s helped me is having some friends who want to mess around with ways to alter fabric. If you know folks of such mindsets consider inviting them over for a play session.

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