Monday, October 21, 2013

Stencilling on felted wool with Decolourant Plus

I was really into making things with felted sweaters a few years ago. Now that I am felting wool roving, I figured I could work on ways to incorporate the two. I have two tubs of felted sweaters under one of my work tables and would love to get it down to one. I went through my tubs lopping off arms from sweaters and found some ziplock bags full of scraps as well.

This picture is a small representation of my selections. They almost fill one of those giant blue Ikea bags. I included some wet felted pieces that were just textured or multicolored, but also included some of my wet felted representational pieces that I thought weren't too successful and some fiber/"felt" papers I made last week.

Here is my Decoulorant stash. I find it sad I had all these and have only used the Spray previously.
Bright 3 set, Primary 3 set, metallics 3 set, regular Decolorant and the spray.

Here is my pile of stencils, some handmade, most commercial.

Here are samples of some of my stenciled felts.  The swirly design is an old fashioned wire whisk.  I really liked the small circle stencil, as you can see. There are some that I stencilled that didn't make it into the picture.

I started by using a foam brush to apply the paint, but it wasn't really right for the job. I ended up using sponge make-up wedges to pounce the paint on, and that worked much better.

Decolourant is supposed to replace the color on fabric (and it says that it works on wool) but mainly it just looks like paint on these. I don't know if it the the fuzziness of the wool or what, but it looks applied and not embedded as I expected. I am thinking of mixing some with water in a spray bottle and see if that helps. Decolourant does carry the colors already in spray bottles, but I don't feel the need to buy more since my stash of Decolourant is already pretty big.  The blue and purple are really dark and I mixed the blue with silver to lighten it up.  I plan to add more layers, either with Decoulorant, paint, or markers. 

I did make a couple small pieces with these, which I still think need a little work, but have ideas for other things to try. I will post my first trial pieces tomorrow.

Update 2/15/2104: I used a couple of these pieces without rinsing out the decolourant. I finally bit the bullet and washed these (in the machine on delicate/cold water, skipped the rinse cycle - there were too many for me to want to wash them by hand).  The results were a mixed bag, on some - the color almost washed away completely, some look like it's just paint on it, and some looked correct - like the original color was replaced by the decolourant.

Purple pieces look painted on.  The green pieces aren't too bad. On the blue piece on bottom right, almost all the red spirals(made with the whisk) washed away. The blue in the middle left used to have really strong small red circles on it, and it looks very faded now. Even the ugly orange on yellow is barely there anymore. 

My recommendation is to use a stiff brush and try to get the decolourant into the fibers as much as possible. If they are just laying on the surface, it may not do much.  I am fairly dissatisfied with this result. 

I did buy a different product called "catch and release" from a vendor that specifically works with wool. I bought some wool material from her as well, and the catch and release product worked well on her wool.  It could be that the dyes in the sweaters are not compatible with this type of color remover. I did a small sample on a turquoise sweater, and it turned a funny gray color.  I plan to experiment more with this new stuff. She said that fabric paint can be added to it so the color is replaced.

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