I have been wanting to try doing a piece using the Elmer's gel formula of their school glue as a resist. Since it can be rinsed out of fabric even after it has dried, it seemed like it would be ideal. The only problem I ran into, if you can even call it a problem, is that acrylic paints can't be heat set before removing the resist, so the colors will fade a bit. Just be prepared for this and don't get married to those bright colors that you see when the paint is wet!
1. I drew a tree outline, based upon some gnarly catalpas in our yard. I wanted to have the resist around the edges of each branch so that I could add beading to it later. Maybe. So anyway, I didn't put too many details or any small branches into my tree. I traced the outline with a thick black marker.
2. Lay a piece of muslin over the pattern that you've made and tape down the edges so that it won't shift as you work. Trace the outline with a large black fabric marker and fill in the trunk and branches. Remove the tape and place your fabric on a piece of waxed paper.
3. Use the tip of the glue bottle and trace around the outside of each branch. Don't worry if the gel extends onto the marker...it won't smear it. It's easiest if you work from the center portions outwards so that you don't disturb lines you've already made. If you do smudge something, you can immediately wash the gel out completely before it has a chance to dry. Allow your piece to dry overnight.
4. Mix up your acrylic colors with water so that they are quite thin. I used Quinacridone burnt orange, Quinacridone magenta, and Dioxazine purple. Use a soft foam brush to apply the colors, and avoid rubbing the gel as much as possible. You might even want to wet the fabric before applying the paint, but too much water can dissolve the gel and allow some paint to seep in where you don't want it, so handle it carefully. Again allow the piece to dry overnight.
5. Wet your fabric and begin to rub and scrape gently at the gel to peel and dissolve it. A bit of soap helps to soften the gel too for removal. Like I said, your paints, and even the marker may fade slightly, but that's ok since you'll be expecting it ;-)
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