Below is an article I wrote a few years ago that was published on the Silk Painters International website. I am re-posting it here because I get so many questions on what kind of resist I use.
Why do we love thee (Resistad) let me count the ways. (Sorry I couldn’t resist, oops, did it again!). Resistad is very wax-like in its resisting properties. Once properly heat set or steamed it can be painted over with dye as long as you use a cotton ball to wipe off the beads of dye that form on the resisted areas. If you leave the beads of dye on the resist they will work their way through (can be a cool effect if wanted).
I color my Resistad with Dupont dyes, and then I apply it to the silk using an Air Pen applicator with a small compressor. I also use it by coloring it with dye and painting it directly on the silk as a thickened dye, or by using a Pro-liner with a metal nib.
There are 2 ways to set the Resistad before you apply the dyes. Heat setting with a very hot iron or by steaming. Since I use black Dupont dye to color most of my lines I double my paintings to keep the black dye from bleeding into lighter colors because Dupont black is very erosive to the Resistad. Other dyes may not have the same effect so experiment.
After I have applied the Resistad to 4 or 5 paintings I place them in the steamer (horizontal Dharma steamer) and steam for 1½ hours. This sets the black dye and activates the Resistad in one easy step. No curing over night then standing over each of the five paintings pointing a dryer at each line or ironing hoping that each line was heated enough.
Having said all of that, many Resistad users have had very good luck simply heat setting the Resistad using the overnight curing and hair dryers and irons to heat set it. I on the other hand have no luck with this method and have found that my colored Resistad failed in areas and was blurry in others, Part of this is because I use Dupont dyes which as I stated earlier are erosive to the thin Resistad lines. I also use very thin lines on my paintings, thicker resist lines or shapes have more holding power and may just need to be ironed. When the Resistad is steam set it becomes very wax-like and I have come to count on that superb holding power so that I can actually paint over lines and shapes without the dye bleeding through.
After I have steamed my resisted silk I re-stretch all of them on my stretchers and I paint in the Dupont Dyes on all five paintings. After that I roll them all up and steam them together for 2 hours to set the dyes.
When properly set Resistad holds a line like gutta or wax without the fumes or need for dry-cleaning. It has a very small amount of solvent in it so there is a slight odor but nothing like solvent based gutta. It is totally water rinse-able and when used for line work does not interfere with the hand of the silk.
If it is painted on covering large areas it does slightly alter the silks hand. It can be used to do block printing, direct painting, very fine line work (holds a size three line like a dream no breaks ever and that is a very thin line). When diluted to a very weak strength it can be used as an antidiffusant, it can be sponged on the silk to create leaves on trees or textures, and John, the creator of Resistad has some really cool ideas for mono-printing and using dried colored Resistad on a glass surface and then picking it up with wet silk. Ask him about his project sheets.
Resistad is the best water-based resist in the world a few years ago I did a cost break down on it to show the YSPG readers that it was not as cost prohibitive as some of them thought. Please note that this cost analysis was done in 2006-2007 and postage and materials costs may have risen slightly since then.
First you want to buy the Medium Resistad, and then you dilute it half and half with water for clear or dye for colored resist. I use a little more water/dye for thinner end product and ease of squeezing. It should pour like honey after it has been mixed and allowed to rest for ½ an hour (it thickens as it sits).
So right there you have cut the initial cost in half. Look at the breakdown below, as you can see Resistad colored with Dupont dyes that have
been properly mixed with Dupont Dilutant is only $1.86 per ounce, including the dreaded shipping and handling from New Zealand that everyone fears so much.
A pro-liner holds about 1.65 ounces of resist and that is a lot of line work for about $3.00.
Prices below are based on calculations from 2005-2006 Prices have increased since then
Dupont Dyes Undiluted
250 ml = $15.67 including S/H = $1.75 oz
1000ml = $43.76 including S/H = $1.36 oz
Per ounce undiluted = $1.75
Per ounce diluted = $0.88
1000ml = $36.11 including S/H
After adding water = $0.1 per oz
2kg (4.4lbs or 71oz) = $1.95 per oz incl. S/H
Resistad, Dye & Dilutant = $1.86 per ounce