My First Post - Bull Denim doesn't like washer

I purchased my GF in October of 2015 but my wife and I waited until about three months ago to have it shipped out. Shortly after receiving it, I tore a bicep and was not able to use a mouse, so no work on the GF. I did get to make a few little things before that. One of the first things I wanted to play with some heavy duck cotton/bull denim. I did a quick test (right side of image) and grabbed a quick image of a classic Dodge.

It turned out pretty good for not knowing what I was doing. Then we washed it…:disappointed:

Ta da. Like magic, it disappeared.


Uh-oh! That looked pretty sharp in the before pic. Too bad it didn’t stay. :frowning:


That’s awesome, keep it up, you’ll have so much fun. My GF arrived in Oct '17, after a two year wait, and I’ve had so much fun using it…making many cool projects along the way. My projects have tended to be using safe proofgrade materials, as I’m don’t much like fiddling with settings. I do however admire someone who jumps in to experiment and then share their results. Thanks for joining the community and keep sharing.


It was pretty much a test so that’s why we ran it through the wash. Needed to know what would happen. After putting some other projects under water and toothbrush, I figured it would fade.

I have used very little of the proofgrade materials. I don’t want to waste it on little things for myself. I have thrown some heated oak and other materials in to play. I tried using the proofgrade settings on some plexi I purchased at a big box store. It was thinner than the proofgrade material and I had issues with the back of it looking funny. Not sure if I need to speed it up or lower the power. I was making sure clear quilting templates for my wife so it doesn’t really need to look purty.


If you put masking on tight, and then a light spray with a dark color you might get something more permanent. Alternatively a pigment that was fixed by heating but washable otherwise.

Plexi from the big box stores tends to be extruded acrylic. That doesn’t engrave as well as cast acrylic. The PG acrylic (& other laser acrylic sources) is cast acrylic.

For the extruded stuff it will cut okay but you’ll want to run it either faster or reduce the power from the PG settings you used, especially if it’s thinner. Otherwise you’ll get flashback and slagging.


Cool experiment and great job. I guess we’ll all have to stick with dyed denim/canvas. You basically washed off the char, whereas with dyed fabrics you should be burning away the dye (and some of the fibers.)


I wonder if lightly lasering a dyed cloth would disrupt the ink and allow it to be washed off; like laser-bleaching? I think that’s how tattoo removal works.

No, do not use your glowforge for tattoo removal. I swear, you people…


Tanks for the suggestions. It must be the “flashback” I am seeing. Didn’t know the correct terminology. When I hear slag, I think of what I get in my CNC plasma cutter and the plexi didn’t look like that. It almost looked like the clear protective film had melted into about an 1/8" along the back edge of plexi but I am not sure.

That’s “slag”. Flashback will be small triangular black burned spots.

With acrylic plastic protective film almost always means it’s extruded. Cast acrylic almost always has a paper based protective covering. For extruded you want to peel off the plastic film for any operation. Otherwise it melts on you. You can eliminate flashback that will occur against unmasked acrylic by sticking it on a piece of standard copy paper.

For Cast I leave the bottom paper all the time and sometimes take the top off. Removing the top sheet eliminates the weeding that can be a pain for engraves but then you may need to clean the acrylic with a polish like Novus because you may see the smoke residue deposited on the unengraved material and clouding it up a bit. White toothpaste can be used too.

Extruded is usually not worth the cost savings (10%) over cast and you simply can’t get the nice frosted engraves on extruded. Extruded is also more brittle and when broken very sharp.


I’ve done regular denim and stretch denim (of varying amounts of stretch), well, jeans made from those. And I always wash and dry the jeans when I’m done, because it can be kind of a crap-shoot really. It all depends on the quality of the cloth. Thicker is better.

I thought I had perfected my settings for stretch denim and for regular denim. I’d done a few pair of each that held up well during the wash and dry. Then I found a pair of purple jeans, with just a little stretch, and the denim was fairly thick. So I put my favorite design on them, two days before our vacation started. The purple disaster that came out of the dryer was awful. Any where that had been etched was frayed and basically gone. I’d thought I would offer an option for folks to ship their favorite jeans to me and I’d etch them. This one pair of jeans stopped that whole idea, since I couldn’t guarantee that the jeans would survive.


Absolutely agree. The main time I’ve used extruded is for picture frame “glass”. No etching, can’t see the edges, and extruded is a bit easier to find in thinner sizes that are more appropriate for frames.

That said, someone somewhere recently shared this source for 1/16" cast, which I will definitely be getting when I need more stock for frames.


:slightly_smiling_face: And it’s a quick run to Home Depot for it. I’ve used it for replacement panels in bird feeders the bears have gotten into.


I would be looking at the fiber content a lot harder than the thickness. Any 100% cotton that was thinner would be better than polyester mix, and I would not know what various odd fibers they could be otherwise.

You just have to “Keep on Truckin”


Nice test.