Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Working With Resists - Oatmeal

I first read about using oatmeal as a resist in Sue Beever's book, Off the Shelf Fabric Painting. I really liked the look, but I didn't like the cooking!  I experimented with some no-cook variations and now oatmeal is a staple in my pantry and in my art.

I'll be honest, oatmeal is a little more work than some of the other resists (primarily in the wash-out), but it creates a truly unique look.  You can achieve the signature oat-y crackle or a variety of marbled, wash effects.  I didn't realize it's versatility until I tried a few variations on the basic technique.  And of course it has the benefit of being inexpensive and readily available. The other thing I love about oatmeal is that it is very forgiving.  Almost any variation in the oats to water ratio or in the amount of time it stands before using will produce good results, as will any method of applying the oatmeal.

Oatmeal, cooked
The oatmeal was applied with a brush - note the brush strokes on the upper portion of the cloth.

Oatmeal, uncooked
Here, the oatmeal was applied with a squeegee. You can see how that technique spreads the oats out, leaving more space between them.

Oatmeal, cooked
Using a spoon to apply the oatmeal, as above, allows more control, making it easier to create a more even oat pattern.

Oatmeal, uncooked
 This oatmeal was also applied with a spoon.

Read my tips for working with resists.

Read about working with sugar syrup resist.

Read about working with acrylic medium resist.

Read about working with flour paste resist.


  1. Hi I love your site just found it
    I would love some advise. I paint on silk, im trying to find a good resist that i can make cheaply myself, i like fine detailed lines and i cant get that with the commercial resists. and i hate it when they bleed. can you give me some suggestions please thanks gay

    1. Hi Gay,

      It's tough to get a really strong resist that creates fine lines for silk painting. I'm not sure that any of the homemade pastes will work any better for you than the commercially available ones. You might try flour paste or rice baby cereal. Both can be used in a squeeze bottle if you strain any lumps. If you are careful with your painting and don't flood the areas you may have luck with them.

      Email me if you have more detailed questions. Good luck!

    2. Hi, I'm also trying to resist with silk. To use rice baby cereal, how do you form the paste? thank you.


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