How to Wash Out Water-Soluble Gutta

I just wanted to say a quick few words about gutta or resist. It’s a topic which comes up time and again and just needs to be gone over when it does.

The resist technique in silk painting is when you use substances to create a barrier in the fabric which hinders the flow of the dyes. When you apply dye freely to your silk, it flows in an uncontrolled way, giving you a pattern without form, so to speak. In order to give structure to your design, you can use any of the resists available to gain this effect.

Technically speaking, gutta is a rubbery type of resist which has to be removed by dry-cleaning. For those of you who don’t like fumes or paying for dry-cleaning, there is a water-soluble version available which should not be called gutta even though it does get called this. This is what we are talking about here. It’s called resist.

It is only the clear version that you can wash out of the silk after the colours are set. After ironing or steaming setting, hold your silk under the running tap and gently squeeze the fabric until all remains of the resist have gone. Roll your silk in a towel and dab it dry. It’s as simple as that.

The other types of resist cannot be removed after application. These are the coloured and metallic versions. When they have dried, ideally over night, you iron them into the fabric using a hot iron and then proceed with either more painting or fixing. These are an integral part of the design and the lines you create with them remain in the pattern. This is the case with my gold gutta lines on the mandalas (you see, I’m calling the resist by the name gutta – it’s a bad habit). 🙂

If you are using any of the solvent-based guttas, then you will have to remove them via dry-cleaning.

So, that was it. Hope this helps.

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One Response to How to Wash Out Water-Soluble Gutta

  1. Fran says:

    Thanks for the help with this. I found it quite hard to wash out the resist. Each time I thought I had got it all, I left it to dry and then tried to iron it only to find that there were more bits still on it. I got it all in the end, but it was quite difficult – rather than just squeezing the fabric, I found that I had to use my nail to gently rub it off each spot, which was very slow and time consuming. Got there in the end though!

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