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  • Batik Etching Conductive Fabrics
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    Content by Mika Satomi and Hannah Perner-Wilson
    E-Textile Tailor Shop by KOBAKANT
    The following institutions have funded our research and supported our work:

    From 2013-2015 Mika is a guest professor at the eLab at Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee

    From July - December 2013 Hannah was a researcher at the UdK's Design Research Lab

    From 2010-2012 Mika was a guest researcher in the Smart Textiles Design Lab at The Swedish School of Textiles

    From 2009 - 2011 Hannah was a graduate student in the MIT Media Lab's High-Low Tech research group led by Leah Buechley


    In 2009 Hannah and Mika were both research fellows at the Distance Lab


    Between 2003 - 2009 Hannah and Mika were both students at Interface Cultures
    We support the Open Source Hardware movement. All our own designs published on this website are released under the Free Cultural Works definition
    Technique

    Ikat Woven Conductive Thread

    Ikat is a technique of partially dying yarns before weaving them to create a patterned fabric. A resist is applied to the yarn before the yarn is submerged in dye. This post describes a process of etching (rather than dying) conductive thread selectively, leaving some parts conductive and others non-conductive. The resulting “striped” thread is then woven to achieve an irregular woven conductive fabric. The etched conductive thread can be applied either as warp or weft thread or both. While the process in this post was done quite randomly, it can also be done so that the resulting fabric patterns are more predictable.

    Step-by-Step

    I found that the silverized nylon threads from Schieldex etched quite nicely in a salt and vinegar bath.
    Wrap the conductive thread around an object. The bellow examples show toothpicks and a plastic fork. Then apply a resist such as vaseline or batik wax selectively to the yarn. Etch in bath for as long as it takes to eat through the silver.

    Remove and use heat from iron and tissue or newspaper to soak up resist.

    Now you can weave the ikat etched conductive thread on a very simple hand loom like the following.



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