Dyeing Fabric with Food Coloring and Glue Gel Resist

  • Newspapers
  • Batting, 20″ × 30″
  • Drop cloth or muslin, 1 1/4 yds.
  • Painter’s tape
  • Prepared for dyeing (PFD) cotton fabric, fat quarter
  • Blue school glue gel
  • Liquid food coloring
  • Blue school glue gel
  • Small plastic containers and plastic spoons
  • Small silkscreen frame (I used a 10″ × 12″ frame.)
  • Stencil (Use a stencil close in size to the silk screen frame.)
  • Old credit card or squeegee
  • Pressing sheet
  • Liquid fabric paint (I used Dye-na-Flow® https://www.jacquardproducts.com/dye-na-flow.html from Jacquard®.)
  • Clear aloe vera gel
  • Foam brush


Prepare the printing surface
  1. Stack the newspapers on top of each other and top with the batting. Place the drop cloth or muslin on this stack, wrap the edges around to the back of the newspaper/batting stack, and tape it in place with painter’s tape. My surface is 20″ × 30″ but customize yours to fit your space.
  2. Tape the printing surface to the worktable with painter’s tape to keep it from shifting while printing.
Apply the resist

  1. Tape the stencil to the underside of the silkscreen frame with painter’s tape.
    Tip: Use a stencil with a fairly simple design and large openings. Fine details may not transfer well.

  1. Pour some of the colored school glue gel into the well of the frame. Using an old credit card or a squeegee, drag the glue across the silk surface. This will push the resist through the stencil onto the fabric.

  1. When finished, remove the silk screen and clean it and the stencil immediately. Set the fabric aside to air dry. This may take 24 hours.
  2. When the fabric is thoroughly dry, heat set the glue by pressing with a dry iron (no steam) at medium heat from both sides with a pressing sheet. Do not skip this step—even though the glue is dry it needs to be heat set to obtain a clear resist.
Paint the fabric

 In another small container, mix
— 1 tbsp. clear aloe vera gel and
— ½ tsp. of liquid fabric paint.
Tip: I like to use Dye-na-Flow because it is a highly pigmented liquid paint. You only need a small amount of paint to color cloth, which makes it ideal for this technique.

  1. Pin the fabric with the glue facing up on the printing surface. Use the credit card, squeegee, or foam brush to move the paint across the cloth. Set it aside to dry. This usually takes 6–12 hours.
  2. Once dry, heat set the fabric from both sides with a dry iron, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Soak the fabric in water for an hour and then wash it by hand or in a washing machine with a mild detergent. Air-dry and press. Your fabric is ready for your next project!
Tips for Success
  • Use only liquid food coloring for this technique. The gel kind is almost impossible to remove from the fabric.
  • If you want to use this technique on silk, choose green, red, or yellow food color to mix with the glue gel. Blue food coloring tints the fabric and will not wash out.

*over-painted cloth*
I hope you will try this *fun* technique!
You can find the magazine where this article was published HERE


  1. This looks like fun and pretty easy. Will give it a try. Thanks.

    1. It is lots of fun Nancy, let me know how it goes :)

  2. I sent you an email...hope you received it. If not, let me know...robbiespawprints@aol.com

    1. I haven't receive any email from you Robbie. Could you please send it again? Thnaks :)

  3. I love this! I've been meaning to try it for a long time and I appreciate your detailed instructions.


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