Painting a Scarf- What is Needed?

posted in: Art, Art Work, craft, Materials, Scarves | 0

Materials for Painting a Silk Scarf.

It’s really quick and exciting to create a design on a silk scarf using hot wax as a resist. I tried gutta resist once but failed miserably as it’s hard to keep up the necessary pressure on the tube or bottle, it’s easy to smudge and it takes a long time to dry. Wax sets instantly and flows evenly from the canting. There is no contest!

So what materials do I use?

  • A frame for stretching the scarf. This should be slightly larger than the scarf size and made of wood about 1.5 inches x 0.5 inches. The larger side is uppermost and covered by thin foam, then thick tape. I stretch the scarf using headed pins through the rolled edges. The pins pierce the frame covering and the scarf is suspended above the frame. There are of course other ways to stretch the silk but this way is quick and easy
  • Scarf blanks from Rainbow Silks. The lightweight crepe de chine is popular with my customers.
  • Wax as in the previous post.
  • Steam fix paints and dyes. I mostly use Dupont paints or Jacquard Red label. The Jacquard dyes are almost like liquid Procion dyes. The Jacquard are strong and lightfast but tend to leave a darker ring inside the wax lines if they are not diluted enough. Rainbow Silks stock both.
  • A canting and/or a brush for drawing with the wax. See the previous post.
  • Watercolour brushes for painting.
  • I have a steamer for fixing the paints or dyes, but scarves can be rolled up in a paper ‘parcel’ and balanced on something metal ( I have used an upturned egg cup) inside a vegetable steaming pan. The parcel is covered with a cap of foil to stop condensation drips soaking through. I wrapped the lid with a towel for further protection and steamed the silks gently in this way before investing in a steamer. I steam a batch of up to 8 scarves in the steamer for 4 hours, but 1 hour should be plenty for one or two scarves using a pan.
  • If there are creases in your scarf after being wrapped tightly in a steaming pan or if you have used lots of wax and it’s not coming out, try a final dip into white spirit.
  • Synthrapol from George Weil a gentle detergent for rinsing the scarves. It helps to rinse out excess dye. A wool detergent could be substituted.
Old steaming pan
The wrapped silk was balanced inside a double pan.


My steamer
Silk wrapped in a roll ready for the steamer. A foil cap prevents condensation drips from the lid.


My frames showing the foam covering.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *