I'm getting ready to try batik with my children and will be using the blue glue techniques as they are under 9...but will it work with store-bought tie dyes?

Name: Nancy


Elmer's Paper Craft School Glue No-Run 4 oz Blue Gel

Elmer's Paper Craft School Glue No-Run Blue Gel

Popular as a water-soluble resist for effects similar to batik. Safe for children.

Jacquard Tie Dye Kit

Jacquard Tie Dye Kit

Dye up to 15 adult-size T-shirts, with vivid, electric colors that are so colorfast they can be washed with the daily laundry.

Jacquard Funky Groovy Procion MX Tie-Dye Kit

Jacquard Funky Groovy Procion MX Tie-Dye Kit

Get sizzling color and electrifying designs in just 3 easy steps. This professional-quality kit supplies enough to make 5 adult-sized T-shirts, or any natural fiber garment of equal quantity.

Message: I'm getting ready to try batik with my children and will be using the blue glue techniques as they are under 9...but will it work with store-bought tie dyes?

Elmer's Washable Blue School Glue Gel makes a good resist, without exposing children to the risks of working with hot wax. See Immersion Dyeing with Water Soluble Resist.

There are excellent tie-dye kits available at local stores, and there are horrible tie-dye kits available at local stores. It makes a big difference which you choose. The better tie-dye kits are ideal for batiking.

Do NOT buy the Rit brand tie-dye kit. It contains hot-water all-purpose dyes. Soaking the resist-treated fabric in the hot water plus dye will remove your resist, destroying the project. All-purpose dye is almost never a good choice for dyeing cotton; fiber reactive dyes are superior in so many different ways. Also avoid the 'Magic Strings' tie-dye kits, which contain an inferior hot water dye impregnated into the strings; these require that you boil the fabric with the strings tied around them, and the dye fades rather quickly if you ever wash the fabric you've dyed with it.

One of the easiest-to-find tie-dye kits, in local crafts stores or sewing stores, is the Jacquard Tie Dye Kit. This kit is an excellent choice. Since it contains cool water fiber reactive dyes, there's no need to soak the resist long enough for it to come off; you can just paint the dye on. Most other tie-dye kits contain the same sort of dyes and this are equally good for your purposes. If you can't find the Jacquard Tie-dye kit (or Jacquard's smaller kit, the 'Funky Groovy' tie-dye kit), look for a tie-dye kit produced by Rainbow Rock, Tulip, or Dylon. There are other brands that will also be okay; they contain Procion MX or Permabril C dye, or possibly Drimarene K or Remazol dye, plus they contain soda ash or another high-pH chemical to set the dye. 

To use the Elmer's Washable Blue School Glue Gel, first place a piece of plastic-wrapped cardboard, or foil-wrapped cardboard, inside each shirt so that the front of the shirt does not touch the back. Otherwise, when the glue is wetted by the dye, it will transfer to any other fabric it is touching. This is obviously not an issue if your children will be using unsewn fabric.

Apply the Washable Blue Glue Gel to the fabric using the applicator tops, which can be adjusted somewhat to give thicker or thinner lines. Press the opening right into the fabric, to make sure that the glue penetrates. Allow the glue to dry until it is absolutely free of moisture. If you cannot wait overnight, using a hair dryer to speed up the drying. Check to make sure that the glue has penetrated the fabric. Turn the fabric over and apply glue along the same lines, if necessary. You don't want the dye to creep in from the back and ruin your design. Before going on the the next step, make sure that all of the glue is absolutely bone-dry.

To apply the dye, it is better to squirt or brush on concentrated dye, as in modern multi-colored tie-dyeing. It is not as good an idea to submerge the glue-resisted material in a dyebath and soak it, as in traditional one-color tie-dyeing. This is because the glue will, if submerged too long, simply dissolve in the dyebath and float away. If you use a good cool-water tie-dye kit and follow the instructions for mixing up the dye in squirt bottles, you can apply the different colors exactly where you want, with no need to submerge the glue-resisted fabric.

To fix the dye, you must use soda ash at some point in the process (and you must be using a 100% natural untreated fabric such as cotton or silk, or else rayon). There are several different ways you can choose to use the soda ash; pick one, don't leave it out, because the soda ash is essential for fixing the dye to the fabric. One way is to add a half-teaspoonful of soda ash powder to each bottle of dye and shake it well, immediately before use. The dyes will last for no more than an hour after they are activated by adding the soda ash, so don't do this in advance. You can mix the dyes up without the soda ash up to one week in advance, but add the soda ash only once you are completely ready to apply the dye. Some tie-dyeing kits have the soda ash already mixed in with the dye powder; with these kits, you're all set to go; just be sure not to add the water until everything else is ready for applying the dye.


Tie-Dye Kit-Primary - Red Blue & Yellow

Rainbow Rock Tie-Dye Kit-Primary - Red Blue & Yellow

This Tie Dye Kit will dye up to 2-8 large shirts depending on darkness of color. Brightest on natural fibers like cotton and rayon but can be used on cotton/polyester blend fabrics. Great for clothes like shirts, socks, hats, bags, or home decor items like pillows and cushion covers.

As an alternative, you can presoak the fabric in a soda ash solution (one-half cup to one cup per gallon of water), let it dry, and then apply the Elmer's Washable Blue School Glue Gel. This is closer to what the classic tie-dyeing recipe calls for. We usually dampen shirts with water, tie them, then soak them in soda ash for fifteen minutes, before applying the dye. Don't soak your glue-resisted fabric in soda ash, because more than a minute in the bath will destroy the glue designs. It's safer to apply the glue after the soda ash, but the soda ash-soaked fabric must be line-dried, and must be completely dry, before you make your glue designs, and the soda ash powder in the fabric can be irritating to the hands and noses. I don't really like the idea of giving soda-ash-soaked fabric to the children to use. It's not horribly poisonous, but it can be very irritating to the hands and eyes, and I do not recommend exposing any child who has asthma to the irritating powder. The liquid soda ash solution is much less irritating, when it is mixed with water, as long as you wear gloves whenever you work with it. If you get any soda ash on your skin, rinse it off, or at least wipe it off, or your skin will get red and irritated.

After you apply the dye, wrap the pieces in plastic wrap and leave them in a warm place (70°F or warmer) overnight, for the dye to react with the fabric and the soda ash. You can complete the reaction more quickly than this—at least half of the color will have fixed to the fabric within an hour—but washing out after only an hour increases the risk of permanent backstaining, since there will still be active dye present and able to react with the wrong part of the fabric as you rinse it off. Washing out the next day avoids the problem of backstaining. To remove the Elmer's Washable Blue School Glue Gel, follow the instructions on the bottle, which say to soak in cool water for ten minutes before washing. Use hot water to remove the unattached excess dye, so that your projects will not bleed in the laundry in the future.

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Posted: Wednesday - May 27, 2009 at 02:00 PM          

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