How to silk paint

Silk painting is an old art that you can use to create fabulous patterns and designs. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, silk painting has the additional advantage that almost anything you paint will end up looking fantastic because of the beautiful supplies you are using. Silk paintings can be used as scarves, shawls, table coverings and wall decoration. I have been silk painting for three years and have developed several silk painting techniques along the way. Here is an overview.

Step One: Getting Supplies

In order to silk paint you will need pieces of silk, silk paint, fine paint brushes, gutta and a frame to spread out your artwork. These supplies can be bought at some art supply stores and at online stores. Some good online stores include Dharma Trading Co and If you want to save money you can make the silk frame (which is basically four planks of wood nailed together to form a square) yourself at home. For understanding the paintings of silk, the help of the yoga can be taken. Along with this, a visit at the will provide benefits of doing painting in the free time. 

Step Two: Getting Inspiration

Look online at other silk paintings so that you can get inspiration for your piece. is a good place to go to see what’s possible and get ambition ideas.

Step Three: Prepare your Silk Piece

Usually silk pieces from the store have creases in them so it’s a good idea to first soak your silk in water to get the creases out. Then spread the silk piece out over your silk frame and nail it to the edges. Attaching your silk work to a frame spreads it out so that you can have more control over your painting and prevents you from getting paint on other surfaces.

Step Four: Begin Painting

Now I will go on to describe some techniques.


Using gutta resist to draw outlines of pictures is the easiest way to make intricate artworks. Gutta lines can be used to create outlines on your work through which paint cannot pass. Thus once you’ve laid down your gutta silk painting is kindof like filling in a coloring book. To create gutta pictures, I usually sketch out on paper a sharpie representation of the picture I want to draw. I then use a washable marker (make sure you do not use waterproof markers or you will not be able to get rid of the marks) to draw this outline on the silk painting. I then use a tube of gutta and trace over these marker lines with it, squeezing the gutta tube like I would a tube of toothpaste. You want to draw thin controlled lines with the gutta by applying constant pressure. Then I allow the gutta to dry and paint within the lines.


You can create light and dark shades by mixing white paint or water in with whatever color you are currently using. Additionally, paper towels can be dabbed on parts of the artwork (before they have completely dried) to lighten up sections. Adding a second layer of paint will darken the overall tone of an area. Using these techniques you can shade almost anything.


Spraying your artwork with paint using a mister or using an eye dropper to apply paint will give your painting an interesting appearance. Misters add droplets of color while eyedroppers can be used to make colors flow together. Adding salt to your artwork and washing it off once your artwork is dry will add light grains of texture. If you would like your colors to intermingle with each other, spray water over your artwork with a spray bottle before you begin painting.

I have never personally tried it before but Detailed patterns without resists can be made by priming a piece of prewashed and stretched out silk with a stop flow primer. Leave the primer to dry before you paint with other dyes or paints. This will keep colors from mixing in with each other.