Here is is a blog post on how to make fabric printing paste. I have recently decided to make progress on my fabric printing skills this time doing more printing on fabric. My previous attempts were on printing using screen. in which also employs thickening up a fabric dye into a paste so that it is thick enough to print thru the screen,
Any type of dye can be made into a paste. Whether it’s natural or synthetic dyes. As I said before in order to print the dye employ or use needs to be thickened so that the pattern will register on the fabric once it’s printed.
There are a few types of thickeners that one can use from synthetic to natural thickeners. As I more of a home craft and do it yourself at home person, therefore, I tend to use the ones that available to buy online or art and craft shops.
Using acrylic paints and textile printing medium
The synthetic one is made by art or craft manufactures I have used Daler Rowney textile medium that is added onto their system 3 acrylic paints. Once the screen printing is done once it’s dry all you need to do is to set it with an iron and you are done. However the downside of using this is that the paste don’t come cheap about £9.95/ pot for 8 oz. (about 250 mls) You have mix equal 1:1 amounts of ratio.
Also it’s a printed paste not dye which means that rather the colour sitting in the whole fibres of the fabric it only sits on top. In the long run, if it’s not set properly it can come off. Many craft books recommend using this type of paste. The good news is that it’s incredibly safe to use, unlike fabric dyes. There are other manufacturers like Speedball that has got a similar system like daler and rowney so have a look around. Some come with ready made screen printing ink.
How to make fabric printing paste
Another methods of making a longer lasting fabric priting paste is using thickener like Manutex F which can be bought online from good fabric craft suppliers. There is also Manutex RS which for less define option. This paste can be mix onto natural dyes or synthetic dyes like procion mx. The strength of the colour varies from the type of fibre (material) that is use to print (cotton or silk). I find that strong colours are much easier to achieve with silk fabric. Manutex doesn’t come cheap but a little goes a long way. It is very safe as it is used in food as well. It sodium alginate made from kelp seaweed. There is also guar gum powder which one can buy on ebay.
Indalca PA3R is another thickener to use as thickener for disperse dyes. There is a few safety measures when it comes to using indalca so not that safe when you have children and pets around.
There is also other options like Selectasine which opens up a new world of options of making your own puff printing paste and so on. I have not use them before so I can’t much about them.
I buy my most of fabric printing supply from George weil. Their service is excellent although their products can be pricey compared to elsewhere.