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Experimenting with Paste Resists on Fabric

Experimenting with Paste Resists on Fabric

I have tried flour paste resist before and even wrote a tutorial about how to use the resist on silk scarves. My local group decided we wanted to try some experiments again with flour paste resists. If you are wondering how you could use this technique, it would work great for making patterns on silk fabric used in nuno felting. If you want to learn the full process, click on the link above.

Because we were going to try this in one afternoon, I had to do some prep work. It takes at least 24 hours x 2 for this process to dry. I started with hand dyed fabric and used a variety of colors and a variety of types of fabric. I started out trying to document the process but the documentation fell apart in the middle of the process. So, I can’t tell you exactly which pastes were used on which fabric. But I did figure out what works and what doesn’t work so well.

So I pinned the fabric down and applied different pastes. Instead of just using wheat flour (which I know works), I also tried potato starch, amaranth flour, corn meal, and coconut flour. I could tell after applying some of these, especially the potato starch, that some of the pastes were not going to work as wheat flour does. After you apply the paste, you let it dry and then crackle the surface. The corn meal pretty much fell off the fabric and didn’t stick at all. The only alternative flour that worked well was the amaranth flour.

After the surface of the paste resist is cracked, then paint or thickened dye is applied. I used black textile paint. You can see that I left some of the pieces unpainted, as these would be used by my group during our afternoon get together.

If it’s working, you can see on the back side of the fabric, the paint comes through the cracks on to the fabric. This example is wheat flour resist and overall, it definitely works the best. I think if I had mixed wheat flour with some of the other alternative flours, it might have worked better and still given different crackle results.

Here are some of the results of the pastes that didn’t work so well. The fabric is still useable as the results were still very organic but it was not the crackle look expected from this technique.

Here are the two that worked the best. The one on the right is from wheat flour paste and the one on the right is from amaranth flour paste. It is really interesting how different the crackles look between the two. I’m not sure what I will do with these samples yet but I’m sure eventually, they will get used in some project.

If you try flour paste resist, we would love to see the results. You can upload your photos here.

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