Use nail art supplies for fabric coloring
For this DIY grommet jean jacket I am happy to show you how to add grommets to clothing and to demonstrate an exciting way to use nail art supplies for fabric coloring. No sewing machine is needed to revamp and customize a denim jacket.
In a previous post I showed another creative way to DIY a denim jacket, if you are curious to see it Use your jeans to update your denim jacket .
Let’s start with this one!
DIY grommet jean jacket
Clothes embellished with grommets have been in style for a few years. I wanted to install some grommets on a garment before the trend wagon moved on.
I found the perfect occasion with this men’s denim jacket purchased for $5.00 at my local thrift shop. I liked that the jacket originated from Sears, Nevada and was their clothing brand (ping of nostalgia). This denim jacket is weaved with sturdy cotton and it will make for a nice oversize 80s look.
The grommets I found in stores in my area were 1 9/16″ (4 cm) wide. I searched for bigger eyelets online and found some that were 2 3/4” (7cm) wide on eBay. I purchased 20 snap together plastic grommets meant for shower curtains on eBay for about $12.00. The grommets arrived stained and scratched, even though being individually wrapped. I didn’t mind because I was using them on a second hand garment. But I wouldn’t use scratched grommets on something that I would of sewn from scratch.
First the obvious; decide where I wanted to place the grommets on the garment. Because of my grommets size I chose areas on the jacket that will remain flat when the jacket will be worn. Also avoiding elbows or high friction areas like the jacket sides. I decided to place the grommets on the center back (I will measure to see how many can fit), on the upper parts of the sleeves (on the side of the arms, just below the deltoid muscle), and for a balanced look, one over each front chest pocket.
How to add grommets to clothing
Snap together grommets are composed of two parts; the front part with a raised inner edge and the back part with a prong side. The smaller white plastic circle is a template to mark the hole for this size grommet. As you see in the above image, my grommets have an engraved branding on the front part of the grommet, I will therefore install the front part of the grommet on the inside of the jacket. Well, I wouldn’t mind showing the letters/logo/brand, but since I don’t know what is written I thought it was best to hide it.
I did a simple test (excuse the absorbing paper, too lazy to fetch a piece of fabric) and learned that I had to trace on the outside of the template otherwise the fabric was too tight around the grommet and the fabric puckered and pleated. Here are the steps to attach plastic grommets.
1– Use the template to trace the shape of the grommet
2– Cut out the traced circle (see below how to protect the cut edges of fabric)
3– Insert the front raised eyelet through the hole
4– Note that in some cases this plastic circle could also be a washer. Don’t discard before reading the instructions.
5– Place the grommet with the pronged side on top of the raised eyelet. Firmly press the two grommet parts together and you will hear some pops as the pieces snap together.
Measuring the jacket to install the grommets
I measured the jacket center back and calculated that 5 grommets would fit on the back panel. (I chose to center align my grommets for a certain look; you may chose to place the grommets in a more haphazard manner remembering that flat areas will provide the most comfort).
To find the center back of your jean jacket fold your jacket in half matching both side seams and the underarms seams while keeping the waist band aligned and at the same level. Carefully smooth out wrinkles. Pin the matching parts of the jacket together. The fold you obtained is the center back of your jean jacket. Mark the center back with sewing pins.
Place the template where you want them, trace around the template.
I applied Fray Stop around the edge to prevent the cut fabric from fraying (not sponsored).
Insert the front raised eyelet through the hole and flatten the fabric down with your fingers. Place the grommet with the pronged side on top of the raised eyelet. Press and snap the grommets together. Easy as pie!
Now let’s do the sleeves.
To find the sleeve center; place a measuring tape from the top of the shoulder to the bottom of the wrist. Then place a sewing needle to mark the grommet placement (for my jacket, the grommet will be placed just under the deltoid muscle area). Write down those measures to ensure to place the grommet at the same level on the other sleeve.
Now let’s place the grommets on the jacket front.
Placing this grommet was a little tricky. It didn’t fall or look right centered on top of the front pockets. The part of the jacket that was remaining flat during movements was towards the center, closer to the button placket. There it will go.
It is important that both grommets are placed at exactly the same place on the other side of the jacket. Otherwise the eyes will immediately detect that the grommets are not at the same level. To do so, carefully align the button plackets and the front yoke seams. Carefully smooth out wrinkles and pin the matching parts of the jacket together. And pin around the previously traced circle.
Use the grommet template to trace through the previously cut out hole.
This is a men’s denim jacket and the sleeves are too long for me. The good thing is that the sleeves are wide enough for my hands to go through them. I will simply remove the cuffs and sew a regular double fold hem.
I have to sew the sleeves plackets closed but I sincerely doubt that my domestic sewing machine will be able to go through 8 layers of heavy denim. I will therefore cheat and use permanent washable fabric glue to glue the sleeve plackets together.
Apply a good amount of fabric glue between the two plackets and press them together. For a perfect seam you have to ensure that the glue goes all the way to the edge of the plackets. Use a damp cloth to remove the glue that exceeds the placket edges. Do not worry if you still see a bit of glue, the fabric glue dries clear. Note: it is best to put a lining paper inside to sleeve to prevent gluing the sleeve closed.
In order to help the two sides bond together place a book or a weight on it overnight or for at least 6 to 8 hours.
And the next morning we have sleeve plackets that are fully bonded together with no trace of fabric glue.
I decided to hand sew the sleeve hems. Again fearing these thick (now hardened by glue) sleeve plackets.
And now the fun begins….. customize the jacket.
Use nail art supplies for fabric coloring
The other day I was applying some foil paper to my fingertips and I had this light bulb idea; I should try this on fabric?! After all gold transfer foils are commonly used on many surfaces like leather, paper and furniture ….. these nail art foil papers are no different and should transfer onto fabric.
In my own nail art experiences (I’m not a nail art technician) I have found that foil adhesive is the only type of glue that actually bonded foil papers on my nails. Those small tube of foil glue are quite expensive and are probably not flexible or washable….
Hum….. the only thing that I have to do is figure out is which type of glue will do the job.
For my first trial I used washable fabric glue, a plastic hard rubber tip nail art tool, a piece of foil transfer paper and of course a piece of denim fabric. I applied the foil transfer paper onto the fabric the same way I would on nails. (Apply the glue, rub the foil paper over, remove the foil paper).
The result was awesome. I let it dry before testing the transferred colors; 4 hours later I could scratch the foil and it wasn’t coming off. I hand washed it 3 times (let it dry a few hours between each wash). Not only did the transferred colors remain on the fabric but the colors didn’t fade one bit!
Tips and tricks
Before you start applying foil transfer papers onto your clothes, let me share these few tips.
I have bought foil transfer papers that were sold as being nail art foil transfers but weren’t. Here’s a few pointers on how to make sure that you are indeed buying real foil papers.
The samples A are iridescent plastic films. Plastic film are quite thin and the wrong side of the film is the same color than the right side. With the exception that the wrong side is not iridescent. Some plastic films can be see through. In my own experience, these types of plastic films don’t transfer onto denim fabric and don’t transfer onto nails either.
The samples B are real transfer foil papers. Foil papers are made by applying a substance onto foil sheets. Therefore the main characteristic of foil papers is that the wrong side of the paper is actually foil. Another quick way to confirm that it is a real foil transfer paper is it won’t be see through. If you can see through the paper, it’s not real foil transfer paper, simple.
After some trials here are my preferred transfer foil papers to use on denim fabric.
Sample No 1 was my favorite; at first glance this paper had a minimum of shine with an almost flat metallic finish. But once transferred onto the fabric, wow! This foil paper gave out extreme shine and deposited glitters onto the fabric. I also like it’s color gradient which gave out a maximum effect per rub.
Before talking about the sample No 2, I have to talk about sample No 3.
Sample No 3 was my least favorite to use; surprisingly the intense holograph didn’t transfer onto the fabric at all. This foil paper gave out a minimum of shine and almost no glittering effects. Especially the silver colored ones; they just transferred a flat patch of grey.
The sample No 2 sample was right in the middle. I liked it because of it’s gradient of colors (max color effect per rub). These foils gave out some shine and some glitters, mainly because the holographic parts are spaced out on the pattern.
These two fabric glues worked perfectly for this particular project and both offered a permanent bond (not sponsored). One is washable the other one is dry cleanable, choose the glue according to your fabric, I went with the washable one.
After a few trials I also realized that the nail art rubbing tool wasn’t strong enough to properly rub the foil paper onto the fabric and I switched to wood (Popsicle) sticks.
How to apply fabric glue for fabric coloring with nail art supplies.
1– Apply a drop of glue to the area that you want to color.
2– Spread the glue over the fabric with the wood stick.
3– Do not worry if little dots of glue splash here and there. You can leave it as the glue will dry clear or you can transfer a little spot of foil over it.
We apply the foil paper with it’s wrong side against the fabric, shiny side up!
1– You have to work while the glue is just applied and very wet (the foil won’t transfer well if the glue has started to be tacky).
2– Place the foil paper over the fabric, shiny side up.
3– Press the paper onto the fabric with your fingers. This will further spread the glue and provide an initial bond between the fabric and the paper.
4– It is important for you to know where the glue is located under the foil paper because the foil might transfer onto the fabric even if there is no glue present. Those parts of foils that aren’t locked in with glue will not remain on the fabric for long. And they will be prone to transfer to other objects…. like a purse or a belt.
I am not saying that the foil color patches will be transfer proof. As noted above I’ve washed the jacket 3 times and did scratch tests to confirm no transfer of color. (I completed this DIY project in mid January and do to the –20c to –30c temperature outside I have yet to wear the jacket!!!!).
5– Rub the foil paper over the glued parts applying a strong pressure with the wood stick. You have to rub quite hard on the foil paper (don’t worry the foil paper is very strong and won’t rip).
You have to rub over the area until the foil is totally transferred to the fabric. You will know that the foil has totally transferred once you see your fabric through the paper.
A better close up image. Awe! It makes my heart sing!
Once I ran out of my favorite No1 gradient foil papers I improvised and created color combos using different color of foils on a same spot. These 3 papers you see in the above image made about 4 patches of colors.
I distributed these 4 patches of the same color all over the jacket to balance the color bursts. For example one on the back, another one on a sleeve, another one on the collar and the last one in the front.
Then I moved on using 3 other paper colors and made 4 other patches distributed around the jacket…. and so on until I reached an amount of color on the jacket that suited my fancy.
Glitters and sparkles bounce the light and are difficult to photograph. Pictures don’t deliver the shine and the vibrancy of the colors. The result is divine especially when a light source hits the jacket.
For a reference I used 42 sheets of foil papers to paint this denim jacket. Most of them size 2” x 4” (5 cm x 10 cm) and one small bottle of fabric glue size 0.66 oz (19.6 ml).
And here is the DIY grommet jean jacket from all angles
Awe….. this DIY was so much fun to do. My head is spinning with other fabric coloring ideas that I want to try! I hope that this tutorial will inspire you to create your own art by using unorthodox mediums to paint and customize your own clothes.
Thank you for passing by