How To: Flour Resist with Dye

While cleaning up the website I ran across an old post on oatmeal resist. I wasn’t real happy with the results, but wanted to try again using flour resist with dye.

For those of you who don’t dye, I’ll be posting later on this week using paint. This post will cover both using liquid dye and thickened dye.

Since I am using fiber reactive dyes for dyeing, the fabric needs to be presoaked in soda ash water and hung to dry, or add soda ash water to the dye water. I decided to cover all bases, and all were soda soaked except for the one in the middle. For this liquid dye technique, I added a little soda ash water just in case. Let’s get started.

Start by laying out your fabric on top of newspaper. I have covered the table in plastic. I found that using newspaper really helped the fabric dry faster. One piece I let dry on the plastic and it took much longer.

Mix up flour and water – half and half. You want it to be like pancake batter.

Now take a brush and spread this flour paste all over the fabric. I must tell you, on the next two sessions I ended up spreading the paste with my hands. It felt so good and much more fun!!


Then the fabric needs to dry. Depending on the temperature, it may take two days to dry. Once it’s dry it will curl up.

Now it’s time to mix up the dyes. I added a tablespoon of dye to a 1/2 cup of water and stirred to dissolve. I then added some soda ash water (I added a tablespoon of soda ash to a cup of water.).

Take you hands and crunch up the fabric.

When you’re happy with the crunching, it’s time to paint. Be sure and pounce the brush in the crack areas.

Then let them dry. This will take a day or so, again depending on your weather.

These are washed just like other dyed fabric. However, it takes a while to get all of the flour off the fabric. I rinse the fabric in cold water to start (as I do all dyeing) until most of the dye is out. It’s best not to pour this water down the drain. Working in a bucket outside is a better alternative to clogged drains! Once most of the flour paste is off, I rinse the fabric in hot water and then soak in a hot soapy bath for about 30 minutes. Then the fabric goes into the washer with hot water and two rinses, the dryer, and then to the ironing board.

Here are the results of this session with liquid dye. The two on the left were not soaked in soda ash. The colors were much deeper on the ones that were. I’d recommend presoaking.

Now to try the same technique but with thickened dye. I presoaked the fabric in the soda ash solution for 15 minutes, hung it to dry, and then placed it on newspaper as I did before.

Instead of using liquid dye, I thickened the dye. Check out this post on how to make thickened dye. I follow all the same directions and this is what I got.

And here is a comparison of the red dyed fabric. The liquid dye is on the left. What a difference!

Before I used the thickened dyes, I thought the other pieces were beautiful. Now I don’t think they can even compare to the thickened dyed ones.

If you look at the picture of the liquid dyed ones, you will see a blue one. I wasn’t happy with it at all, and ended up using it in the next post where instead of dye I used paint.

That was so much fun and I absolutely love my fabric. There are lots of different resists you can use, but this is a great one to start with.

Check out these other inspiring blogs at Off The Wall Fridays.