chemical compounds

Sodium Metasulfite and Guar Gum – How to make burn out ink

I eat shirts.

A gift came in the mail today, I’m the proud parent of two new bags of cocaine looking powders: Guar Gum and Sodium Metabisulfate. These two chemical compounds carry some heavy weight and should be extremely handy for my next project. Burnout Ink Flamethower Tee Shirt! The shirt may or may not throw flames, but the idea takes the combined properties of the two chemicals I bought to selectively eat a shirt to create sheer transparent layering effects.

The Sodium Metabisulfate, which I’ll call the shirt eater, is a chemical commonly used in tree stump removal. You pour some on and it eats the organic fibers that compose the tree and you now have a boring lawn. But what this also means is that the cotton parts of a shirt might be eaten leaving the non-organic parts (the polyester).

Awesome, now we need a carrier. Let’s bring in contestant #2! Gaur Gum!

Guar Gum will transport our chemicals to the shirt
Guar Gum will transport our chemicals to the shirt. (note: also not cocaine)

So now we have the active ingredient in our burnout ink we need something to transport it. Guar Gum is pretty neat stuff, it’s edible… actually it’s used as a binder in some medicines and it’s pretty non-reactive. This derivative of a bean is a perfect thickener, it’s a part of toothpaste and shampoo conditioner. It does not gel on it’s own, so wikipedia suggests borax, I’d like to see what kind of gel it turns into (perhaps this has a use in some casting applications as well?)

Soon we’ll give this a shot and a new design will be up at modati’s hack line of shirts. Home burnt shirts homeboys.