Updated recipes (June, '09) for Corn & Potato Dextrin, see Chapter 7

Color by Design: Paint and Print with Dye by Ann Johnston

 
Cotton dyed gold-orange. Narrow line is corn dextrin applied with a fine tip bottle and wide lines with crackle are made with hot potato dextrin applied with a  Yorker pointed bottle. Black was applied over the dry dextrin. Cured and washed.

Corn and potato dextrin have various uses in the food industry, such as thickening sweetening. They are powders that when prepared as described, dissolve in boiling water and after being applied to fabric and dried, they both resist the penetration of dyes thickened with sodium alginate and wash out in water. Corn Dextrin can create a complete block-out of later applications of thickened dye. In a thin layer, it blocks out less of the dye. Potato Dextrin, spread thickly on the fabric, cracks as it dries and makes interesting patterns through which thickened dye can be applied. While damp, it can be scraped away to open up areas that the dye will penetrate.

There are many recipes for preparing  corn and potato dextrin resists. The properties of the dextrin, particularly the potato change depending on what product is available to studio artists. I have printed here the recipes I am using in 2008. There are many grades and types of corn and potato dextrin, which are designed for food manufacturing, so we need to adjust to the products as they change, and adapt them to the particular uses each of us wants. We can also keep looking at other starches that may have properties that we can use to our advantage as resists in surface designing.

Many things influence how the resist works, including the humidity of the work area, the temperature of the room, temperature of the liquid-paste, the thickness of application, the speed of drying and also the type and weave of the fabric. These recipes should be used as guides to experiment and adjust as needed.

START BY MIXING A SMALL AMOUNT AND MAKE SURE YOUR RECIPE IS CURRENT WITH THE PRODUCT YOU BOUGHT AND THAT YOU LIKE THE RESULTS. Try variations like adding more or less powdered dextrin or even cooking.

• Recipe For Corn Dextrin

1/2 cup (120 ml) boiling water

10 Tablespoons (150 ml) powdered corn dextrin

Mix with fork or shake to dissolve. Use warm or cool, the latter being slightly thicker. Apply with pointed bottle, paint brush, sponge, or foam blocks. May be best if used the same day. Add 1 or more teaspoons for a thicker version. Apply to fabric and allow to dry completely. Paint on thickened dye, cure the dye, and wash off with the dye.


Recipe for Potato Dextrin

1/2 cup (120 ml) boiling water

1 1/2 teaspoon (7.5 ml) dry sodium carbonate

10 Tablespoons (150 ml) powdered potato dextrin

Mix with a fork. Allow to cool and thicken—over-stirring will not allow it to thicken as much. Pin or tape the fabric down firmly so it won’t curl too much as it dries if you wish. While warm, apply with brush or pointed bottle; when thick like paste, at room temperature, spread with a stiff tool. Test it at various temperatures for different effects. Thicker applications result in a larger crackle pattern. After it is cracked and completely dry, paint thickened dye carefully into the cracks without lifting off too much of the resist with a bristle brush or foam roller. After the dye has fixed, spray off large pieces, discard away from the sink drain, then wash in warm water.



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