Saturday, January 29, 2011

Velvet Etching

You’ll need your design as a stencil. Stencil plastic can be found at local supercenters and craft/hobby stores. Generally you can purchase 8x10” sheets in small packs for around two dollars. Draw your design on paper, lay the stencil plastic over top of your drawing, and trace it with a thin marker. Then cut the design out with a craft knife.

Completed stencil

Fiber Etch gel:
Fiber Etch is a liquid gel which comes ready to use for devore' or "burnout" processes*.
*Cotton, linen, and rayon yarns ("plant" fibers) are completely removed with Fiber Etch. With blended fabrics, the synthetic, silk, or wool yarns which remain after etching leave decorative effects, appearing almost as if they were woven into the fabric.

You’ll need to purchase some Fiber Etch, it can be found thru online stores.

Fabric and prep:
The Fiber Etch works wonderful on Silk/Rayon blend of velvet. If you’re feeling unsure of everything, purchase a sample of your chosen fabric and practice on it.

You need to wash, dry, and press your velvet. This washes out sizing on the fabric and gets any shrinking done.

You’ll need to decide where you’re going to do the etching. Cutting out your pattern and using copies of your stencil can help you lay everything out.

When you have your placement decided, tape down your stencil and apply the etching liquid. Use a small squeeze bottle to fill your stencil in with the Fiber Etch. (Small squeeze bottles can be found in the cake decorating section at most supercenters.) Painting on with a brush can also be done, but does take extra time to apply a heavy enough coat of Fiber Etch. The stencil can be gently picked up, wiped clean, and moved to another location, to allow you to etch several places in one sitting.

Remove your stencil and let the Fiber Etch sit for at least one (1) hour and not more that 24 hours. After at least one hour, use a heavy duty hairdryer to begin drying the etching gel. Be sure to get the fiber etch completely dry.

Then iron from the backside of the fabric. Set your iron to silk or wool, so you don't burn the fabric. On the front side the pile of the velvet will get hard and flake away with your fingers. Take your time and keep the iron moving slowly so you don't burn it. When all the areas have become hard, its time to wash.

Put your fabric under warm water, in a clean sink, and gently rub it with your fingers.
Most of the fibers will wash away. If needed, use a small brush (one made to clean your fingernails) to rub a little harder. Be very gentle with the fabric, the silk can tear easy! Rinse the fabric, squeeze any extra water out, and then let dry. Rolling it in a bath towel can help remove excess water, then let hang or lay flat to completely dry.

If there are any areas that didn't wash away, pick the fibers off with a pair of tweezers. Just take your time and have good light, being careful not the snag the silk! Having the fabric damp makes it easier to pull out. Use the tweezers to take away exactly what you want, making the symbol perfect.

Completed etching.

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