30 April 2012

Irresistible Flour Paste

I've dropped hints about flour paste resist experiments a couple of times, and now it's time to deliver. I really liked this technique. There was something deeply satisfying about messing about with the gooey flour paste. It brought out the inner kindergartener in me. It's also totally non-toxic, and it was quite a relief not to have to worry about gloves, face masks and safety goggles for a change.

The technique is quite simple: you make a mixture of approximately equal parts of plain white flour and water, spread it over the cloth, make marks in the wet paste, let it all dry and then apply thin paint over the dry paste. The paint will enter into the marks, as well as cracks that form when the paste dries, and create patterns on the fabric. The patterns are revealed when the flour paste is washed away.

Wet flour paste on fabric, and marks made with a wooden kebab stick

Dry flour paste. I let it dry for 48 hours: when the paste feels warm to the touch it's dry.

Paint applied over the dry paste. I used thinned fabric paint and let the paint cure for 48 hours before rinsing off the flour paste resist. I didn't heat fix the paint with an iron, but might try ironing carefully from the back next time, just to see what happens.

I used thinned fabric paint. First the paint was quite runny, which created this kind of effekt:

I thickened the paint a bit and the lines became sharper:

With thicker paint it was more difficult to get the paint into the cracks in the resist. However, when the paint was drying, the cracks widened and I could go in with a second layer of paint in certain areas:

Pretty cool effects, right?

I also tried bleach:

Notice the colour of the discharged areas: peach. This is the same dark blue fabric that I earlier used with Jacquard discharge paste. That gave a totally different colour:

Try this technique! It's not for those who demand instant gratification, as there is a certain amount of waiting time, but it's loads of fun! Just remember to flush the rinse water with flour paste down the toilet to avoid any problems with your plumbing.

Happy May Day and see you again soon! - Annika


  1. I love the results!!! Your rose is beautiful and the discharge pieces are fabulous. You might want to read Terry Grant's experiments here - http://andsewitgoes.blogspot.com/2012/04/cracked-secret-sauce.html
    Terry experimented with wheat and rice flours. Happy May Day to you! I just delivered my "baskets" to my neighbors. I don't knock and run anymore. LOL!

    1. Thanks Jeannie! This is a really fun technique that I want to return to soon, so thank you for the link to Terry's blog! I like the idea of being able to scrape away the flour resist before dunking the fabric into water, as it was quite hard work to get the flour paste off the fabric.

  2. Wow, you make this technique look like so much fun! I love the idea of it making you feel like a kid again - totally makes me want to jump right in and try it out! Also, thanks for the tip about disposing of the leftover flour gunk - I had been wondering about that.

    1. Thanks Stella! Yup, it's fun to play with your food. ;-)