Mar 18, 2013

The "Tattooed" Denim Jacket


I may not have the urge to tattoo my body, but I did get the urge to tattoo a jacket!  I love the intricate design of some of the henna tattoos and thought they would would look great as embellishments on a denim jacket.  I started with this white denim jacket that I picked up at a thrift store for a few dollars.  Originally, it had eyelet lace trim around the collar, pockets, and cuffs.  I didn't care much for it, so I cut it away! 


I then spent some time...quite a bit of time...drawing designs on the jacket with an ultra fine point sharpie marker.


After I was satisfied with the designs, I used Elmer's washable clear glue and filled in some of the design elements.  I filled an empty paint tube with glue so that I could have a smaller opening and more control over the gluing process.  I let the glue dry thoroughly.  The dried glue works almost like magic in the next step, which is dyeing the jacket. 


I used Rit Denim Blue liquid dye.  I was going for an ombre look, so I started at the bottom of the jacket and worked my way up to get the desired ombre effect.  As you can see in the picture below, I made a makeshift rack to hang my jacket from.  Every 5 minutes I lowered the jacket to the next level, into the dye.  When I got to the level of the inked design, I placed the whole jacket in the dye for a couple of minutes, then placed it in the sink to rinse. 


 The dried glue resists most of the dye, leaving the treated areas lighter.  The glue is washable and disappears in the wash.








 Whenever you dye something, you never know exactly how it will turn out.  With this project, the thread remained white.  I really like the effect, though, since it ties in so nicely with the white in the inked designs!

 

This technique was a bit time consuming, but I'm really happy with the results. 
A few tips:

•Make sure you use Elmer's washable clear glue and let it dry completely.
•I didn't get my jacket wet before dyeing (which is usually recommended for a more consistent result), I didn't want to risk washing away the dried glue and, therefore, ruining the effect.
•Be sure you use a permanent ink marker.  

Update:  Louise in SW Saskatchewan had this useful information to add to the process:
"The thread stayed white because it was probably polyester or a polycotton blend instead of 100% cotton. I am a professional hand dyer and have found out about this.  If you use Elmer's blue School Gel you can get finer lines as it holds it's shape better than the Clear Gel which tends to spread more. I use the Blue Gel for a particular technique and we tried the clear gel to compare and discovered its spreading tendencies."

I was aware of the reason why the thread didn't take the dye, but the advantage of the blue glue was news to me!!

Good luck!

I like to link to these great parties!

Featured on:
Sugar Bee Crafts
The Busy Bee's
Threading My Way
Crafted
A Girl and A Glue Gun

Also featured in Fall 2013 Altered Couture magazine!



60 comments:

  1. Wow, that is absolutley amazing, I need to find something to try that on although I doubt it would be half as neat as your beautiful jacket!

    Alison
    x

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! I'm sure you would do a great job, plus the process is pretty forgiving!

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  2. Wow, that's fantastic! It must have taken hours to do.

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    1. Thanks! It was a bit time consuming, but I did most of it while watching...or listening...to the television in the evening.

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  3. That design is beautiful. It is amazing that you drew it first. Awesome!

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    1. Thank you! I googled "henna tattoos" to give me some inspiration. It's really just a bunch of doodling!

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  4. Hi, found you through Not JUST a Housewife - absolutely gorgeous work. New follower ...

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  5. Wowza Sue! This is one of my favorite things you've refashioned!! Very cool!

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    1. Thanks, Kathy! I'm really happy with the results. It's on its way to Stampington right now for their ombre challenge. We'll see if they're as impressed as you are!!

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  6. This is beautiful!! I wish I had one too. :o)
    We would like to invite you to share this at our party that is live now: http://thebusybhive.blogspot.com/
    Thanks!
    The Busy Bee's,
    Myrna and Joye.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the compliment, and invite...I'm all linked up!

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  7. This project is truly amazing! What a technique! Thanks for sharing it at Monday Funday. I'm including it in my fashion round-up post!

    --Katie

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  8. That. Is. Stunning! Do you do henna work, as well? This looks like mehndi! How have I not found your blog before this...? Found you on Make It Wear It Thursday- glad to meetya, new follower!

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    1. Thanks, and glad to meet you also! I don't actually do henna designs...just denim doodling!

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  9. Wow. Your design is beautiful and had to have taken a lot of work! ~Major Moma

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  10. Holy cow that is clever and beautiful! I can't wait to try this on my own denim projects, including pillows and totes. Wonderful project, good instructions. Thanks!

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    1. Pillows and totes would be great projects for this technique! Have fun!!

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  11. Your new jacket is AMAZING, Susan!!! I LOVE it!!! You must be so patient to draw that intricate design. I'm not sure if we can get Elmer glue over here. Is there anything special about the glue, other than that it's washable?

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    1. Thanks, Pam!! I'm not sure about the glue. I would assume that any washable glue would work. I would try it on a scrap first before committing myself to a full project...that's what I did!

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  12. It´s really amazing... and a good idea for me..because I´ve got the same jacket. Thanks for this post.

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    Replies
    1. That's great that you have the same jacket...have fun with it!!

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  13. Wow, that's beautiful!
    Did you do anything special to the Sharpie to ensure that it would stay even when you wash the jacket?

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    1. I did a sample on a scrap of white denim first to see how it would work. I heat set the sharpie with a hot iron before applying the glue and dye. But, with the jacket, I skipped the heat setting (I guess I forgot in the excitement of getting it finished!) and it seemed to come out fine. It didn't hurt anything to heat set it, so I guess its your call!

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  14. Wow!! That is absolutely fantastic! Your design is beautiful. Bravo! I'm giving you a standing O!

    Thank you for partying with the Wildly Original Crowd.
    <3 Christina at I Gotta Create!

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  15. This is a fabulous fabulous makeover! I feel so inspired now. Thanks for the step-by-step.

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  16. The thread stayed white because it was probably polyester or a polycotton blend instead of 100% cotton. I am a professional hand dyer and have found out about this.
    If you use Elmer's blue School Gel you can get finer lines as it holds it's shape better than the Clear Gel which tends to spread more. I use the Blue Gel for a particular technique and we tried the clear gel to compare and discovered its spreading tendencies. This was a very interesting project.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the tip! I tried finding the blue gel and all I could find was the clear. Good to know, though!

      Delete
  17. Hi, we featured your jacket on our link party. We hope you come by and get one of our feature buttons! Thanks so much for sharing with us!

    Have a beautiful Easter!
    Joye & Myrna
    The Busy Bee's
    thebusybhive.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the feature...I'll be right over to pick up a button!

      Delete
  18. Wow this refashion blows my mind. Totally beautiful. Incredible detail

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  19. What at beautiful transformation! Looks like a posh boutique item. I linked to you from Refashion Co-op.

    www.dressupnotdown.blogspot.com

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  20. Oh I forgot to say how impressed I am by your "doodling"! :o)

    www.dressupnotdown.blogspot.com

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  21. Hi Susan, I've featured your Tattooed Denim Jacket today... Threading Your Way Features

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  22. What an interesting idea - and the outcome is fantastic. Never seen anything like this before. Keep up the good work!

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  23. I love this technique! I have this strange urge to draw flowers with sharpies now! It turned out wonderfully!

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  24. Just found this via A Girl and a Glue Gun- it's absolutely brilliant! Looking forward to reading more of your blog :)

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  25. wow that is stunning. what a huge amount of work. I found you via a russian bloggers blog!!!

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  26. Wow this is amazing, the decorated yoke looks so pretty!

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  27. I am totally blown away by this! The detail in your design is so amazing! What a wonderful artist you are! I'm so glad I saw this today on Threading My Way! :) I've done some glue resist technique, but just used the white glue. Blue School Glue I guess is something different? Blue...I presume? I'll have to look into that!
    Gina @ Gina's craft Corner

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  28. Susan, You are one Amazingly Talented woman in so many ways! Love your blog!

    Christy
    seamsewcountryblogspot.com

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  29. Absolutely stunning!! Thank you for sharing. Great talent! This is the first time I have seen your blog, thanks to Linda Matthews.

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  30. I found you by a lucky accident, searching google for decorated jackets. What a find! I will be following you for sure. thank you for sharing your beautiful jacket and the description of how you did it. Very generous of you.

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  31. Love your doodles, it is brilliant...thanks for sharing your technics

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  32. Love this! Now if I could just find the white denim jacket my mother made me 30 years ago. Will have to keep my eye open for a white denim jacket.

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  33. I typed a message, tried to submit it, and was told I needed to subscribe, That seemed okay, as the content looks interesting. So, I subscribed, but when I came back to submit the message, it was not here. That, I did find irritating, as it took a bit for me to word the original message the way I wanted it. Oh, well, I think I this diet is taking a toll on me as I am feeling unreasonably cranky, and I know it. I need to go eat something. But, first: The jacket is gorgeous, but your directions appear to be directed at people with some knowledge of fabric painting. I have oil painted on canvas' never worked with fabrics. I have no idea of where to use the glue. Do I use it to go over every line, inside the designs, and in between them? Did you do the entire design with no pattern? If so, are there patterns to help people not so gifted? How long does one have to wait to let the design set or dry, before applying the glue? How long after the glue dries, before it is ready to dip in the dye? I think the directions for using Rit Dye says to use very hot water. Did you use hot water...how hot, if so? If I am going to invest in the jacket and a lot of time, I want to make sure I do not get into it and mess it up, because I was not clear on part of the process. Should the finished jacket be washed in cold water during subsequent washes?

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    1. Cyd,
      She used the glue as a resist. To block the dye and keep small elements the original jacket color, white.

      Anyway, Susan, good work. High value, low pain-in-the-neck ratio. Love this concept.

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  34. I agree with the "wow" comments. Just beautiful. I have got to try this one!

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  35. Awesome jacket. Thanks for sharing

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Thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate the feedback and always look forward to reading what you have to say! Susan