Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Last week I proposed to the STASH group that when we go on our annual retreat next month that we do a surface design project. I suggested flour paste resist on fabrics, which we have discussed before as something we wanted to try. Our retreat will give us the time to work through the process with plenty of drying time between steps. I volunteered to coordinate the project so I have been doing some experimenting to narrow down our options.

Here is my first experiment:

I have done resist dyeing using wheat flour and wondered if rice flour might yield different and interesting results. I found several recipes online. The first one I tried involved cooking the rice flour with water until it boiled and thickened. I spread it on a couple of pieces of white fabric. The first, above, I did nothing to. The second, below, I used a bamboo skewer to draw in the wet paste. Then I let both pieces dry thoroughly.

When they were dry I scrunched each one up to crack the paste, then I painted a layer of acrylic paint over one side and let it dry. When the paint was dry I washed out the rice paste. The results were pretty disappointing. Neither developed an interesting crack pattern, though the one with the scratched away pattern did show the pattern. My assessment was that the cooked rice paste spread too thin and penetrated the fabric too much to allow for good cracks.

Next I mixed the rice flour with water to form a paste and did not cook it. The paste went on thicker and began to crack as it dried. Here's a closeup of one little section of the fabric with the dried rice paste.

Once it was really dry I painted this piece with acrylic paint and let it dry.

When the paint was very dry I washed the rice paste out of the fabric. The paint that was sitting on top of the rice paste also washed away. The paint that seeped into the cracks left a wonderful pattern on the fabric.

This is what I was hoping for! Love those crackles.

Closeup view.


  1. It is quite wonderful. It looks something like the potato dextrin dyeing done by Debra Lunn & Michael Mrowka.

  2. Absolutely marvellous result!

  3. Anonymous5:57 AM

    Looks to me like you are on to something that will work great!

  4. The crackle effect looks great and easier to do since you don't have to cook it.

    But I also think the piece you used the bamboo skewer on is great and has possibilities.

    Have you tried drawing into the uncooked paste?

  5. Anonymous8:08 AM

    I can't wait! It looks like fun.

  6. I love those cracks too!

  7. Yes! That crackly pattern is exactly the sort of thing I got with potato dextrin. What fun!

  8. This looks like a simple technique which yields a wonderful result. Very interesting, thanks for sharing.

  9. The effects you achieved were stunning to say the least. Congratulations on some very good work. I've been hearing bout this technique and now i will certainly have to try it out myself.

  10. This looks fantastic! how did you wash out the paste? can you machine wash this? I can't wait to try it out!

  11. This is fantastic! can you tell me how you washed out the paste please? is it machine washable?