How to Dye Fabric with Chickpea Flour

Looking to stir up a little fun in the kitchen? Try dyeing with resists from the kitchen! You can create many of the same effects as wax batik techniques using resists off your pantry shelf.

Flour paste resist is one of the most popular of these dyeing techniques. Just mix plain flour with cold water in a 1-1 ratio, spread it on fabric, and let dry. Gently scrunch the fabric and then paint dye over it. Let dry completely, rinse out the paste, and machine wash.

You can create similar fabric resist dyeing effects with baby rice cereal, potato flakes, or oatmeal.

chickpea flour resist dyeing technique sandra spagnuolo
Chickpea flour resist dyeing technique by Sandra Spagnuolo.
The right side of the fabric still has the dried, crackled flour on it;
the left side shows the resist rinsed out.

Another, lesser known resist dyeing substance is chickpea flour. Sandra Spagnuolo shows how to dye fabric with chickpea flour in an upcoming issue of our sister publication, Cloth Paper Scissors.

“I developed this gluten-free variation out of necessity. I wanted to share the magic of traditional flour-based resist with my students, but was concerned about removing the paste at the end of the process. Gluten-based flours are very sticky when wet and should not be rinsed down the drain. I wanted to find a way to avoid the mess,” writes Sandra.

hand dyed batik fabric with chickpea flour spagnuolo
Some of Sandra Spagnuola’s hand dyed fabrics.

“I experimented with a number of products to find a paste to use in my classes that would clean up easily and be inexpensive to use in large quantities, but still create the same wonderful effects as traditional flour paste. I decided on chickpea flour, also known as garbanzo bean flour.”

Sandra often uses the finished pieces layered and stitched on a card or to create an interesting batik background on a canvas journal cover.

I can think of a hundred ways I could use faux wax batik fabric in my art. What about you?

I always find mixed-media fabric and stitching projects I love in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. Subscribe and find out all the mixed-media fun you could be having.

P.S. Need more dyeing how-tos and inspiration? Check out our Adventures in Fabric Dyeing Collection and  Vibrant Color: Combining Soy Wax and Dyes for Brilliant Results.

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Fabric Painting & Dyeing, Quilting Daily Blog

5 thoughts on “How to Dye Fabric with Chickpea Flour

  1. A little less messier is to use potato dextrin. not so much to wash have to use dyes that you can batch, grannybsewing, like procion. ask me how I know! I did a lovely dextrin pattern but it all washed out using my regular dyes. I will try again one day and post

  2. I actually attended Sandra’s class and we used acrylic paints – usually without the Fabric Medium, but I have used that, too.
    After the last paint has dried, we rubbed off as much paste as we could – which was the bulk of it, and then dipped it in warm water to get off the rest of the paste. The paste came off very easily.
    Then, later, I dried it and heat set it. Finally, I washed and dried the cloth in the machines and it came out very well. The only things that did not make it were the shiny paints.
    I have also tried heat setting after dry rubbing all the paste off and before washing, which is okay if you don’t mind the “nutty fragrance!”
    Love this technique.

  3. This is a fabulous technique and I have created a couple of pieces using the flour resist. I soaked the fabric in soda ash, and dried it. I then put my flour paste in a bag,
    and cutting off the corner, piped it in shapes all over. It was fun and easy. Then I put dye into bottles and squirted it. Lovely watery looking fabric.
    One hint – don’t leave it on your sewing room floor to dry the flour paste – my wee dog thought it tasted just fine!