Making indigo fabric resist paste

This is a blog post on making indigo fabric resist paste. It is another type of pattern-making technique on fabric. Over the recent, these years I have found a fascination with fabric dyeing with indigo. In fact with all sorts of indigo. Now I want to push the boundaries and experiment even more. I am sure if an eager or professional fabric printer you will hear of rice print paste by now. It is something I found in my learning journey of making fabric printing paste. Here is a blog post I wrote about 2 years ago something at the start of natural dyeing and fabric printing.

It is called Katazome in Japanese it is quite an old-fashioned resist. There are a few who have written about it. The main issue trying to get hold of the right ingredients to make it work properly. So here’s what am I trying to try with the paste. I am no expert as I am not Japanese and don’t have any connections in Japan. I wanted to learn this skill as it would give me a range of experience in the world from fabric design.

Making indigo fabric resist paste

I obtain the ingredients online on Amazon and in Asian grocers. The ingredients are defatted rice bran, glutinous rice powder, glycerine, and calcium hydroxide (calyx). It can take a while to make Katzaome right the first time. I didn’t use any special equipment but I followed the instructions as closely as possible. One of the useful websites I found is from a fabric printer named John Marshall. Most of his students also will describe the same technique perhaps some in a more descriptive way.

Technique/ recipe

1 part of glutinous rice powder

1 part defatted rice bran

water enough to make a dough

a bit of calyx powder

a small amount of pure glycerine

a bit of salt

First, measure out what you need for the powder and mix it till it forms a dough. Then steam it till the glutinous rice is cooked or turns shiny. Then, in a container or pestle and mortar pound on the cooked dough while adding some water till it becomes a paste then add a bit of calyx. Once it becomes a paste that holds the right consistency you want it to be. Add pure glycerine. The right consistency and the final consistency in my opinion depends on the ingredients and techniques used. All I say is do lots of experiments. Then finally paint or print onto fabric samples.

As in my experiments, it was the indigo dyeing that was the issue. I was using linen fabric as well. Here is more on how to dye fabric with indigo. There are many types of indigo to dye from homegrown Japanese indigo, pre-reduced, and shop-bought indigo powder. They all yield slightly different results.

The result was much better than I hoped as I really didn’t have much hope in the homemade paste but it works. Just maybe some tweaking is needed to achieve fine printing. But the paintbrush technique works quite well. There are other ways to achieve this like using batik wax and mud resist which I hope to try out in the future.

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