Friday, July 17, 2009

Color discharge with bleach

Crawling out of my full-speed-ahead-with-only-one-thought-in-my-mind blogging mode for a moment, here's an interesting thought from an interesting blog: Stuff Christians Like, on forgiving someone who has not apologized.

Back to fabric stuff.

Almost all of the exercises in Fabric Arts Workshop deal with supplies and materials I've never used or combined before, or not to the same purpose. I'm not saying that I have never discharged color from fabric before (witness unplanned bleach spots on various articles of clothing), but using bleach for more than getting my sink or my tidy whities tidier and whitier (I think I've said this before somewhere) is something new for me.

Using bleach on various black fabrics will result in differing colors, because black dyes are made of differing combinations of colors. The two fabrics on the right are from the same bolt, but the other two are each different, resulting in red , orange, and amber tones.

Top left: Two crocheted doilies were laid on fabric before misting with 50-50 water/bleach solution. The book called for cheesecloth, but since I had none and doilies were handy, I did the honorable GREEN thing and did not drive to town just to buy cheesecloth. The color changed almost immediately after I sprayed the fabric, and I put it in the neutalizing solution too soon, I thought, but when it dried, it showed good contrast.

Top right: Torn file folder used to mask the fabric as I moved it repeatedly and sprayed. If the sprayer mist hadn't been quite as heavy and fine, the lines would show better.

Bottom right: The directions were to use dishwasher gel (I used Cascade gel, in the green bottle) on a stamp. I used a rectangular foam stamp in the upper left and lower right corners and waited for the color to change. And waited. And waited. A quarter of an hour passes (our grandchildren will never truly understand why this generation and those before ever let "quarter of an hour" pass so easily through our lips), and no change is visible. OK, I decide, gotta try something else. I remember Soft Scrub, my favorite sink cleaner. I remember it has bleach in it (witness unplanned bleach spots on various articles of clothing). I use a giraffe foam stamp in the upper right and lower left corners. I wait. And wait. Another quarter of an hour passes. No change is visible from either the dishwasher gel or the Soft Scrub.

I pulled out my bleach pen and made sun, moon, and stars on the stubborn fabric. I misted the fabric with my heavy-duty mister (ah," heavy-duty mister," that could have more than one meaning). The stamped areas looked as if they might be more of a resist than a bleach. I rinsed and neutralized the fabric, and, voila! the dishwasher gel and Soft Scrub had been working, after all. If I hadn't misted the fabric, the giraffes would actually be visible, I truly believe. Will need to re-test the Soft Scrub. Interesting that the Cascade areas are an almost lavendar color.

Lower left: Bleach gel pen. Works great; the effect spreads, but not too fast. Can have ghostly or vivid results, depending on how long one lets the gel remain on the fabric.



Approachable Art said...

Great results! What are you using to neutralize the bleach?

LynnDel said...

Sorry so late at responding. At first I used the only thing I had available, baking soda. I know it isn't reliable or complete, so re-rinsed with Aquasafe, which is used in fish tanks to neutralize chlorine. It was recommended on one dyer's site, and I hope it's not just one of those rumors. There is so much conflicting information out there on neutralizing bleach. I wonder if this is just as good as Anti-Chlor, or if I should add that to my next dye order...