Silk Painting – How to

This is a short description of how to paint a silk scarf.

  1. This “Silk Painting – How to” uses DEKA and/or Javana iron-fixed paints.
  2. My advice is to think of your design and if you need ideas from others then embellish to make it your own.
  3. I use 90 x 90 cm silk squares.
  4. The process is as follows:

a. Select your paints

b. Next, you need to iron your silk scarf to flatten the ridges caused by folds.

c. After an iron, check all ridges are flat and then attach to a frame. You can do this with silk pins or a claw held by a rubber band. Make sure they are evenly spaced. Once you have done that test the tension on the silk to ensure is is even. Be carful not to over-tension as this can rip the silk.

d. The image can then be drawn onto the silk using a water-soluble fabric pen. You can either use a tracing from a fabric book or design book. I prefer to free draw. It comes with practise. The lines from the pen will disappear after water shoulders up against the line.

e. Once you have finished the drawing you need to add gutta. Think of this as adding a barrier so that the paint does not spill over into the next segment. For this demonstration I have used clear gutta which washes out at the end of the process to leave the base material, which in this case is white. You can use other coloured guttas (Black, gold, blue etc and some are glitter guttas) but these do not wash out and are used to add design.

f. Complete the full design and ensure all gaps in the gutta lines are fully laid down and if not repair them. It is important to ensure the edge of the scarf is guttered-up otherwise the paint has a habit of seeping or bleeding through. The odd mistake can be repaired but if not it adds to the hand-painted charm!

g. I use a gutta plastic bottle with a nozzle to apply the gutta. You can buy on-line. Top tip: Warm the gutta within the bottle in a cup of warm water as it helps the flow before you start.

h. Now it is time to start painting. Choose a colour and pour it into a large bowl. I use white porcelain dishes as this allows me to see the true colours. I use a silk paint brush or a water colour paint brush. The former hold more paint and is better used for large areas.

i. Only feather touch the silk as this will stop you flicking paint onto the silk and damaging unpainted areas. ALLOW the paint to spread under its own steam, if it does not reach the edge, then do not paint at the edge , rather repaint close and let the paint and silk do the rest. Silk acts like blotting paper so the paint will softly spread to reach the gutta border.

j. You can add Artist Salt to make an effect . The salt crystals absorb some of the paint creating a star effect on top of the paint. In essence it drinks a limited amount of paint.

k. Take your time. If you rush, mistakes can become difficult to undo.

l. The art of silk painting is to let colours run, to create washes, deliberate bleeds and patterns. I have done this painting the Chameleon.

m. After you have finished painting, let it fully dry, then you can brush off the salt crystals onto the floor. The next stage is to “Fix” the paints. You need to iron the silk from REVERSE. I usually do it slowly and twice across the whole scarf.

n. Once it is ironed, you need to soak the scarf in hand warm water, not hot. This removes the clear-gutta. I usually do it three times. Don’t worry if you see a little paint coming off in the wash basin, equally don’t worry if you see some coloured gutta come off if you have used it. Let the scarf dry outside or on a line over the bath. Once dry, re-iron and your master piece is done. ..Volia!!

o. IMPORTANT: Wash in a basin on its own not in a washing machine.