The dye bled right through the resist lines. Is there any way I can work with the 30mm weight and be more sure about my end product?

Name: Heather


Jacquard gutta resist, gold, 4 oz

Jacquard Gutta Resist, Gold

Resist is used to draw the edge of an image on silk, stopping the flow of dye at the resist lines. Gutta Resist is made from natural gutta percha to produce the finest resist available. Can be thinned with Gutta Solvent for use on heavier silks.


Jacquard gutta resist solvent

Jacquard Gutta Resist Solvent

Gutta Solvent for thinning natural rubber gutta for use on heavier silks.


Wooden embroidery hoop

Wooden Embroidery Hoop

These are very economic wood hoops. Absolutely perfect for the classroom!


Silk stretcher frame, null, 24

Silk Stretcher Frame

This wood frame is perfect for stretching silk and other lightweight fabrics in preparation for painting or batik wax. Four 24" (61 cm) wood pieces are notched for easy adjustment up to 17 1/4" (44 cm) square.


Masterpiece b2 stretcher kit, null, 36

Stretcher Kit
36" x 96"

The bars used for stretching canvas for painting on can also be used in a different way to stretch silk for paint, suspending the edges of the silk from inside the frame.

Country or region: North Carolina, US

Message: Please help! I started a silk painting project on 30mm crepe de chine silk and put in a lot of hours with all the resist lines (I applied the resist to both sides of the fabric). I am using the Pebeo Water-based Metallic Gutta from the tube. (I want to have the metallic lines on the fabric permanently.) I pushed the tip of the resist tube into the fabric. I know I could have had the fabric pulled tighter – as a beginner I didn’t know how important the stretching was and did not want to damage the fabric.

I waited a few days, ironed the fabric to set the gutta. Then, when I painted (using Dupont dyes), there were large areas where the dye bled right through the resist lines, into the other colors on the other side. I felt so helpless and frustrated!

I need to start over, I am pretty sure. This project means a lot to me and has been years in the making, and I want it to be right. Also, it is a big project – two panels that are 22”x72” each. I *love* the weight and feel of the 30mm crepe de chine. I do NOT like the transparency of the lighter weight silks (especially 12mm crepe de chine). Is there any way I can work with the 30mm weight and be more sure about my end product? Would wax be what I need?

If waxing is the way to go - should I choose emulsified wax, resistad, hot wax (electric tjanting necessary?), or cold wax? Not entirely sure what the differences are in these methods. I want something that is relatively easy to use, with little risk and great results. Should not cost a fortune or be too toxic.

Also, using the Dupont dyes, if I use wax, would I just steam the pieces to remove the wax, or would I need to iron between newsprint before steaming?

I know this is a long message - I appreciate your time and help very much.

Hi Heather,

First what you need to do is get a number of scrap pieces of the 30 momme weight crepe de chine you like; perhaps you have some large scraps left from your first try, but if not, you should buy some fabric just for testing purposes. It is expensive, but there is no alternative. You will need to do a number of small-scale tests before you begin again on your large project. 30mm is an extraordinarily heavy weight for crepe de chine, at five and a half ounces per square yard; I don't know of any pre-made scarves of this weight.

How do you plan to stretch the large panels when you begin work on them again? I've used the wooden bars painters buy to stretch canvases on, selected to be considerably larger than the piece; I used rubber bands attached to plastic-coated clips to stretch the silk within the frame. I've also used a plastic stretcher bar system, Arty's Easy Fix, along with an extension for larger sizes, which is sold by silk painting suppliers including PRO Chemical & Dye and Dharma Trading Company, and find it to be a wonderful convenience. For quickly stretching very small pieces, you can use an embroiderer's hoop, which might be a handy way for you to stretch your test pieces. Blick Art Materials sells an inexpensive wooden stretcher frame for silk painting, but it is too small for your project.

With experimentation you may very well find that same brand of water-based gutta to work better for you, once you have the fabric stretched more tightly than before, but I would want to experiment with only the simplest of loop designs in order to very quickly see whether or not it is working. Many people do find that type of gutta substitute to work, but generally on much thinner silk. Perhaps it is not as suitable for a 30 momme weight silk.

By the way, I call that water-based gutta a "gutta substitute" because it is actually not gutta, but rather a type of fabric paint; real gutta is a sort of rubber that is dissolved in organic solvents, which are hazardous to breathe. Real gutta will work better as a dam than water-based gutta to prevent dyes from running, and may be the best choice, if its properties agree with what you want (and if you can arrange for excellent cross-ventilation and/or a proper respirator for organic solvents). If you buy real gutta with metallic dust added to it it, you will have to avoid ever dry-cleaning the piece, because the metallic rubber would be removed by the dry cleaning solvents, leaving you with white lines instead of the metallic effect.

There are many different water-based gutta substitutes. Dharma alone sells Pebeo, Sennelier, Silkpaint!, Jacquard, and Dupont water-based guttas. There are so many because they vary in how well they work for different artists and different projects. Ideally, you should buy one small container of each of several water-based guttas, as well as one of real gutta, and test them to see which you like the best. By holding your test piece up to the light, look carefully to see that there is not the slightest break in any of your lines, heat-set if required, and test with dyes, just as you used them before. Be careful not to apply too much of the liquid dye at one time, because too large a quantity of liquid may overwhelm lines that would do fine at resisting a slower flow of dye.

Dharma Trading Company has a page detailing many of the problems that can occur with various resists: see their Gutta/Resist Alert page. As they point out, applying resists is more difficult to do successfully than any other aspect of dyeing, and it requires quite a bit of practice to get it right. You can never expect your first attempts to be successful, which is why it is so important to do small-scale tests with every material and every method of applying it, before starting on a large or important project.

I love using real wax as a resist, but I have to admit it can be quite a bit of a pain. The wax has to be hot enough to really penetrate the fabric, which for me means using an electric frying pan to heat the wax, since a double boiler set-up with water in the bottom never gets hot enough, and heating wax directly on a gas stove is too hazardous. Drawing with a tjanting takes some time to get the hang of, and you have to always hold a rag in your other hand to catch drips that will otherwise spoil your design. Precision work with a tjanting is difficult. An electric tjanting can be helpful but will not make it easy. Of course wax can't give you the metallic effect, so you would have to go back over the white lines later with a good metallic fabric paint, after you have removed the wax, if the metallic effect is important for the outlines in your design. The wax will melt and come out onto the absorbent paper (use plenty!) when you steam the dyes.

Emulsified wax or cold wax is less likely to be satisfactory at containing dye within the lines than is hot wax or real gutta, and like real wax it is not available in metallics. It might be worth experimenting if you have the time for it. Please do let me know, if you try either, how well they work out for you.

I'm sorry that you had such a disappointment in your first attempt at this project. I am sure that you will find a way to get the results you want, after spending time on testing different products and thicknesses of application.

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Posted: Saturday - January 18, 2014 at 10:56 AM          

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