This type of technique is called “fake batik”, but really how rude. We’ve been using starch resist techniques in Africa for centuries. In Zimbabwe they made the most beautiful batiks with sadza, yes, what we call mealie meal porridge or slap pap, and what Americans would call grits. In Nigeria, cassava paste is used to make the famously gorgeous adire fabric.
But there’s no need to pound a cassava root into smithereens when you can use cake flour and water from your kitchen.
Here’s how : Mix up a half cup flour and same quantity of water. Add more flour if necessary to make a thick batter. Put into squeeze bottle or pastry bag. Squeeze out your design onto your fabric. Let it dry completely. This takes quite a lot of time, about 24 hours, and the fabric tends to curl and curve, but no problem, it gives your painting an added dimension. Once completely dry, paint with fabric paints and leave to dry again. This bit is much quicker.
Once dry, iron your fabric with the steam off to make it color fast. Then soak in water and remove the dried flour bits. Rinse until the water is clear and hang up to dry for the last time.
Lessons learned : Use thick bold designs, as the fabric paint tends to slide under really thin lines.
Don’t dilute the paint too much or it seeps under the resist
You can also use vegetable shortening instead of resist, no drying time, but I’m reluctant to put anything greasy onto cloth, so I haven’t tried this.