Print Paste Recipe

I hope to screen print some fabric soon, and that means making print paste. Anything not food-related gets prepared outside; in this case, by the washing machine, where the electrical outlet is located. Here are the ingredients….

…sodium alginate, urea (sheep’s urine; you see why this is not in the kitchen), my chemical-only-use food processor, some empty containers, a gallon of hot water.

First the urea (1 cup, divided, 1/2 cup for the first quart, 1/c cup for the next quart) is dissolved in close to a quart of hot water (above) in the food processor, and then 1/4 cup of sodium alginate is slowly poured in as the hot urea water swirls around, if you don’t dissolve the sodium alginate slowly and into moving water, you get clumps; the mixture quickens rapidly:

Here’s a nice smooth quart of thickening print paste. I pour this into a 2 1/2 quart container, add a quart of warm water, and then let it sit. I do the whole thing again to make another 2 quarts of print paste.

I don’t add water softener, like some recipes call for.

I left this out for a week, thinking it was cool enough; I was wrong. I checked the print paste and it had small bits of mold starting to grow on the top!! I had no idea. I quickly scraped off the mold and put the paste where it belongs, on a back shelf of my fridge.

I think my paste is a bit thin. I don’t think half a cup of sodium alginate per gallon of water is thick enough for painting, but I think I could use it for screen printing.

Author: Clareannette

I love working and making art in the Sonoran Desert!

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