Friday, July 29, 2016

Using Hot Glue Stencils On Fabric: Possibilities

Test Papers Using the First Samples

Are you ready to see a real application to all this madness? Good. I'm ready to show you. But first, let's talk about this technique. These are stencils made from using a hot glue gun, and common glue sticks. It's so easy that nearly anyone can do it. It works with both high and low temperature glue guns so even kids can use it with adult supervision.

*This process was not developed by me. It's been used and demonstrated by many crafters, and YouTube has videos if you're unclear. I'll put a link at the end, but you probably won't need it.

The Process

I started with a mini low temp glue gun, and a good supply of glue sticks. I used a heavy piece of glass for my base because it was handy, but you can also use kitchen parchment paper, a silpat mat, or teflon oven liner (which is what I also use for FMQ as an easy glide mat, and cost pennies vs. the Supreme Slider). I would imagine freezer paper would also work as it can withstand the heat of an iron. The benefit of using a flexible surface means you can bend it to remove the glue when it has hardened. 

Note: Once you've used a product in your studio, do not reuse it for cooking. You may release harmful chemicals into your foods.

Using the mini low temp gun which provides a thinner strand of glue, I experimented making a grid and some flowery things. I focused on making sure my finer strands were anchored to another portion like you can see in the bluish grid above. A few were not--like the one above in yellow, and they were both disasters to take off the glass, and not worth saving.

Next I tried my full size glue gun. Working freehand, I created circles and a flower motif. I squeezed out more glue this time to make the motif thicker, and was far happier with the sturdy pieces.

HINT: You can slip a picture or outline under the base if using parchment paper or glass, and simply trace it. I also found it practical to draw ON the glass with washable marker, and trace that. 

Those fine 'hairs' or strings that happen when you move to start a new area are no problem. You can snip them when it's dry or leave in place for added texture. Always allow your pieces to dry before removing from the base, or trimming any parts away.

My Concept Drawing

This is small portion of the large design I've been working on, and I want to figure out a good way to produce all those circles in the area around the eye. The eye will be about 24" wide. The background fabric is low immersion dyed black. I tried painting them with a brush on fabric, and it wasn't the look I was after.

While I imagined more rounded circles, this method doesn't lend itself to that. I worked carefully over a hand drawn template, and this was as close as I came.

Testing On Paper Using a Gelli Plate

Before I ever start painting valuable fabric, I test on paper. Always! First, I tried the grid stencil I made with my Gelli plate using a subtractive method. Imagine blue acrylic paint rolled onto the plate, then the grid stencil pressed down and lifted up to remove the paint beneath it. Lay the paper onto the plate, press well, and lift to reveal the print onto paper. Next, sponge red paint onto the circle stencil (additive method), and press it on top of the blue print. 

I find it helpful to use a large piece of acrylic felt on top of glue stencils to press down on. I can still feel the raised areas with my hands to press on top of the ridges, or roll over it all with a brayer to make better contact.

Note how the thin layer of acrylics you get with Gelli printing allows a translucent layering effect to your paints. The grid lines show through under the circles even. I love that!

Now Used As a Stencil

Here I tried another method by using the stencil as an actual stencil. I added acrylic paint to a small spray bottle (a used hair product bottle is perfect), and thinned it with water until it would spray. This is a white acrylic. (The color becomes diffused when adding water so you may want to consider a different product if you want opaque color.) 

The beauty of using acrylics over using dyes is the process moves so quickly. Within a few minutes the first layer was dry, and I had mixed red into my original paint. There's no reason to stop and clean your bottle unless you require a perfect shade. I moved my stencil a bit, resprayed with the red paint...

...and was very happy with the result! 

One surprise was in all the areas where white acrylic had first been sprayed, the red actually popped out as red! The white paint provided a base opaque enough for the paint to not blend into the fabric. This was the same thing I had found when stamping and printing, but hadn't thought about it with spraying.

Processing It All

The fabric: Do not forget to pay attention to the labels when using paints on fabrics. Most will tell you specific times to wait until ironing, washing, or other instructions to make it washable, if that's your goal. 

The ideas: I seem to need time to process all these ideas in between play sessions, and where, if any, place in the quilt I will use them. I think the spray or spritz method is going to work well for the circles surrounding the eye, but now I need to determine colors. Some people can plan everything out ahead of time, but I don't seem to be one of them. I'm not agonizing over it, but enjoying the process immensely. I hope you are, too.

Lindsey the Frugal Crafter on YouTube

She has some excellent instructional videos, and well worth your time to sit and watch. This is the link to creating hot glue stencils.

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's keep up the momentum.


JoanG said...

This looks like lots of fun. I never thought of using hot glue this way. Thanks for walking this through for all of us.

QuiltShopGal said...

Wow. You've given me plenty of creative ideas. Thank you.


Norma Schlager said...

A great tutorial! I think I will have to try this.

Bonnie said...

Do you hang onto your "stencils" or do they hit the circular file after using them? The concept is so intriguing. Must give some thought as to what type of dye and/or paint I have hanging around the house. Hum, you might get credit for moving me from the more traditional stuff I do generally. Great post.

Stitchin At Home said...

Another great idea.

France Nadeau ❅ inspiration imagination creation said...

Very interesting article. I really like your test piece with the bubbles on top of the grid. I think this is a good technique for making backgrounds on greeting cards. You got me thinking... Thank you very much for showing and explaining your experimentation.
And thank you for participating to my Fabric, Thread and Yarn link party. Have a good week!

Julie said...

You're so welcome, Joan. I like finding new ways to use things I already have, and this was kind of exciting when I can across it.

Julie said...

Thank you, Darlene, and I'm so glad. While there's nothing new under the sun, sometimes it's good to be reminded of things that have been around, but out of mind. This was easy, and had great results.

Julie said...

Do! It's surprisingly easy, and best of all, most of us have glue guns already.

Julie said...

Bonnie, the one reason I had for making them sturdier was hoping they'd hold up well to a lot of use. So far, they have. I've played with the same stencil many days in a row. Also, the ability to either stamp directly with them or used them as a resist make them doubly useful. If you're concerned about space for storing items, these are flat. I would probably sandwich them between wax paper for long term, but so far mine have been washed in the sink with my tools, and thrown around without any long term damage or sticking to one another.

Julie said...

Thanks, Cindy!

Julie said...

France, I'm seeing a pattern in comments. I don't provide any complete anything here anymore, just bits and parts of the making process , and people don't seem to mind. I love that! I've also never been happier before with my work. I'm grateful to still be able to participate with your link up, and thank you. I think using these stencils as backgrounds is what they were more meant for than fabric, and I borrow most of my ideas from mixed media techniques I see. Usually either the tool or the process will set me off on a new path, and for these it was both. I hope you can use it.

Susan said...

What an interesting use for a glue gun. Julie, you are always surprising me with your creativity! I'll have to tuck this little nugget away for use on a rainy day!