You will need a piece of fabric (a natural fiber works best, we used a piece cut off of an old cotton sheet), wax, and a dye. We almost used beet juice, but finally decided on blue food coloring. As usual, I was ill-prepared and had no wax so we just melted some candle stubs. If you melt candles, be thoughtful about your choice of colors since colored wax will dye the fabric.
First we melted the candles in a tin can set in a pan of boiling water. We had white candles and green so we melted them separately and planned on using the green to help color our fabric.
We laid the cloth out on some wax paper and poured the wax on it. Be careful, the can will be very hot! First the white:
Then the green:
As you can see, we tried to cover most of the fabric since we really wanted to see the effect of wrinkling and cracking the wax. If you would like a different effect, then just cover parts of the fabric with wax, or pour on a design or pattern. The dye will not stick to any waxed portion of the fabric:
We let the wax dry and cool completely. The cloth was now as stiff as cardboard.
We crumpled and scrunched the stiff fabric and created cracks.
We put some blue food coloring in a bowl of cold water (hot would melt, or at least soften, the wax), and then we pushed the wax covered cloth in with a spoon. We left it in for an hour and the exposed areas turned a very pale blue. This step might not have been necessary, but at least it got the fabric wet and ready for more dye.
Next we laid the cloth out on a foil-lined baking sheet and dropped straight food coloring on to the cracks and spread it around.
What I learned – be sure to wear gloves if you are going to be handling food coloring! (This photo was taken AFTER I had washed them several times…)
I might be blue forever.
We let it sit for 10 or 15 minutes to let the color absorb, then we set about removing the wax. First we used knives to scrape off as much of the wax as possible.
I covered my ironing board with an old, folded towel and laid the fabric on a brown paper bag. I covered it with another brown paper bag and ironed with the iron on the highest setting but without steam.
The wax simply melted onto the bags. I replaced the bags a few times until no more wax appeared and it was all out of the fabric. We also tried paper towels, since I heard that they worked too, and they did quite well also.
Here is our finished fabric. The ironing dried it all nicely and we were able to work with it right away. Notice the green color in with the blue? The green is from the green candle wax, and is why we chose blue food coloring because we thought the two colors would look pretty together.
We had two little old notebooks that we covered with the dyed cloth using fabric glue.
We added a matching ribbon bookmark, and there you have it! A fun afternoon!
If you did a wrinkle Unplugged Project this week, then please put a link to your post in the Mr. Linky below. If you link to the post rather than the blog, then we will always be able to find you – forever and ever! If you did not do a wrinkle project, then please do not link, but be sure to follow the links to see the other great wrinkle projects. If you wish to read about how to join in, then read more here. We’d love to have you with us!
The theme for next week’s Unplugged Project will be:
I hope you all have fun!