Thursday, October 13, 2011

The next chapter in the honey bear tale

I began with this rag I used to clean up the remains of the flour/water mix last week. The honey bear has served his purpose and is now safely tucked away in his hiding place in the basement. In case you missed the technique and tutorial of how I made this mess resist dyeing technique, you can go here to catch up on where I left off.

A bit of explanation about resist dyeing. Using flour is basically the same as using wax, only less difficult to remove afterward because it doesn't require an iron or steaming process. You can also use oatmeal, mashed potatoes, or malt-o-meal. Ideally, you should add a bit of liquid fabric softener (the brand I use is Sta Flo) when you mix the flour with the water, but I forgot mine and was too lazy to get it.

As you saw last week, the flour resist dries hard and sticks to the fabric, even when exposed to gale force Kansas winds. It doesn't come off easily by itself, but can be removed with water. One way to add a batik look to the dried flour is to scrunch the fabric, then straighten it out. In order to put a few breaks in the flour resist, I had to peel it away. The fabric is still attached to the plastic bag via the low tack tape at one end, because I have enough spilled color on my worktable as it is.

I began by adding a bit of Golden fluid acrylic to the fabric. Remember, anywhere there is flour, there will be NO paint. That's why it is known as a resist technique.

Also be aware that you cannot use color mists and dyes using this technique. The mists and dyes will wash away when you remove the flour. I suspect you could use Staz-on reinkers, since they are waterproof, but I prefer to simply use acrylic paint.

The fabric has now been painted. I could have kept it off the flour, but it was easier to paint the entire cloth. I broke down and thinned the fluid acrylics with a bit of water because I wasn't getting the coverage I expected. The flour began to smell like . . . WET FLOUR.

This is a lousy photo, but I took it late, late at night and the lighting in the living room is ambient, rather than illuminating. Another good reason for keeping the plastic backing, was evident as I left the various fabrics to dry on my area rug. I used red acrylic only for these three fabrics.

The next day it rained. And rained, and rained, and rained. In fact, it rained for two solid days. When I was finally able to make it outside, I set these pieces on my garden fence because it was close to my outdoor faucet and hose. Then I turned the sprayer to the "fiercest" setting and proceeded to blast my fabric until the flour was loosened.

When all the flour had been removed, I washed the fabric and hung it on the line.

Under no circumstances can you remove this flour in your house. You must use a bucket of water, allow the fabric to soak, then use a scrub brush to remove the dried on flour. Alternately, you can use the power position on your hose sprayer like I did. I was afraid to use my power washer because I feared it would damage the fabric.

The above design turned out to be one of my favorite pieces. I used lavender and pale green acrylic paints on this piece. Somehow, I allowed the watered down acrylic to bleed under some of the flour, but I felt that added to the charm of this piece. Be aware this piece will dry lighter than it is at the moment.

You can see the "love" was nearly lost in this fabric on the right made using the squeegee and a chop stick. The only place it took color was where I watered down the red acrylic paint. The one on the left was a better example of painted fabric using my beloved honey bear. The white is where the honey bear left his mark.

The piece on the left is the one I showed in the beginning of this post. It held the leftover paste that I cracked. I really like those random cracks. The marks on the fabric on the right were made using the metal cup. It turned out rather bland, I thought once all the flour was washed away.

A small portion of the piece I really liked is shown above. I used my scanner to show the subtle marks that didn't show when the fabric was still wet on the clothesline.

This is a portion of the rag. The cracks are really evident and beautiful now. This piece can now be over dyed, or I can use color mists if I decide to enhance or change the color.

This piece looks like some of the flour paste is still on it, but I assure you, there is no flour left in this fabric.

This piece is a hoot! I laid a magazine on the back of the fabric and it showed through the scan. That shows how thin this sheet was.

The same thing happened to the "love" fabric. That sheet was quite thin, too. I could have rescanned, but I had already put the fabric away before I checked the scans. Sometimes it doesn't pay to be organized.


I now believe there is a fine line between the amount of flour and water I used in the first installation of this tale. I do not believe equal parts of flour and water are the way to go. I will need to experiment with the quantities of each, but I think I started with too much water and didn't add enough flour to the mix. I hope to experiment some more before the weather turns too chilly to work outside.

The final chapter in this saga will occur when I actually make something out of these various fabrics. I truly hope this second part of the tutorial has been helpful and addressed any questions you might have had about this technique.

12 thoughtful remarks:

Dosfishes at Sparkle Days Studios said...

Thanks for the experimentation and insights. I like the serendipity of it all. xox Corrine

Dianne said...

I need to get up my courage to try these techniques! Im not nearly as brave as you... Thanks for inspiring me! Love the green and lavendar!

see you there! said...

Those pieces of fabric are bigger than I imagined. I suppose if you are going to go to all that work it pays to make a lot. I like them all, would be hard to choose just one.


Terri Kahrs said...

Elizabeth, you always document your processes and techniques so well! What a lovely assortment of fabrics you have -- and all from a lowly "honey bear" filled with flour and water!!! I'm loving the purple/green fabric too. Can't wait to see how you'll use these in your art! Hugs, Terri xoxo

~*~Patty S said...

It is ALWAYS SO much fun to see you play E!
Your must have THE cheeriest clothesline in town!
It will be extra fun to see what comes next!

Lynn said...

Now that looked like fun. What next?

voodoo vixen said...

I can see why you love the purple/green combo but have to admit that my favourite is the red one, it turned out brilliant!! Such prettiness and all from some flour and paint... you clever wotsit you!!

sandra de said...

You look like you have been having so much fun with your flour, water and paint. The whole process looks so organic and makes you want to touch it. Lovely to see how many goodies arrived by post. well deserved.

Anonymous said...

I really like these pieces Elizabeth! I can't wait to see what you do with them!

Halle said...

That was a serious amount of work! I agree the purple and green one is very pretty. I also really like the blue's that a word? Well it is now. :)

Dianne said...

wonderful resists! I like your favorite too. wondering what you'll created from know I will stay tuned.

Craftymoose Crafts said...

I think the purple/green is my favorite also. I truly like the unpredictable nature of this. Probably missed my chance to try it until next summer!