Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lets Paint a Peacock Feather-On Silk

I thought I'd photo document my most recent scarf creation. Hopefully you'll be inspired to create one yourself. Painting on silk is really very easy. I taught myself by simply watching some YouTube videos while ironing laundry.

What You'll Need:

1. silk you can buy this online or at Jerry's Art-O-Rama
2. silk paint
3. A tiny paintbrush
4. Gutta Resist and little squeeze bottle with a metal hollow tip (like a mini cake decorating tip) You can get these online or at Jerry's Art Store as well.
5 A frame. My awesome boyfriend made this frame for me with pieces of scrap wood. But you can use anything that lifts and stretches your silk off the table.

Using thumbtacks securely stretch your silk across the frame. All four sides would be best, but as you can see in my picture. My silk scarf is long and thin and I'm only able to affix three sides to the frame. That's okay, as long and it's tight enough that the silk won't touch the table.

Using the Gutta Resist draw out your design. It can be a simple geometric pattern. I'm using free flowing lines to create the individual feathers that make up the Peacock feather. The resist acts like a barrier and has the consistency of liquid rubber cement. Make sure your lines are thick enough to ensure that the ink won't bleed through. The resist can be removed after the scarf is finished by dry-cleaning it. And all that will be left is the pure white silk beneath.

Pour a tiny amount of the highly concentrated silk paint into separate containers. You can use water to decrease the intensity of the ink color. But keep in mind the ink will dry much lighter than it looks when it's wet. Use your paint brush to "color in the lines." It's that simple. The resist will keep the ink from going places you don't want it too--as long as you can color in the lines.

Careful for drips! The silk acts as a wick and it only takes a tiny drop of ink to create a large area of color. Feel free to mix and blend the paint/ink however you like. These paints do a lovely job of looking like a watercolor painting and it's hard to go wrong with color combinations

Half-way though my project I decided that I didn't have enough individual "feathers" so I went back in and created more using the gutta resist. You can always add to your design. This scarf is going to have several separate painted areas. Just make sure the ink is dry before you move the silk around.

Now one section of my scarf is finished. I'm going to let it dry before I move it to work on other areas of the scarf. Still to come... setting the ink so the scarf is machine washable and the colors won't bleed.


  1. Nice! I'm a scarfaholic. My sister's birthday is coming up. I should make one for her. Hmm...

    I'll keep you posted on how it turns out. I'm a pretty miserable painter. And on silk? Isn't it tricky to paint silk? I have a hard enough time painting hard, flat surfaces.

  2. wow, I wish I can do that too. It looks fun to do, and can be a great gift to give!!! Great idea!

  3. I found your site through 622press. Absolutely beautiful work! Thank you for giving us a behind the scenes look at all the time that goes into these scarves. Very inspiring!

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