This is a weird and wonderful technique for painting on t-shirts as a sort of ‘contained’ version of tie dye. This will get kids thinking about negative and positive space—as well as design—in one project. Then, BONUS, they can wear their project.
How to Make a Flour Paste Resist T-Shirt
Anyway. Here’s what you need ::
- T-shirt (wash it first)
- Fabric paint (or really watered down acrylic paint) in whatever colors you want, plus black or a dark grey
- Paint brushes
- Flour (all purpose flour)
Insert the cardboard inside the shirt so the paint doesn’t bleed through.
Paint your initial background colors onto your shirt. You can free-hand brush some colors on, or paint them into a shape. We free-hand painted a loose dot, using a blue, a turquoise, and some white fabric paint.
Let this dry completely.
I like to eat chocolate while I’m waiting, as a way to compensate for having to be patient. My fabric paint was heat set, so after it dried, I ironed it on the reverse side of the shirt.
Next, mix your flour with water until it is thick but still brushable.
Paint the flour mixture over the background colors in any design you want. Remember, where you paint the flour on is where the color will show up later; the rest will be black.
Design ideas :: random swirls, dots, stripes, stars, initials, cube drawing, cute puppy, robot, self portrait. You can use a stencil with this part if you so desire.
The flour mixture is a little awkward to paint with, but not as hard as I had anticipated.
Let it dry.
Paint black paint over the entire design. We ended up using watered down Payne’s Gray acrylic paint. If you use acrylic paint too thickly on fabric, it will stiffen up a lot when it dries.
Let it dry. (Sing “Let it dry” to the tune of “Let it Go”.)
Heat fix the paint again if you used this type of fabric paint.
This is the fun part! Soak the shirt in cold water for a few minutes, then gently work off the paste with your fingers. Cool, huh? It will crackle and rub off, and it’s fun to pick at.
You can always go back in with more paint later to fix any details you’d like to.
About the Author
Jeanette Nyberg writes about art projects, cool finds, and tales of her life on her blog Tiny Rotten Peanuts. She graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, after which she dove into the roles of professional artist and photo stylist. She’s always been fascinated by kids’ natural creativity and thinks adults should strive to be much more like kids.