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Silk painting - basic and technical just explained

  • silk painting
    • Basics and utensils
    • preparation
    • technology

Silk painting is a unique form of fabric design in which silk scarves or fabrics are painted to create an artistic finish. The art goes back to the time of Chinese antiquity and was perfected and expanded in France, India and Japan. Nowadays, painting silk fabrics is a popular hobby, encourages creativity and adds a pleasing accessory to the wardrobe.

silk painting

They are interested in silk painting and would like to know how the technique is applied and what the necessary basics and materials are for this ">

different colors

Basics and utensils

Before you can start with the silk painting, you must select the appropriate basics. This is the silk itself that you paint. Since silk is offered in a variety of strengths and processing forms, interested in silk painting at the beginning once a bit confused there. Especially for this hobby, there are several silk fabrics that offer themselves, from the classic Bourette silk over Ausbrennersamt to Pongé.

Without help, a wrong piece of silk can be bought quickly, which makes painting difficult or destroys the silk. Pongé silk is particularly suitable for the beginner as this color absorbs very well and can be easily processed. But since Pongé is also available in several strengths, you should definitely compare the following types.

Pongé 5 and 6

  • ideal beginner fabric
  • transparent
  • fine
  • soft
  • suitable for scarves, shawls and accessories

Pongé 7

  • a little firmer
  • as easy to paint as Pongé 5 and 6
  • a little less note

Pongé 8 to 11

  • harder to paint
  • not so fine
  • well suited for clothing, curtains, ties
  • weak glow

Pongé 12

  • very strong
  • good for decorations and clothes
  • Taft resembles the texture

If you have no idea about silk painting, you should definitely choose Pongé 5 or 6 . 7 is also possible, but the result can falsify something here. Pongé 5 and 6 cost an average of eight to twelve euros for a running meter with a width of 70 to 90 centimeters. For a scarf or silk scarf you need a maximum of two running meters. Do not use impregnated silk fabrics because they do not really accept the color. In addition to the fundamentals themselves, you will need the following utensils to paint the silk.

  • Silk paint (iron-fixable)
  • Watercolor brush in numbers 3, 6, 10
  • Painters film
  • salt
  • Iron
  • Ironing board (alternatively a suitable surface for ironing)
  • dishtowels
  • several glasses and bowls
  • masking tape
  • acetic acid

For the silk paints it is important to use iron-fixable . Since the silk fabric can be ironed after painting, you must use such colors. The following list gives you an overview of some manufacturers and prices for 50 ml of paint.

  • Kreul: 4 - 8 euros (depending on the color)
  • Piccolino: about 3 euros
  • Pébéo: about 5 euros
  • Dupont: about 6 euros
  • Marabu: 5 - 7 euros

At the beginning, it's a good idea to either mix colors to a desired hue if you can or just use one color. Of course you can choose the color of the silk and adjust the color of the colors accordingly. For starters, light pongee silk is a good choice, as it lightens the colors and enhances the contrast. For salt, be sure to use a suitable salt. You have the choice between the following variants.

effect salt

  • specially tailored to the silk painting, costs two to three euros per 500 ml


  • Common salt (fine)

The effect salt has the ideal grain size to produce attractive patterns, but cooking salt and pretzel salt are also possible. You can try several variations on a test and see which pattern you like more. Now the basics are complete and you can start painting.

Tip: If you want to use colors from different manufacturers, this is basically possible, but sometimes depends on the individual products. Here you have no choice but to use a piece of sample silk and to paint this to test the compatibility of each color to each other.


The preparation for the silk painting is completed quickly. To do this, choose a large table or a raised surface that has enough space for the piece of silk. Then take the painter's foil and stretch it firmly over the surface so that wrinkles are no longer recognizable. Then mix the desired colors. More is not necessary for the preparation.

Tip: You can also spread the painter's foil on the floor if, for example, you want to paint large pieces of silk or have no problem moving into a stooping posture or painting on your knees. However, you should then have no animals or toddlers in the immediate vicinity.


The applied techniques differ significantly from each other. For the beginner, two different techniques are available, which require little experience and can be perfectly implemented with the above-mentioned utensils.

different pattern variations
  • wet on dry
  • wet in wet
  • salt technology

Although there are other techniques such as the impregnation or the wax process, but much more complicated and difficult to implement. For the hobby area, the three mentioned variants are best, since each technique can only be implemented easily. That's what makes silk painting such a popular activity as it lets your creativity run wild.

Wet in wet

The simplest and most classical technique of silk painting is wet in wet, sometimes wet on wet.

To do this, proceed as follows:

1. The cloth is wet and placed on the painter's foil. Now, take individual sections of the fabric, turn them into corners and fold the remaining part of the fabric irregularly into folds . As a result, the typical color gradient of silk painting will emerge afterwards.

2. Now pick up the three brushes and colors. They always start with the brightest color and dab and spread the silk cloth at irregular intervals. You can paint long strokes, individual splashes of color, circles and numerous other shapes on the cloth. Be sure to vary the brush sizes to make the pattern more interesting.

3. Spread the silk sheet flat on the surface and cover it with a tea towel . Now, for five minutes, use your iron to drive over the towel at the highest level so that the color can be fixed.

4. After ironing, prepare a bowl of water and a dash of acetic acid . In this solution, the cloth is briefly washed to remove excess paint. Finally wring out the silk cloth, let it dry for a longer time and iron it up to a maximum of 160 ° C. Now your silk scarf is ready painted.

Tip: If you use Pongé 5 through 9, the color will penetrate to the other side and you will not have to paint it. From Pongé 10, the piece of silk is turned over again and painted in the same way.

salt technology

The salt technique is a continuation of the technique wet on wet and is applied immediately after applying the paint. Spread some salt in different places on the fresh paint. The salt absorbs these and ensures bright spots with appealing color gradients. Once most of the salt has dissolved, carefully remove the last remaining salt with a cloth and continue ironing . The salt technique creates interesting patterns that can even look very elegant. Let yourself be surprised here.

Wet on dry

Wet on dry is a technique that is especially suitable for people who want to paint defined shapes, patterns or even pictures on the silk. This method is quite simple, but it takes much more time, as you have to wait for a real picture, until some colors are dried. The salt technique is not used in this technique, as well as the silk is not ironed after applying the color because the fabric is not wet.

Proceed as follows:

  • spread out the silk
  • fix these on the sides with heavy objects
  • Now you paint your desired motive
  • wait for certain games until individual colors have dried
  • Blow dry evenly as soon as the design or pattern has been completed

After blow-drying, the silk is cleaned with vinegar as described above and finally ironed.

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