Janet's Creations

Janet's Creations
Gemma's "I Spy" hexagon quilt

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Using Elmer's Washable School Glue to baste your quilts

Elmer's Washable School by the gallon is $14.00 on Amazon - cheap  I should be able to do at least 18 quilts with a gallon of glue
vs
505 in the red can $13.00 a can and I can get maybe 3 quilts per can

Read on and see if this method is for you.

My guild President asked me this past Sunday why I would want to use glue on my quilts, I gave a quick answer but will go into some depth here.
I hate pinning - nothing seemed to stay flat and in place no matter how many pins I used.  I would poke my fingers and sometimes get some blood on the quilt that I would have to remove then.  NO blood on quilts as there is enough sweat and tears - he he he do you remember the group Blood, Sweat and Tears :) I spend too many hours pinning quilts either on the floor or on tables if the quilt was small enough - I distinctive remember spending 8 hours pinning my son's quilt for when he passed boot camp for the NAVY back in the day when I only stitched in the ditch.  I hated taking all those pins out again as I was sewing along.
When I found 505 temporary spray adhesive, I was in hog heaven!  The answer to my prayers was at last at hand.  I scoured the Internet to find the best price and by ordering it by the case it was about $13.00 a can for the large size. Now, 505 in the red can comes from Frances but is still the same as the 505 found here in the USA.  I figured I could get 3 maybe 4 quilts out of each can.  Not bad, since it cut the sandwiching process down expediently. I experience no fumes with the spray either,
but there is still is the cost.  This was when I decided to try FMQ on my domestic machine also and I was zipping along in no time.
I had been reading on the Internet at the Quilting Board, that some folks were trying the Elmer's Washable School Glue for basting their quilts together.  I know in elementary school in Canada where I was a support worker that we frequently used this glue on the cloth crafts that the children would make at Valentine's Day.  So I asked if anyone had done a tutorial - no one had so I figured I could do this.
The Elmer's Washable School glue is affordable (I even tried some Playschool washable glue I found at the 99 cent Store) I bought a gallon and a single bottle to put glue in to for around $ 17.00 - I have done 14 quilts and still have a little more than 1/3 of the gallon left.  So for less than a dollar a quilt I have found an excellent alternative to pinning and spray basting.
If kids can eat this stuff at school and we all know that they do unintentionally I know it is safe for my quilts and for the environment.
Yes, it does wash out in warm water in the washing machine.  I take my quilts as a rule to the laundry mat (see that posting here too) as I have an HE top loading washer and it is not the best for washing anything larger
than a lap quilt.

If I use Elmer's I will have more money for fabric :)


Okay everyone!  Sweet Adeline Quilts has perfected the Elmer's Washable Spray Glue in a spray bottle ratio so here you go!  It is as follows: " I played around with watered down elmers in a spray bottle (1 part glue to 3 parts water) and it worked but requires a LOT more ironing."

or

I have tweaked a recipe from a member of the Quilting Board forum that I follow.  Mrs. Beasley posted a recipe that I finally got around to trying yesterday, I modified the recipe to keep in step with my cooking style.  The spray glue mixture sprayed easily out of the bottle and had a nice adhesion to it.
So here we go!

3 cups of water
1/2 tsp salt
8 ounces or rubbing alcohol
clean spray bottle


- In a pot place 2 cups of water and 1/2 tsp of salt bring to a boil and reduce to a gentle boil.
- In a gravy shaker (or a jam jar) put 1 cup of cold water and 3 tbsp of flour - shake until the flour and water are combined.
- Whisk the flour mixture into the gently boiling water like you are making gravy and let it cook until the consistency of gravy/egg whites/ thin gruel.
- Remove from the heat and let it cool down to room temperature.
- In a clean spray bottle add 8 ounces of rubbing alcohol and the cooled flour mixture, gently shake and go sandwich a quilt.

*** There was one posting that someone had sprayed a quilt and left for a few months and they had some mold grow.  Since I am not going to leave my two quilts that I sandwiched yesterday that long I can't say for certain that this does or does not happen.  I just wanted everyone to know that this had been reported.
 

 First, I put my Warm and Natural Batting in the dryer for a bit to try and soften the wrinkles.  The I spread it out on my ping pong table (we never play ping pong on it, I use it only for quilting purposes)
 Then I spread my backing on the top of the batting. I arranged it so that there was batting showing underneath all around the edges.  I smoothed it all with my hands to ensure that there were no wrinkles in the batting.
 Then I folded half of the backing towards the center of the quilt, (like folding a piece of paper in half on the long side of the paper.)
 Now, holding the smaller bottle of glue over the batting at about 18 inches high  I began to squeeze out the glue. With constant pressure I swirled the glue about 18 inches back and forth until I had about an 18 inch square swirl of glue.  It dotted and did not lie in a straight line.  I did this the entire length of the quilt.
 I started in the center of the length of the backing and gentle lifted and pulled it towards me.  I then smoothed it down with my hand. Then I did the same thing towards the left of me until I reached the end of the row and then I did the same thing on the right side.
 I made sure there were no wrinkles and hand pressed the backing to the batting.
 I repeated the same actions on the other side of the table with the glue onto the batting, then hand pressing it down.   The I let it dry overnight.  I positioned the quilt so that the center line was on the table's middle so that there was even pressure on the quilt as it dried.
I glued right up to the edge of the quilt!  When I FMQ, I work the FMQing around the edge of the quilt and quilt into the middle of the quilt.  The exact opposite of most folks.  I read that if you quilt was securely basted it didn't matter where you started and ended :)
 It repeated the gluing and hand pressing for the quilt top.  I know you can see ripples on the batting, but once the glue and hand pressing was completed the weight and pressure flattened them right out.  I let it all dry overnight once again and FMQed the next day.
Here is the completed quilt, it is a Turning Thirty for my stepson in the Army up in Alaska.  I made pillowcases to coordinate also.  I washed the quilt in a triple washer at the laundry mat with Purex soap pucks and 2 Color Catchers.  I pieced the back aka Back Art, as it is more of a scrappy quilt.  I am sure he will like it!  Sorry the picture is sideways, I tried to straighten it, but to no avail.

42 comments:

  1. I saw your post on the Quilting Board and was intrigued with the idea of glue basting. I have never heard of this. Thanks for the pictures and explanation.

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    1. You are more than welcome. I will be experimenting with using a spray bottle in the near future :)

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  2. Just followed your link from the quiltingboard, great tute! Waiting to see how the spray bottle works. I've not had much luck with spray basting. I found that with time the glue shows through the quilt even if its washed after quilting. But if elmers glue works well then I'm sold!

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    1. Hi there,
      I just added a post for some spray basting made from flour and rubbing alcohol that worked like a charm. You might want to try it.
      Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. What an interesting concept. How big is this quilt?

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    1. Hi Frances,
      The quilt was a very large Queen size, a Turning Twenty quilt pattern but using 30 fat quarters so almost a King size. Happy sewing!

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  4. Interesting. I use the spray basting as well, but you are right at as the glue would be cheaper AND easier to find.

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  5. i think it is brilliant! but your right about trying it with a spray bottle. water it down a little first. since the glue is water soluble, it should work fine when cleaning the srayer!

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  6. Brilliant! I hate paying the price of the 505 spray and this will be a perfect alternative!

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  7. If you use the glue in a spray bottle how much water do you use to water it down?

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    1. Hi there,
      I was never able to prefect the correct ratio of water to glue for a spray bottle but have been using this methiod for about 6 months and love it - I add a dollop of Elmer's glue to the the mix also

      3 cups of water
      3 to 4 tbsp regular flour
      1/2 tsp salt
      8 ounces or rubbing alcohol
      clean spray bottle


      - In a pot place 2 cups of water and 1/2 tsp of salt bring to a boil and reduce to a gentle boil.
      - In a gravy shaker (or a jam jar) put 1 cup of cold water and 3 tbsp of flour - shake until the flour and water are combined.
      - Whisk the flour mixture into the gently boiling water like you are making gravy and let it cook until the consistency of gravy/egg whites/ thin gruel.
      - Remove from the heat and let it cool down to room temperature.
      - In a clean spray bottle add 8 ounces of rubbing alcohol and the cooled flour mixture, gently shake and go sandwich a quilt.

      Good luck and thinks for stopping by my blog :)

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  8. Are these 2 different methods of glue basting that you are talking about? Elmer's Glue and the flour spray?? If so, which do you prefer.

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  9. Hi Stitches Happy Thanksgiving Day! Right now, I use the flour and alcohol spray glue 80 % of the time and the Elmer's or 505 the other 20 %. I don't think I will buy anymore 505 once the last can I have is gone, but it sure nie to use when in a hurry!

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  10. Sounds great! I am anxious to try this on next quilt! Thanks!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Rose! I hope that when you try either method that you have great success, I ran out of home made spray glue last night and used the Elmer's Washable glue on a Christmas wall hanging - it should be try enough to FMQ when I get home after work :)

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  11. I will try this on some small projects first. I hate to bleed on my quilt tops too.

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    1. Good Morning Debra Kay,
      Either method works well on quilts up to 120 inches by 120 inches (I haven't made anything bigger than that :) You are so right about colors bleeding. I just finished a Christmas quilt with lots of red and blue in it, I used a bit too much homemade spray glue on an area with red fabric (I do not pre-wash) and it turned the white a tad pink, I washed the quilt with Color Catchers and all was fine when it came out of the dryer. I was lucky. Best of luck on trying this method of sandwiching quilts with a future project.

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  12. Thanks for sharing this idea. I had used Elmers glue on small projects and thought of how we use to use flour and water as paste but didn't take the thought any further. so happy to hear that it has been tried and as far as the mold, I expect that an area got a bit too saturated and didn't dry out properly. One could probably after a day or so of natural drying, pop it in a warm dryer to tumble.

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  13. I guess I'm stupid or something.
    Is the recipe for glue? I thought we were using Elmer's glue to baste?

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    1. I'm with you Janet, I'm confused. I thought the recipe would be for a watered down version of Elmer's.??

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    2. Me too ladies. I was looking for where the flour mixture was combined with Elmer's. So could you just water the Elmer's down to where it sprays out of the nozzle easier?

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    3. Good Morning Janet,

      I have also mentioned above a recipe for homemade glue that I use almost all the time now. I tried watering down the Elmer's Washable School Glue and could not get the ratio down so it would spray out of a bottle. So as this post was on using Elmer's and sandwiching I also added the homemade spray glue to the entry. In hind sight, I guess I should have separated the posts more clearly. I am sorry for the confusing. I am always looking for the most economical way to sandwich my quilts so that I can spend more money on fabric.

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    4. Hi Jen Dale,
      I have never been able to water down the Elmer's successfully. So that is why there is a write up about the home made spray glue. Some folks were saying it was too hard for them to squeezes the glue out off the bottles, so I offered an alternative - sorry for the confusion.

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    5. Hi Christy,
      I am so sorry for the confusion, as I have previously stated I can't seem to get the ratio down for diluting the Elmer's Washable School Glue so there is an alternative that works well and is even cheaper than Elmer's Glue. whatever you decide to do the best of luck!

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    6. I too was/am confused :) I just bought some elmer's glue, so now what?

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  14. WILL this work with hand quilting?

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    1. Hmm, hand quilting is something that I have never tried and kudos to all of you that do take the time to finish you quilts so beautifully. As I have never ventured into this area of quilting I can only guess that YES it would work, but as in all new things try something smaller and work your way up. Best of luck to you!

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  15. I have been using the elmers glue to baste for some time. If you don't want to wait overrnight you can set it with a hot dry iron. I played around with watered down elmers in a spray bottle (1 part glue to 3 parts water) and it worked but requires a LOT more ironing. I am going to try the flour based spray and see how that turns out. As a side note, i tried using the rose art brand glue when my local big box store was out of elmers. I do not recommend it as it turned brown when i ironed it and was a real pain to scrub out.

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    1. Thanks for letting us know about the Rose Art Glue, I have tried the Play School Brand of washable School Glue from the 99 Cent Store and was okay to use. Thanks for the ratio on the glue to water. I will add that for other quilters to know. Thanks for stopping by and good luck in all your projects!

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  16. I never thought of Elmer's. I've bought Roxanne's quilt basting glue, which is kind of expensive but works well. I like gluing as opposed to pinning. And I can quilt right through the glue. I always wash my quilts after so the glue washes out and I've never had any problems.

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    1. Hi Tracy,
      Thanks for coming by my blog, remember it has to be Elmer's or Play School's Washable School Glue or it will not wash out. I have a posting about homemade spray glue also - you might want to check it out also. Best fo luck in all your projects!

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  17. just a thought what if you mixed rubbing alcohol with the glue that is watered down this way the basting spray would dry faster when ironed and still baste like it should just a thought for someone to try. I would but I don't have any of that glue in house and still have to find a place where I can buy it in a big jug which I will be doing because yes I do prefer to glue then to pin and I've been using Roxanne's glue so far since it was the first thing I was introduce to using

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  18. Interesting...I have made my own Spray starch with Vodka...could this be done with Vodka instead of rubbing alcohol.? How long do you need to let this homemade version dry before quilting?

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    1. Hi FLO,

      I too make homemade Best Press with vodka :) rubbing alcohol is cheap at the 99 cent store so I hadn't thought to try and use vodka instead. I think I will stick with the rubbing alcohol for now. I iron my layers usually when sandwiching but it will dry overnight when I have left it to dry naturally. Thanks for stopping by and good luck in your projects.

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  19. What is FMQ I'm just a beginner at this quilting and I started with a queen size. Top is done now I'm feeling overwhelmed by the basteing and quilting ahead of me, but I don't want to give up now.

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  20. Hi Ann,
    FMQ is a method of securing all the layers together google Leah Day or on you tube and she can show you how to get started. Welcome to the quilting world :)

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  21. I hate pinning, too, and never seem to get all the wrinkles out. I can no longer afford to send my quilts out to a longarmer so I am learning to FMQ. I have a baby quilt for Linus ready to sandwich and quilt so I will try this method. I haven't had success with commercial spray bastes, such as June Taylor., so I hope this works for me!

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    1. Hi 5 lilacs (such a lovely smelling springtime plant) I hear you on sending things out to the longarmers - I never did it but I know it is expensive. I hope that you were successful with this method and also check out the homemade spray using flour, water, salt and rubbing alcohol. I loved using 505 spray but the cost was getting up there. Best of luck with your projects!

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    2. At the last minute I decided to use the flour, water, salt, and rubbing alcohol instead and it worked beautifully. Then I tried using full strength Elmers glue to baste the binding. It holds the binding in place but makes the binding and edge of quilt so stiff I could barely hand sew it to the back!

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  22. I tried this method (the elmers glue) and I got lots of hard spots where the glue dried, then when machine quilting my thread would break after going through the glue. I couldn't go more than a few inches without a break. I can't imagine hand quilting through the hard glue I can feel in the quilt. Did I not spread it out enough with my hand maybe? I'm going to try a spray method instead next. Thanks for the tips!

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    1. Good morning Nicole,
      I am so sorry to hear that the hard spots caused your thread to break. I have not had that happen yet, I also have a homemade spray listed here on the blog that uses flour, water, salt and rubbing alcohol that I have had good success with. Also did you use the Elmer's Washable School Glue? Best of luck with all your projects.

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  23. you have such great ideas!!! thank you so much for sharing will the spray with flour to baste the quilt last the same as 505 spray if left in the bottle for like 2 months? I'm slow at getting each quilt done :).Oh I forgot what is the best press everyone's talking about that too uses rubbing alcohol? that stuff is so expansive but I like it better than starch

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