Crackle on fabric with flour paste resist

One method to create crackle or marble texture on fabric is by using a resist that crackles when dry. In this project, it will be used the ordinary flour as a resist material. 
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  • Flour
  • Fabric paints (I use Pebeo setacolor)
  • Cotton fabric


1. Prepare the resist: Mix in a bowl, 1 part ordinary white flour and 1 part cold water. Stir well until the lumps are gone.  For a small piece or fabric (11''X 13'' or 28x33cm) they were used 3 soup spoons of flour and 3 soup spoons of water.
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2. Pour the flour paste onto the fabric surface.
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3. Spread the paste evenly over the entire surface by using a flat tool or the back of the spoon. Pour more flour paste as needed.
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4.  Once you have the entire surface covered with the resist let it dry for about 15-24 hours. The drying time varies, depending on the thickness of the paste, the humidity, the air temperature, etc. You can speed up the drying time, if let the fabric dry under the sun or if use a fan to blow across the surface of the cloth. 

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5. While drying, you might notice that in some areas the resist is too thin. In this case you can pour locally more flour paste. 
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6. When the resist dries completely, the piece of fabric will be stiff and the edges curled. 
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7. To achieve the crackle effect, you need to crack the hardened flour paste. So, roll, bend, squeeze, scrunch the fabric with your hands and shake the loose bits of the dry paste.
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8. Prepare the paint. Although, both dyes and paints can be used with the flour paste technique, in this project they will used fabric paints. If paint is too thick, it will not penetrate through the crackles, while if it is too liquid it will run under the resist. So, test in small parts before applying onto the entire surface, to find the ideal proportion between water and paint. I only added with the brush a couple of drops of water in the paint.
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9. Apply color over the crackled resist. Place the fabric on a tray or a cover the table with a plastic membrane to protect it from stains. With a brush or a sponge dab paint onto the resist. 

10. Lift occasionally the fabric to see the cracks from the back. Of course, the portion of paint that penetrates the fabric from the back depends on the type of fabric. You can adjust the liquidity of the paint by mixing it with more or less water and you can add more paint if needed.
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11. Once you have the entire surface covered with paint, let it air-dry.
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12. Although, fabric paints need to be set with heat and iron it is better not to iron the flour paste. So in order to remove the flour paste, you can either peel the small pieces with your hands or wait at least 12 hours before soaking the fabric in cold water. The first option is really time consuming while the second might fade the paint a little but is much easier. 
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13. When flour paste is removed you can iron the fabric to set the paint with heat. The crackled texture is ready. 
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