Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Flour paste resist

I have been trying lots of surface design ideas while we've been in lock down. I don't know why, I suppose it's a distraction from everything that is going on.

I followed the instructions in a book called Art Cloth by Jane Dunnewold.

I mixed up a paste of equal parts of plain flour and cold water, 3/4 cup of each.

It was the first time I had ever done it, so I got out a piece of hand dyed fabric, some gelli printed fabric and some commercial fabric as well.

You put the cold water into a bowl and gradually add the flour, mixing it up until it resembles a pancake mixture in consistency, not too thick, not too thin. I used equal quantities of flour and water and used it that way.

I pinned down the fabric to hold it in place. I have a homemade printing board that is slightly padded and I also used a painting canvas that still has its plastic cover on it.

I spread over the flour paste, I didn't know if it was too thin or not but in the end it seemed to work.

Pretty scary looking isn't it?

I left it to dry for 24 hours. It's winter here in Australia so it definitely needed 24 hours to dry.
As it dries it shrinks, shrivels up and becomes very stiff. Luckily, I pinned it or it might have turned into a ball of fabric.

When it is completely dry you bunch up the fabric, creating cracks in the flour paste. In the book there was a warning not to overdo the cracking and in the small pieces I did overdo it, probably because a 6" piece of fabric was easy to scrunch.

After you scrunch it and form the cracks, you paint over it. Many people use dye in this step and then you need to use soda ash to fix it and then when it's dry you have to do all that rinsing to remove the excess dye. I didn't want to do that.

I used Sun Dye paint which is an Australian runny acrylic paint, sort of like Dye na Flow paint. It's heat set so you don't need to rinse it out.

I painted with black mostly and some magenta on a couple of fabrics.

The Sun Dye paint likes the sun especially and we only have a really weak sun at the moment so I left it to dry for 24 hours.

The next day I put the fabrics in a bucket of cold water and rubbed the fabrics together to loosen the flour. That bucket of water ends up very gunky. Apparently, you do not want to pour the gunky fabric down the sink, so I poured it onto the garden.
Then I put the fabrics in another bucket of clean, cold water and they rinsed out very quickly.
To completely clean them, I washed them in the washing machine. You always use cold water with this technique so you don't end up with glue!

I was happy with my results. I think I cracked too much though because when I see what the professionals do, their cracks are very fine and spindlier. The magenta ones were a fail, I must have cracked the flour paste too much because they came out solid magenta, as if the paint had run underneath the flour.

The top photo was only a 6" piece of fabric and I decided to see what happened if I added some green paint over the top.

That worked, so I was very happy with my experiment and think it is something I could use in the future, especially as flour is so safe and user friendly without having to use any chemicals.

Blogger has changed a bit and the settings are different to use, hopefully there won't be any issues.

Bye for now,


Magpie's Mumblings said...

This is a technique I've often wanted to try so it was fun to see the results of your experiments. Might have to give it a whirl just for the fun of it. I expect likely my usual paint 'recipe' would work (cheap folk art paint from the dollar store mixed with fabric medium).
Don't be put off by the new blogger platform - I've been using it for several weeks and it's okay. A few slight changes but nothing I couldn't handle.

Linda Steele said...

I was happy with my flour paste resist, Magpie Mumblings. I will definitely try it again when I need some texture for a background.