Screen printing with water based gutta resist
  • Hi, I'm new to this forum and am experimenting with silk painting. I am an established artist (tilemaker) and I use a silkscreened oil resist (which I make myself) on my tiles before decorating with glazes - this method is called Cuerda Seca. Silk painting is an obvious fit for me since gutta resist does the same thing but on silk. Is it possible to silkscreen gutta onto the silk?? I use an oily resist but water based resist will affect my silkscreens. Is there anyone out there who can advise me?
    Thanks in advance for any help!
  • Hey Jude (couldn't resist!)

    Thanks for writing in.
    You are right - the silk painting is a natural segue from your resist method tile glazing. And yes, you can screen resist onto silk, however, we recommend using water based resist for this method because the solvent based resists are quite difficult to clean from your screen. There are methods, but none that wouldn't likely destroy standard emulsion on a screen and/or create a health and safety hazard.

    hope this helps
  • Hi Annette, thanks for your quick reply. Do you have any ideas about how to clean the screen without affecting the screen emulsion. I was surprised that the water based gutta is so thick, will adding water to it weaken the resist once it is screened onto the fabric. Do you know any artists who use screen printed gutta??
    Thanks, Jude
  • Hi Jude,

    Cleaning the water based resist from you screen should be quite easy so long as it is not allowed to dry in the screen. Rinsing it out in the same manner you'd use to clean a screen after using a water based screen ink will do it - running water over the screen with gentle agitation using a soft brush or cloth.
    You can thin the water based resist with water, and while it will work sufficiently to hold the dye once dry, it may spread through the silk - not hold its line really well. I'd start with just the littlest bit of thinning - working toward a medium that will screen easily and at the same time not spread on the silk.
    I don't know of any artist off the top of my head that use the water based resist or solvent based gutta, but I suspect if you do a little research on the internet you'll find someone. A good place to start would be Silk Painters International -