Flour Paste Resist

I started a flour paste resist experiment this morning.  As per Jane Dunnewold’s new book Art Cloth, I mixed 1 cup flour with 1 cup water.  I added a little more flour after the initial mixing because it seemed a bit too runny.

Purchase here.

I laid out two pieces of cloth: a small piece of hand dyed gold/yellow, and a piece that had a little bit of gray on it.  After pinning one side down and using a Bondo scraper I spread the paste over the cloth. Then I wrote and doodled in it with a bamboo skewer.

After applying the paste, finish pinning the cloth down because it will curl and pull up as it dries…like this….

After that you crinkle the fabric so that  little cracks form for the ink or paint or dye to get into.

For this experiment I decided to use black India ink.  It is permanent and fast drying.  Somewhere I was reading someone suggested using it, so I thought I would give it a go.

I brushed it on liberally with a brush, then set it in the sun to dry.

Results after soaking and washing:

Front of the gold piece…

Back is nice too.

Gray/white cloth:




I may have cracked it too much…I suppose it depends on what look you want.  If you want fewer crackly lines, scrunch it less. I also notice my writing didn’t show up that well…probably due to too much scrunching.

Next time I will use black dye paint which means I will have to use soda soaked fabric. The India ink doesn’t come out as a really deep black.  I thought it would, but it did not.  I suppose it’s more of a charcoal color.

More later as I get around to working on this experiment again.

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10 thoughts on “Flour Paste Resist”

  1. Katherine,
    THANKS for doing this experiment as I had heard of using india ink also, so its good to know that it fades to grey…..OK if that’s what you want, but not if you want black!

  2. I love the second piece but both of them have good potential, now… You’ve created some excellent neutral grounds for whatever layer comes next!

  3. Thanks everyone for coming by and leaving a comment. Gerrie, next time I will do the big comb thing…I also have some interesting trowels with different kinds of teeth. And Jaime, yes you can use these photos. Judi, I’m not sure what does come next with these…at this point I am just experimenting and making cloth!

  4. Yeah, I’ve tried that ink before and it is none too dark. I’m not even sure it can be called a real India Ink. I’ve always thought they were supposed to be much darker! I’m almost tempted to throw it out until I think, ‘But, but, maybe I can DO something with this.’

    I have had very good dark ink from Speedball ink and also Dr. Martin’s black ink, however, so you might try those instead. Not sure how they’d work on fabric, though. 🙂

  5. Hi Jill, thanks for the tips…this India ink is VERY dark on watercolor paper…just not so much on cloth…perhaps that is the difference. Thanks for commenting.
    And btw, your artwork and doodles are very interesting and fun! Love the colors.

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