Introduction to Painting on Silk
Painting on silk is a fun art form that lends itself well to professionals, crafters, and even kids who are interested in both drawing and painting.
The first step to silk painting is the silk. You can find silk at almost any art supply store, craft store, and fabric store. You can paint on almost any kind of silk with silk paints. You can also find pre made silk items at most of these stores as well. Specifically for silk painting I have come across silk ties, silk tissue holders, silk scarves, and silk sarongs that are all affordable and pre made waiting to be painted by you!
Now, Gutta is my new favorite part of silk painting. If you like to draw you will love gutta as well. Gutta is a colored acrylic paint that is really thick. You use it to draw on your silk just like a pin. This gutta blocks the silk paint and keeps it where you want the color to go, just like a coloring book. It takes about 30 minutes to dry.
Water based resist I every much like gutta, but is clear. You can add you own dyes to it to color it if you want. It also stops the colors of paint keeping them in areas you decide. It is clear though! It also goes on by pouring some in a clear plastic squeeze bottle using a metal tip.
There are a variety of silk paints on the market. I started out with the student grade and it works perfectly fine for beginners. Expect to pay between $2 and $3 per bottle. It looks like ink in the bottle and paints on thin and bright.
Silk salts are salts you can use to sprinkle on your wet paint on the silk. These allow you to create bright bursts of color on your silk material.
The stretcher frame is the basic wooden frame you use to stretch your silk to paint on it. I am currently simply using a wood frame meant to have canvas stretcher on it, but they make all sorts of wood silk stretching frames ranging from as little as $12 to as much as you care to spend.
You use three pronged tacks to stretch your silk on the frame. These will not tear your silk. Once you stretch your silk you can draw you design on with your gutta ot water based resist. Allow these to dry, usually about 30 minutes.
Once those have dried you can paint on your silk. Most people use Chinese brushes, but you can try almost any paint brush that does not shed.
The silk paint spreads out nicely, and evenly. You can add more colors on top to create unique blends and colors on your painted silk. You can also create large blocks of solid color.
Once your painted silk has dried you can use an iron o set your silk paints and gutta. You should follow the instructions on your specific pant for iron settings and how long to do this.
After the gutta and silk paint is set with the iron it can be washed and used without any worry of fading or bleeding of the paints!
I bought a beginner set of silk paints online at Dharma Trading Company. I have also found that Dick Blick Art Supplies also has a great onlienselction of inexpensive silk stretchers. Between the two you can easily start silk painting for about $150 or less. I was able to completely buy every paint color, three yards of silk, frames brushes, gutta, water based resist, silk salt, three pronged pins, and more for that!