Friday, March 11, 2016

Painting Fabric over Gutta Resist

Today, as I was looking through my studio drawers for tea lights, I ran across water soluble gutta resist, small, squeeze bottle applicators and needle pointed plastic syringes.  Instead of starting the laundry as I had planned, I whipped out a 14”x14” piece of white cotton fabric, laid it atop a plastic bag to protect the work surface and tried to draw gutta up into the syringe so that I might be able to make fine resist lines.  

 Unfortunately, the gutta was too thick to draw up into the syringe so I set about making markings onto the fabric with the squeeze bottle applicator.  What started out as fairly thin lines became fat lines as the gutta resist “bled” into the fabric.  Any plans I had for creating a design that made sense flew out the window and then came the scribbling.  I figured that I might as well fill the space with markings.  What could hurt?

I then hung the fabric to dry.  After about an hour the gutta was completely dry. I lightly spritzed the entire square with plain water.  Next I applied a 1:1 ratio of Setacolor fabric paints and water with a 2” brush.  The first color I used was yellow and then applied Oriental blue in diagonal stripes that ultimately bled into the yellow, as I had anticipated it would do.
Painted Fabric Over Gutta Resist Hanging to Dry

I was initially disappointed with the image, probably because it did not turn out as I had hoped it would.  However, as the piece dried, I began to increasingly appreciate the randomness of the image.  Now I wish that I could be able to replicate this, although I know that will be impossible.
Here is a picture of the fabric after the gutta resist was washed out, dried again and then ironed.
Final Fabric from Gutta Resist, with Yellow and Oriental Blue Wash of Setacolor Fabric Paints

Revisiting the use of gutta as a resist has spawned new questions.  I am now wondering if the gutta could be applied over a stencil with a wedged make-up sponge.  Unlike the lack of flow control when using a squeeze bottle applicator, I pondering that the amount of gutta applied might be better controlled by using a small, dense sponge.  I have a few more 14” x 14” squares of cotton fabric just waiting for further experimentation.  Hmmmm.  Possibilities! Gotta love ‘em.
Always remember, never fear to experiment.  
Sometimes wonderful things happen.
© Linda Friedman 2016.  All rights reserved


  1. I love this piece of art! It looks like batik.

  2. Very interesting. Fun way to control patterns and color if you were of a mind to cut it up and do pieces that were similar in a quilt design.

  3. Very interesting. Fun way to control patterns and color if you were of a mind to cut it up and do pieces that were similar in a quilt design.

    1. I like your idea, Stacy. Thanks for suggesting this.

  4. Thanks for dropping in to visit the post. Thanks, too, for leaving a comment. :-)

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