Silkpaint!® - Unique Products for Creative People - The AirPen, Fiber Etch, Silkpaint Resist
A college of Silkpaint projects: SurfacingSkins, Fiber Etch, AirPen and Silkpaint Resist

Fiber Etch® Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What is Fiber Etch®?
A. Fiber Etch Fiber Remover is a gel which creates decorative effects by removing fiber.
Q. Are there particular fibers that are removed by Fiber Etch?
A. Yes. Fiber Etch removes plant fibers: cotton, linen, ramie, rayon and paper. It is also very effective on fabric blends (and most noticeable on blends containing at least 50% plant fibers).
Q. What happens when Fiber Etch contacts stitching?
A. For embroidery, use a thread that Fiber Etch® will not remove: 100% polyester, acrylic, nylon, metallic (not containing a rayon core), or silk.
Q. Since silk is a natural fiber, won't it be removed by Fiber Etch?
A. Specifically, silk is a protein fiber, as is wool. Fiber Etch will only remove plant fibers.
Q. What keeps Fiber Etch within areas?
A. Two things. Fiber Etch is a gel, so it won't flow out of control. Also, satin stitching, paint, or adhesives from iron-ons help to keep it contained (as well as providing a non-raveling border around areas to be removed). Use a hairdryer to speed drying of Fiber Etch.
Q. What happens if I get Fiber Etch on an area that I don't want to be removed?
A. Simply wash it out of the fabric with soap and water. Alternately, you can sprinkle a bit of baking soda to neutralize the area if the treated area is still damp.
Q. What type of velvet is best used with Fiber Etch?
A. The velvet must be silk back with rayon pile (Fiber Etch removes the rayon pile and leaves the silk back intact).
Q. To which side of the velvet do you apply the Fiber Etch?
A. If applying with a brush or from the bottle, apply to the pile side. If silkscreening, apply to the reverse side.
Q. What papers work best with Fiber Etch?
A. Choose an unsized cotton rag or rice paper without plasticizers, fillers, or polishes.
Q. Are there particular things to avoid when using Fiber Etch Fiber Remover?
A. Avoid fabrics with heavy finishes or wax polishes, or that are heavily pigment printed. Some sizings can be washed out of fabrics. Artist quality fabrics (ready to etch) may be purchased from us.
Q. When sewing and in need of a stabilizer, what are the best stabilizers to use with Fiber Etch?
A. Use water-soluble or paper-based stabilizers. Also good to use are coffee filters, freezer wrap, and starch.
Q. How can I use Fiber Etch for cutwork?
A. Fiber Etch is particularly useful in removing small areas of intricate cutwork designs. With silk or polyester thread on linen fabric, stitch three close rows of small straight stitches following pattern lines, then satin stitch over all three rows of straight stitching. Apply Fiber Etch at base of stitching. Apply to both sides of heavier fabrics.
Q. What happens if the fabric is not free of sizes of finishes?
A. Finishes do not allow Fiber Etch to permeate into the fibers of the fabric. Fiber Etch will remain on the top of the finish and simply turn the finish brownish when ironed, not contacting the fabric fibers at all. Washing will not always remove all finishes.
Q. What type of fabrics have finishes?
A. Many poly blend fabrics have finishes, and many colorful cottons have finishes as well.
Q. How can I tell if my fabric is free of finishes?
A. Unless you're using specifically Kona® (quilter’s) Cotton, or fabric purchased from us (which are all of the highest grade: PFP, which means "Prepared for Printing"), testing a strip is necessary to ensure it is finish free.
Q. How much Fiber Etch fiber remover should I apply?
A. Apply enough to permeate through to the back side of the material.
Q. Is it all right to leave Fiber Etch on overnight?
A. Generally not. Silk content fabrics, especially silk/rayon velvet and silk/rayon satin, contain only 20% or so of silk. This renders the fabric very fragile and sensitive to an extended period of Fiber Etch contact.
Q. How long should I dry in the dryer to activate silk content fabrics?
A. Place in a tumble dryer on low (with a small, dry towel) for about 30 minutes. When activated, treated area becomes stiff. You can test if sufficiently activated by scratching with finger.
Q. What if the Fiber Etch area is still not activated?
A. If fabric is not sufficiently activated after 1 hour in the dryer, finish activating with an iron on low heat, using a press cloth.
Q. Is it possible to use too much heat when ironing?
A. Yes, especially if your fabric contains silk. After applying Fiber Etch, be certain to tumble dry all silk-blend fabrics prior to ironing.
Q. Should I dye the fabric first, before etching?
A. No. Dyeing fabric is the last step, after Fiber Etch has been activated and removed.
Q. What type of wood can be used for wood burning effects?
A. Select a soft, fine-grained wood. We recommend a birch-faced plywood.