Glass Etching

 A few days ago, I realized that I had forgotten to order a plaque in recognition of the President of an organization that I am the Secretary/Treasurer for.  Since I only had a week until our spring meeting, I thought that it would not be enough time to order an engraved plaque.  So, I started thinking about what I could make to recognize my colleague.  After spending a couple hours thinking, I came up with an idea.

For a while now, I have been wanting to try glass etching. So, I thought this might be a technique to create something nice for my colleague that would be different than any other recognition he has received.
I checked out several tutorials on-line and decided to give it a try.

  • Glassware – 4 ounce juice glasses, glass mug, rectangular vase
  • Armour Etch Glass Etching Paste
  • Contact paper or stickers
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Painter’s tape
  • Craft sticks
  • Gloves, eyewear, apron
  • Drop Cloth
1. Clean the surface of the glass with rubbing alcohol.  Make sure to remove any finger prints because the oils in the prints will interfere with the etching process. Do not  use window cleaners because they have other chemicals that may interfere with the etching process.
2. Purchase or create a stencil for your design.  I digitized the logo from the organization and created a cutting file on my Cameo stencil cutter.
3. Place the stencil on the glassware. Use a craft stick (popsicle stick) to make sure that the edges of the stencil are firmly stuck to the glass so that the etching paste will not leak under the stencil.
4. Work over a towel or drop cloth to protect surfaces from potential acid damage. Wear gloves to protect your hands. Use protective eyewear to protect your eyes and an apron to protect your clothes. This is important because the etching paste is a strong acid that can cause burns.
5. Shake the etching paste bottle to mix the contents. Use the craft stick to apply the etching paste in a thick, even layer over the exposed glass.  Note: the manufacturer’s directions recommend a brush.  I found the suggestion for craft sticks on-line and liked the idea.  The etching paste is a strong acid that can quickly damage brushes.  Whereas, craft sticks are inexpensive and can just be thrown away rather than trying to clean the brush.
6. The etching paste does contain crystals that are part of the chemical process. These may cause a blotchy etch, so pull them onto the surface of the contact paper so that you have a smooth layer of paste in contact with the glass.
7. Allow the paste to etch for five minutes.  This is another change from the manufacturer’s directions.  The directions say that one minute is sufficient.  However, I found numerous comments that the etching time is insufficient for a good etch.
8. Two or three times during the etching process, move the paste around on the surface to remove any trapped air pockets to create a uniform etch.
9.Wash off the etching paste with hot water.  Be aware that the etching paste can remove the glaze in ceramic sinks.  So, rinse in a stainless steel or utility sink. Remove the stencil and continue to wash until all of  the paste is removed.
10. Dry and use.
For my first attempt, I used 4 ounce juice glasses that I already had in my kitchen.  I cut a snowflake stencil out of contact paper. Turned out really well, so I was ready to create the recognition item.
For the President recognition, I decided to use a vase. This vase is rectangular and measures 6″ tall, 4″ wide and 2″ deep (I masked over the name to avoid getting his permission to post this). I think this turned out really nice and will be a unique way to recognize our out-going president.

Nui Shibori

Nui (Japanese for sewing) involves using a simple running stitch to pull the fabric tightly together. The thread is secured with a knot before dyeing. The technique allows for greater control of the pattern but is much more time consuming.

Trial #1
1. Fabric cut 12″ x 90″.

2. Sew six sets of lines (each set includes two lines 1/4″ apart) each 1″ apart.

3. Pull the threads tight and tie knots.

4. Place the bound fabric in the bottom of a flat container.  Add Mixing Red dye (500 ml at 5 mg/ml).

4. Batch for 2 hours.

5. Rinse out excess dye with cold water. Wash with Blue Dawn in hot water.  Resulting scarf is shown above.

Trial #2
1. Fabric cut 12″ x 90″.

2. Sew zig-zag lines lines each 2″ apart.

3. Pull the threads tight and tie knots.

4. On each side of the pulled and bound fabric, paint on Golden Yellow and Green (4 mg/ml, 100 ml total).

5. Batch for 2 hours.

6. Rinse out excess dye with cold water. Wash with Blue Dawn in hot water.

Kumo and Kanoko Shibori

Today’s shibori techniques – Kumo and Kanoko.

Kumo (Japanese for spider) is a twist and bind resist technique. It involves binding fabric around objects or by pleating sections of the fabric very finely and evenly. The result is a very specific spider-like design.

Trial #1
1. Fabric cut 12″ x 90″.

2. Place a small pony bead on the fabric and bind with a 1/4″ rubber band (Orthodontic elastic). Continue binding beads to create the pattern that you would like.

3. Place the bound fabric in the bottom of a flat container.  Add Royal Blue dye (500 ml at 5 mg/ml).

4. Batch for 2 hours.

5. Rinse out excess dye with cold water. Wash with Blue Dawn in hot water.

Trial #2
1. Fabric cut 12″ x 90″.

2. Pull up sections of the fabric at one end of the piece and bind tightly with synthetic sinew. Fold and bind a larger section of fabric at the other end of the piece.

3. Place the bound fabric in the bottom of a container.  Add Lilac dye (500 ml at 3 mg/ml).

4. Batch for 2 hours.

5. Rinse out excess dye with cold water. Wash with Blue Dawn in hot water.  Resulting scarf is shown above.

Kanoko is what is commonly thought of as tie-dye. It involves binding certain sections of the cloth to achieve the desired pattern. The pattern achieved depends upon how tightly the fabric is bound and where the fabric is bound. If the cloth is first folded and then bound, the resulting circles will be a pattern created by the folds, creating a cross between a mandala and tie-dye.

Trial #3
1. Fabric cut 12″ x 90″.

2. Fold in triangles up the length of the fabric.

3. Bind the fabric in sections with synthetic sinew.

4. Soak in soda ash solution for 30 minutes.

5. Drip dye solution (25 mg/ml) on each section to form a color pattern.

6. Batch for 2 hours.

7. Rinse out excess dye with cold water. Wash with Blue Dawn in hot water.

 Trial #4
1. Fabric cut 36″ x 36″.

2. Fold the fabric as described for mandalas.

3. Pull fabric together in sections and bind with sinew.

4. Soak fabric in warmed soda ash solution for 30 minutes.

5. Place fabric in tray over bucket.

6. Cover with scrap fabric to collect undissolved dye particles.

7. Cover with 4″ of snow and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of mixed dye powder (Mixing Blue, Royal Blue, Turquoise  and Green).

8. Place lid over the bucket and allow to sit at room temperature until snow is melted.

9. Pour 250 ml of warm soda ash solution over the fabric to help set the dye.

10. Rinse fabric in cold water. Wash in hot water with blue Dawn soap. Rinse, dry and iron.

Arashi Scarf and the Technique for Itajimi Shibori

Before I describe another Shibori technique, I thought I would show a photo of the Arashi Shibori Scarf from my last posting.

Very fun colors!

To refresh your memory, there are five major forms of Shibori –

Itajimi is a shape-resist technique. The cloth is folded like an accordion and sandwiched between flat shapes which are held in place with string or clamps. The shapes prevent the dye from penetrating the fabric that they cover.

Trial #1
1. Fabric cut 9″ x 18″, folded in fourths lengthwise. Then folded in triangles.

2. Bind the triangle together with string or a rubber band.

3. Dip the corners into different colors
Turquoise: 20 ml at 4 mg/ml
Mixing Red: 20 ml at 3 mg/ml
Lilac: 20 ml at 1 mg/ml

4. Batch for 12 hours.

5. Rinse out excess dye with cold water. Wash with Blue Dawn in hot water.

Trial #2
1. Fabric cut 12″ x 90″.

2. Ends folded in fourths lengthwise. Then folded in accordion style with wooden discs inserted between each secondary fold.

2. Bind the bundles together with string or a rubber band.

3. Dip each end in a dye bath
(250 ml at 1 mg/ml)

4. Batch for 12 hours

5. Rinse out excess dye with cold water. Wash with Blue Dawn in hot water.

Resulting Scarf

 Trial #3
1. Fabric cut 12″ x 90″.

2. One end folded in fourths lengthwise. Then folded in accordion style with plastic stars inserted between each secondary fold, making sure that the star points match between the layers.

3. Clamp the fabric bundle together with a utility clamp.

 3. Dip the fabric bundle in a dye bath
250 ml at 5 mg/ml Mixing Blue

4. Batch for 12 hours

5. Rinse out excess dye with cold water. Wash with Blue Dawn in hot water.

My plan is to use another Shibori technique to dye stripes on the other end of this scarf.

That will be a project for another day.

Arashi Shibori – another wrapping technique

The previous posting described a technique for Arashi pole-wrapping that involved sewing the fabric to help scrunch it onto the pole.  Today, the pole wrapping technique will require no sewing.

1.  Fabric (12″ x 90″) is placed at an angle onto the PVC pipe (4″diameter), securing the beginning of the fabric with a rubber band.

2. The fabric is wrapped around the pipe and secured with string or floss wrapped every inch.

3. Scrunched the fabric down on the pipe as you continue to wrap the rest of the fabric up the length of the pipe.

4. Secure the opposite end of the fabric with another rubber band.

5. Soak in soda ash solution for 15 minute.

6. Squirt dye concentrate (25mg/ml) onto fabric, using about 20 ml per color.

7. Batch for 12 hours.
8. Rinse out excess dye with cold water. Wash with Blue Dawn in hot water.

Shibori Dye Resist

Shibori is a Japanese term for methods of dyeing fabric that include binding, stitching or folding the fabric prior to dyeing. The earliest known example of cloth dyed with shibori technique dates back to the 8th century when indigo was the main dye used. Tie-dye is a commonly used form of shibori.
There are an infinite number of ways one can bind, stitch, fold, twist or compress cloth for shibori and each way results in very different patterns. The results are also dependent upon the type of fabric used. Different techniques can be used in conjunction with one another to achieve even more elaborate results.
Types of shibori – Arashi, Itajimi, Kanoko, Kuno, and Nui.

Arashi (Japanese for “storm”) involved pole-wrapping. The fabric is wrapped around a pole or cylinder, then tightly bound and scrunched down on the pole prior to dyeing.


1. PVC pipes with caps (to reduce the amount of dye needed)

2. Fabric cut 9″ x 90″, stitched together using a long stitch length to form a tube of fabric, and scrunched tightly on pipe.

Pole-wrapped fabric placed in dye bath for 10 minutes for each color
2 mg/ml, 350 ml

3. Mixing Blue
4. Mixing Red
5. Golden Yellow

6. Dyed fabric
7. Batch 4 hours on a heating plate.

Remove fabric from pole and remove stitching.
Rinse out excess dye with cold water.
Wash with Blue Dawn in hot water.

Resulting fabric!

Entrelac Knitting

While on vacation with my family, I tried a new knitting technique – Entrelac  Knitting.

The technique for entrelac is different from that of other types of knitting.  Entrelac is composed of tiers of blocks that are set on their points, forming diamonds.  Each block is worked individually and joined to the adjacent block as it is knit.

The resulting knit item looks like woven knitted strips but is actually knitted in one piece. Long repeat self striping yarn adds to the beauty, creating distinct squares of color without having to change the skein of yarn. The technique looks more difficult than it is!

Free instructions can be found at:

Noro Silk Gardent, color S421 (2 skeins)
Yarn Requirements: 440 yards
Needles: US Size 8
Gauge: 18 stitches and 24 rows/4 inches in stockinette stitch

Cast on 24 stitches and work in blocks of 8 stitches.

Finished size 7.5″ x 62″

Soy Wax Dye Resist

I am finally getting around to trying soy wax as a dye resist.  Soy wax has the benefits of melting at a lower temperature and being much easier to remove than traditional batik waxes. In addition soy wax is sourced from a renewable resource and helps to support our farmers!

Safety Tip: Any wax, including soy, is flammable when allowed to heat to too high a temperature. Treat the technique with respect and ensure that the wax does not overheat. Use these safety tips for best results:
– Use a dedicated pan or wax pot that has controls to regulate the temperature,
– Always turn off or unplug the appliance when leaving your work area,
– Do not leave heated wax unattended at any time,
– Do not leave your tools in the wax pot when not in use. They can be damaged or broken.
– Arrange your space with safety in mind,
– Keep the area clean and tidy, protect surfaces with newspaper, old sheets or towels,
– Situate your wax pot and electrical cords as close to the electrical outlets as possible
   (do not place the cords where they could be walked or tripped over), and
– Do not to use tools that are wet, the wax will not stick to the tool and may spit wax at you, and

Soy wax has a lower melting point than traditional batik wax. Generally a temperature between 125° F – 150° F works best. Check the temperature on your equipment to find the optimal settings. The wax should be hot enough to penetrate the fabric and appear translucent. If the wax beads up or looks milky on the fabric, then it is not ready for application. Either wait a couple minutes or check the temperature of the wax. Soy wax will act differently with different fabrics, generally the heavier the fabric, the longer the wax will take to penetrate and the more wax will be required for a complete resist. Soy wax penetrates light weight fabrics, such as cotton, silk, rayon and linen better. 

Tools and Supplies: 
Most of the tools used for soy wax application can be found in hardware or thrift stores.
– Natural bristle brushes in a variety of widths-from 1/2″ to 2″-3″
– Sponges – cellulose sponges work best, their fibers stand up to repeated wax applications and can be cut into various shapes
– Metal Kitchen tools – mashers, serrated vegetable cutters and such can give interesting texture with wax application.
– Cardboard shapes – tubes, boxes, etc.
– Chemical Water: 1 cups lukewarm water 2 Tablespoons Urea Granules (urea helps to retain moisture and keep the dyes from drying in storage or when painted on fabric
– Dye Concentrate solutions dissolved in chemical water

1. Prepare fabric for dyeing (either purchase PFD fabric or wash in Blue Dawn). 
2. Soak fabric for 15 minutes in soda ash solution, wring lightly and hang to dry.  Do not place soda ash treated fabric in the clothes dryer as it will leave a film in the drum. Remove wrinkles with a dry, cool iron. Pretreated fabric can generally be stored for a few weeks.  However, if working silk fabric, use within 5 days of pretreating with soda ash as the chemicals can break down the silk fibers.
3. If drawing a pattern, transfer your design onto the fabric with washable marker or soft pencil.
4. Stretch the fabric on a fabric stretcher or by taping to a hard surface.
5. Melt the soy wax in a glass container warmed over a heating plate. Put your tool in the wax for about one minute for adequate uptake of wax. Allow the wax to cool.  Once the wax on the front of the fabric is cooled, turn it over and wax any areas that did not penetrate completely. The soy wax should appear clear when you apply it and your fabric should be translucent when the soy wax cools. Since soy wax is brittle when cold, the wax design often cracks when the cloth is handled. Dye seeps into the cracks making the characteristic web-like pattern known as crackle.
6. Immersion dye similar to previously described.  Note – soy was melts at a lower temperature than batik or paraffin was.  So, be careful with the temperature of your dye bath, generally keeping the temperature under 95°.   If you want to avoid a lot of crackle, use a flat tray or bin to hold the dye so the fabric does not have to fold. This way the fabric stays flat so you can control the amount of crackle. Alternatively, dye solution can be painted on the fabric and then covered with plastic to retain the moisture.
7. Successive dye treatment can build color. Dye the lightest color first progressing to the darkest. Since the colors are dyed one on top of the other, except where the fabric is waxed, they combine to produce new colors. For example, if the first color is yellow and the second color is blue the mixture creates green. Similarly, if the first color is red and the second color is blue the mixture creates purple. In either example, you cannot obtain blue, only mixtures with blue. It’s helpful to know basic color mixing to take advantage of this aspect and be prepared to experiment with color mixing. It is important to plan the dye color order before beginning.
8. Batch at RT for 4 hours. Rinse fabric in cold water.
9. Wash in hot water with Blue Dawn soap. Rinse, dry and iron.

First Trial – Tools:
Folded cardboard used to make “E” shapes
Copper Tjapp – normally used for batik patterns
Metal Tjanting – used to write my name

Lessons Learned :
Wax drips – hold a cloth under the tool you are using to catch the drips.
Tjapp -I had tried unsuccessfully with batik wax, her I still do not like the way they worked with the soy was.  I will reserve them for Paint Stick rubbings.
Tjanting – worked well to draw lines and shapes.

Second Trial – Tools and Techniques:

Potato smasher

Lessons Learned :
Potato smasher worked well.
Over-dyeing add nice dimension to the color

Third Trial – Tools and Techniques:
Tjanting grid lines
Selective dyeing over fabric previously dyed with oatmeal resist

Lessons Learned :
Nice way to control the placement of color.

Fourth Trial – Tools and Techniques:
Cardboard tube wax stamping
Over stamping and over-dyeing with same color

Lessons Learned :
Cardboard tubing works really well with soy wax stamping.
Over stamping and over dyeing  creates interesting patterns.

Crochet Along Blocks – Drop in the Bucket and Embracing Variety Crochet Squares

Two more  crochet blocks completed.

“Drop in the Bucket”

Designer: Janie Herrin
“Embracing Variety”
Designer: Aurora Suominen

I’m still having fun making these!