Home » Printing with Symplocos Paste

Symplocos Powder can be made into a paste to be used for silkscreening, block printing, or painting. First, a concentrated solution is made with the powder and water, then it must be thickened. We recommend using guar gum as a thickener, though gum tragacanth would also work. The guar gum powder can be added directly to the Symplocos solution and then stirred. Alternatively, the guar gum can be made into a paste first and then this pudding-like substance can be added to the Symplocos. This dissolves much easier than the plain guar gum powder. Guar Gum is available at the grocery store in the baking section, or from dye suppliers. Prepare the thickener paste a few hours, or even the day, before you need to use it. This recipe will make 1 liter (1 quart) of thickener. (Reduce appropriately if you do not need the full amount).

  • Measure 1000 ml (1 quart) of water at room temperature, 25ºC (75ºF).
  • In a separate dry container measure 100 grams (1 cup) of guar gum.
  • Using an electric hand mixer (you will not be able to mix this by hand), start blending just the water. Then gradually sprinkle in the guar gum. Continue blending until well mixed.
  • Allow to stand for several hours or overnight for a smooth paste. NOTE: This thickener will keep for only three days. It is also possible to put the guar gum into several small containers to freeze for later use.

1. On Cotton

Symplocos paste recipe for printing on cotton

  • Add 50 grams of Symplocos powder to 300 ml of water.
  • Boil for 30 minutes. Add more water as necessary.
  • Filter the liquid, squeezing all liquid from the Symplocos pulp.
  • Add more water to the liquid until its volume is equal to 300 ml again.
  • Add 3 grams of dry guar gum or about 1 tablespoon of guar gum paste and stir continuously until all the lumps are gone. Add more if it is not thick enough.

Preparing the cloth

  • Using cloth that has been properly cleaned, determine the dry weight of the cloth. This is WOF.
  • Soak the cloth in turkey red castor oil 10% WOF and enough water to cover the cloth at 60ºC (140ºF) for 1 hour.
  • Dry the cloth.
  • Soak the cloth in a preparation of 10% WOF tannin and enough water to cover the cloth at 60ºC (140ºF)  for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  • Dry the cloth again.
  • Print with the prepared Symplocos paste and dry thoroughly.
  • Rinse in a solution of hot tap water and a handful of wheat bran. The phosphates in the wheat bran will
  • set the mordant on the cloth.
  • Now the cloth is ready for dyeing, using the usual methods.

 

On Silk        

Symplocos paste recipe for printing on silk

  • Add 50 grams of Symplocos powder to 300 ml of water.
  • Boil for 30 minutes. Add more water as necessary.
  • Filter the liquid, squeezing all liquid from the Symplocos pulp.
  • Add more water to the liquid until its volume is equal to 300 ml again.
  • Add 3 grams of dry guar gum or about 1 tablespoon of guar gum paste and stir continuously until all the lumps are gone. Add more if it is not thick enough.

Preparing the cloth

  • Start with clean/scoured silk fabric that has been washed in a warm soap solution.
  • Print with the prepared Symplocos print paste and dry thoroughly.
  • Rinse in a solution of hot tap water and a handful of wheat bran. The phosphates in the wheat bran will set the mordant on the cloth.
  • Now the cloth is ready for dyeing, using the usual methods.

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