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If you have been following along on my preparation for the Irvine Studio Arts Festival that took place on June 3rd, you’ll know that I made a cool table runner for my booth using a neat technique call Flour Paste Resist. It is very similar to Batik but instead of hot wax you are using a flour paste (like pancake batter) as your resistance.

In this blog post I am sharing the first few steps on this process. I had fun making my table runner using step by step instructions I found on-line.  I’m sharing MY process and results of this technique because, with any craft, results vary and your experience will be different from someone else’s. Plus, its fun to document experiments!

MY SUPPLY LIST

  1. Flour
  2. Plastic Drop Cloth
  3. Acrylic Paint
  4. Washing Soda or Soda Ash
  5. Squeegee or spreader
  6. Gloves
  7. Measuring-cup
  8. Dish Soap (not pictured)
  9. Fabric (not pictured)
  10. Mixer (not pictured)
  11. Table or flat work surface
  12. Table fans (optional)
  13. Wooden Paint Stirrer (not pictured)
  14. 4 Medium or Large Clamps
  15. Pouring Pitcher 

 

STEP ONE:  WASH YOUR FABRIC

This is important, as most to all fabrics have been treated during the milling process.  You want to remove all of the grease/coating so the fabric can be respective to the dye/paint.  Skipping this step will cause disappointing results, as the dye/paint will not get deep into the fibers.  Your fabric will be “stained” instead of dyed.*  To remove these treatments,  simply:

Wash the fabric on HOT with about  1/2 to 1 cup of dawn or any other degreasing dish soap.  I used 1 cup for my 6’x3′ runner.  YES, this is going to cause a LOT of bubbles….but if you’re like me, you’ll enjoy it and take pictures of them! Do not dry after washing.  Set your fabric aside in preparation for the next step. 

 

STEP TWO:  SOAK FRESHLY WASHED FABRIC

This is another important step.  Soaking the fabric in Washing Soda or Soda Ash, raises the ph levels of the fabric which aids in the fabrics ability to take the dye/paint.

Mix about 1/2 cup of Washing Soda into a gallon (or more) of warm water and mix well using a paint stirrer (you can get them at your local hardware store).  Once the Washing Soda is dissolved in the warm water, submerge your fabric into the mixture.  Leave the fabric in this mixture for at least 20 to 30 minutes.  I soaked for 2 hours.

 

STEP THREE:  PREPARE FABRIC FOR FLOUR PASTE

Now that your fabric has soaked in Washing Soda for at least 20 to 30 minutes (or 2 hours, as I did), it is time to ring it out.  If you are working with a large piece of fabric grab an extra pair of hands to make it easier.   With each of you holding either end of the fabric, turn in opposite directions (twisting the fabric) to remove access water.   I did this over my back lawn, and I notice a bit of yellowing grass the next day –  this went away after a few douses of the water hose.

Once the fabric is rung out, toss it in the dryer on the proper setting for your material, and dry thoroughly.  


Notice that the 100% cotton muslin that I used is rather wrinkled after drying.  I was okay with this since I was, after all, going for a “cracked” aesthetic.  Depending on what fabric you are using and the results you are going for, you may want to steam or iron your fabric after drying.  I encourage you to research the material you are working with; i.e. silk, cotton blends, wool, and how dyes/paints react to them.  This is where experimentation comes in – play around and see what happens.

> > Part Two : Preparing and Applying the Flour Pastes Resist

> > > Part Three : Cracking the Resist and Applying Paint

*references from Frost Yarn

6 Comments

  • Crimson Rose2 years ago

    reply

    Hello

    I would love to jump into using a resist. Can you tell me how long can I wait after painting with the resist, can I dye the fabric?
    In case it takes a while to work on a design, I want to have enough resist material ready so I can dye a large batch. Does that make sense?

  • Bonnie Spielman2 years ago

    reply

    Are you suppose to rinse the fabric after the dish soap wash and then again after the soda ash soak?

  • Natalia2 years ago

    reply

    Hi! I know that this article is literally from years ago, but I wanted to just go out of my way to thank you for having the clearest pre-dying methods written out that I’ve found anywhere. I’ve seen so many people mention washing your clothes before dying, and dish soap will be sporadically mentioned, but this is the first time someone’s actually written out a concrete recipe with instructions, that I’ve seen out of 15 + tutorials. I could cry for joy rn, so thank you dude!!!!!!!

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