I got the idea from a person’s Amazon review for the Jacquard deColourant product. They posted a single photo which showed a piece of fabric (a t-shirt?) that they had turned into a photo realistic image. They didn’t include any power settings or mention what kind of laser engraving tool they had. I can only assume that they coated the tshirt in deColourant, let it dry and then put the fabric in their laser engraver. The only indication they gave to speed/power was full speed and lowest power.
I put all of my notes, trials and experiment data in this blog post on the topic.
A big shout out to @MyDogsThinkImCrazy for her phenomenal posts on magnets, white boards, riser feet and working without the crumb tray. Your insight has been invaluable and I thank you!!
Thanks for sharing your experience. Always interesting to see new uses for a laser.
Wow! That is really cool!
Thank you for sharing your notes.
I played with a different brand of dye discharge paste a number of years ago using hand-cut stencils to put Celtic knot work on the legs of a pair of jeans. This is definitely next level. I’ll put this on my list of things to try!
OMG, that is an outstanding project! I have been around on the forum for 8 years and it’s not often that we see something that hasn’t cropped up before. This is one of the rare few. Now I’ve got to get my hands on some of that stuff. I didn’t see in your writeup exactly what fabric you were using; I assume cotton. Does it also work on silk and linen?
Thanks for the inspiration !
brilliant. just ordered a bottle.
the description for the bottle i bought on amazon says, “dyed natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, silk and wool.” i would suspect you’d need to be extra careful with delicates like silk.
I’m using 100% cotton shirts ordered from presshall.com The deColourant indicates that the level of lightening will depend on the type of dye used by the shirt manufacturer. The Gildan and Port & Copmany lightened to a greyish cast & the District shirt turned a nice shade of sepia tone.
5000 Gildan 5.3-ounce 100% Cotton T-Shirt <-turned out well, lightened to a grey
PC54 Port & Company Core Cotton T-Shirt <-turned out well, lightened to a grey
DT6402 District Women’s V.I.T. Boxy T-Shirt <-nice soft fabric, lightened to a sepia tone
Very cool, thanks for sharing.
From the blog:
The deColourant is a non bleach chemical that non-destructively removes the dye from darkly colored natural fabrics that have been dyed with a “dischargeable” dye . It allows you to create a white area on a dark shirt that you can then apply your image to. It works by being sprayed, brushed or stamped onto the dark fabric, allow it to dry and then apply steam heat from an iron and the fabric turns white!!
Man I think I posted something on this forum years ago where I wished for a product like this… Something that would have a bleaching or other color change effect when heated. I had no idea it existed all along!
Welcome to the forum! Thank you for sharing this new technique with us! Sounds like a lot of fun to do!
Thanks @cynd11! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the photo in the Amazon review. That was the “must make” project that threw me over the edge into “must have a Glowforge!”
Can’t wait to see what you do with it! I’ve been using a hair dryer on the COOL no heat setting to speed up the deColourant drying process with mixed “success”. I think I should be more patient and wait for the deColourant to actually DRY before lasering - but I have seen color changes in the tshirts before I’ve lasered them when I wait too long to laser them. I’m in Tampa and my office AC goes into eco mode after 5pm and I think the ambient room temperature creeping up into the 80s has made the deColourant activate & start to remove the tshirt dye even at a medium-warm room temperature.
I like that if I get the laser settings right that neither the laser nor the deColourant will damage the fabric!
What I wouldn’t give to see Jacquard make a product that is triggered/activated by the Glowforge laser! Oof, now that would be COOL!!!
that could be it. it might be worth letting it dry in a cool spot. maybe like an old cardboard box where you can cut a hole in the side and blow a fan through it. keep it out of any light or heat source.
have a couple of black tshirts coming, too. but i’m going to dig through the rag bag tonight and see if i can find good scraps to test on.
Blank Tshirts on sale at Michael’s for 2.99, too, since you’re planning a trip
now you tell me, after i ordered on amazon. hrmm… free returns…
This is really cool, thanks for sharing it with us.
So interesting! I am inspired!
i just applied some to some test scraps from an old black t-shirt. it’s definitely got an odor. smells a lot like when my wife is dechlorinating water for the aquarium, but it’s stronger.
It definitely does have an odor - when applying and much stronger when heating it with a steam iron to activate the dye removal process (the other way of using the deColourant). I recommend using your steam iron outdoors or in a WELL ventilated area if you’re going to use deColourant the way the packaging suggests