Fabric Dyeing: Flour Resist Technique – Tips and Tricks

If you haven’t seen the new issue yet, you’re in for a trio of terrific DIY textile techniques, perfect for summer experiments (aka, getting messy in the pursuit of creative happiness). DIY textiles or altered fabrics add an extra handmade layer to your creations, the ultimate in customization, so we’re showcasing a few of our favorite techniques here (and in the August/September issue of Sew News!).

flour resist  Fabric Dyeing: Flour Resist Technique   Tips and TricksBianca Springer’sA Dress Called Harvey” is an inspiration on many fronts. We knew we needed to invite her to create a tutorial on her flour resist for Sew News.

by Bianca Springer


  • Cotton broadcloth or duck canvas & notions (amount according to the pattern envelope)
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour & cold water
  • Putty knife or wide spatula
  • Wire whisk
  • Fabric paint
  • Round stippling sponges
  • Small dish
  • Tarp
  • Apron
  • Painter’s tape (optional)

Combine the flour and water in a 1:1 ratio. Whisk the mixture until there are no lumps and it resembles melted ice cream.

Cover the work surface with a tarp. Position the fabric yardage right side up over the tarp. If desired, apply painter’s tape to the fabric to create stripes.

Smooth the paste over the fabric; allow to air dry.

Once the paste is completely dry, the fabric is extremely stiff and the edges curl.

Bend, fold and twist the fabric to crack the paste on the surface. The more cracks created, the more the paint permeates the fabric.

Position the fabric right side up over the tarp.

Pour the lightest paint color into a small dish. Load one sponge stippler with paint, scraping any excess on the dish edge. Pounce the sponge over the fabric, pushing a minimal amount of paint through the paste cracks.

Check to ensure the paint shows through on the fabric wrong side. Add more paint as desired; air dry.

Once dry, crack the paste again. Apply another paint color using the previous technique. Repeat to apply as many paint colors as desired.

If the fabric paint requires heat setting, place the fabric in a pillowcase and tie closed the open end. Place in the dryer for 20 minutes.

To remove the paste, submerge the fabric in a bucket or sink of water until the paste softens. If used, remove the painter’s tape.

Using a spatula or putty knife, scrape the majority of the paste and paint away; discard in the trash. Wring the excess water from the fabric. Lay it flat over a tarp-covered surface. Remove any remaining paste.

Lightly wash by hand or on the delicate cycle in the washing machine to remove any remaining paste. Air or tumble dry.

Cut the pattern pieces to create a garment, bag, pieced quilt and more. 

Show us your new fabric or pieces that you have made using this process. We’d love to see!


  Fabric Dyeing: Flour Resist Technique   Tips and Tricks
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