Gum Tragacanth

Surface Design Thickener.

Gum tragacanth is a wonderful medium for mixing with natural dyes and conveying controlled design onto fabric. It allows you to paint, stamp, stencil and create surface design with natural dyes and exercise a wonderful level of control over color placement. The brushstroke, stencil image or stamp imprint with the dye stays where you put it. No wicking, bleeding or mess. Control of your design is the main value of this technique.

Basic Recipe Preparation

Add 4 cups warm water to a blender, place the lid firmly and turn the blender on medium low. While blender is running, remove the lid and add in about 2 tablespoons gum tragacanth powder. Continue to run the blender another minute, then increase blender’s speed to medium high and run another 3 minutes. Turn off the blender and notice the consistence of the mixture. It should look like foamy, half-beaten egg whites with about the same consistency. Use mixture with dyes for painting or surface design.

Prepare dye by adding about 1 tablespoon of dye to a cup. Dissolve the dye with the least amount of boiling water needed. Stir well, and let cool. Once cool, add in prepared gum tragacanth mixture one tablespoon at a time until you are satisfied with the viscosity and color you are seeking.

For painting, you may prefer a looser mixture. For stencil printing, you may prefer a slightly thicker mixture. Adjust with water.

Leftover gum tragacanth mixture will store successfully for 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator, in a tight glass jar or plastic container. Do not put it back into the blender to rehabilitate it. If it doesn’t look as good as when you put it in the fridge, it’s unusable. Throw it out. Begin again.

Gum tragacanth can be mixed with iron for color changing. Add 1 teaspoon iron to yogurt cup, and add 1-2 tablespoons boiling water to dissolve. Let cool, then add in gum tragacanth mixture. Stir well, then apply to fiber with brush that is dedicated for iron use only.