I was looking through some old sketch books looking for a couple of old drawings for a reference for a new project, a painted quilted wall hanging. I came across an article I had tucked into one of the books about a Japanese man who makes beautiful silk kimonos and uses a rice paste as a resist. I need a washable resist, so this sounded like something worth exploring. After looking at a few articles, I decided, this seems to be more work than I really want to do for a resist that will only last a few days once made. More exploring and I found mention of pastes made with cassava roots, yams, and flour. I don’t want to spend a lot of time making a resist, I want to paint! After researching the flour paste resist I found a couple of blogs that talk about their process, basically I found that most people use equal parts flour and water and mixing it until it’s free of lumps. One person uses a pastry bag with a small tip to pipe on squiggles. After drying overnight, she lightly cracks it so she gets a great batik effect. I don’t want cracks, I want nice smooth lines, so on with the experiment. I mixed the flour and water into a smooth paste and painted it on with an old paint brush. I also tried a medicine syringe which made a nice rounded barrier, and also made the material pucker. Note: do not try to straighten out the puckers, it makes the flour paste crack. Somewhat frustrated by now, I made another search of my supply closet and finally found the commercially made water based resist I bought several years ago.
Then I put the material in a hoop and once again applied the flour paste along with the commercially made resist. I painted the material while it was still in the hoop, with much better results.
Conclusion: the flour paste works quite well as long as it doesn’t get cracked. If you are after a batik affect, it’s a great inexpensive alternative for the resists that need to be dry cleaned or need special processing. If you want nice clean lines and easy removal, I recommend the water based resist by Jacquard.
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