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Here I have collected the most frequent questions about silk painting. I hope you will find the answers to your questions. If not, I will gladly respond via e-mail. Please send your questions here. šeit >>

Can only silk be painted or can I also paint on synthetic material?
Only natural silk or thin cotton is suitable for painting; however you can use synthetic fabric for practice as you will not need the dye to be lasting. Dyes will be very short lasting on the synthetic fabric and will wear out after first washing.
How large must be the frame for stretching the silk?
The frame must be just slightly larger than the fabric you will be dyeing – approximately 5 cm to each side. Therefore it is advisable to have several size frames or an adjustable frame.
Where can I get a frame for silk painting?
You can find frames at the art’s supplies store, but I prefer self made wooden frames. At the construction supplies’ store I buy wooden bars (approximately 5x2cm diameter), saw them into the desired length and fasten them with metal angles (also purchased at the construction supplies’ store). You can easily make this type of frame yourself. I have 3 several size frames for small, medium and large scarves and paintings. When I need a different size frame, I unscrew the frame and fasten it together with the bar of required length.
I was taught to fasten the fabric with a ribbon that is pinned. But in this case the ribbon takes away the dye and the fabric has stains in place where it was fastened. How to avoid that?
I use the stitching method for the fabric. First you pin regular stationery pins in the wooden frame. I used to pin them after each 5 cm, but also 10 cm space is sufficient. You can use smaller space for smaller fabrics. The fabric is placed in the middle of the frame and first you must stitch the opposite sides. When you stitch, place the thread behind the pins. If you are stitching a scarf or shawl into frame that already has been edged, you should place the needle in the place where the fabric has been already edged – where it is double or threefold.  Then you will not have to fear that the thread might tear the silk after stretching it into frame. Stitching has an advantage of pulling the fabric tightly, if silk after moistening becomes a bit loose. All you have to do is pull the threads and that’s it. You can use threads of any type or color – the most important thing is that is does not tear the silk and does not tear itself. Thread is better than ribbon, because it is very thin and stretches the fabric very evenly. You just need a little practice. When your painting is completed, leave the pins into the frame – they will be handy for the next work. Never pin the fabric directly to the frame!
Should I iron the silk before stretching into frame?
Yes, you can iron silk before painting and it is even advisable as the crinkles are difficult to straighten out after stretching the silk into frame and you can have crinkled stains when dyeing.
How to treat the fabric before painting?
I have concluded that not always the fabric has to be treated. If you suspect that there could be something that could create stains later, then it is advisable to wash the silk with any soap; or you can also use hair shampoo. You should not add vinegar to the water before painting, as it may become stained, because the dye will be absorbed faster.  Fabric is ironed and that’s it.
Should I edge the fabric before or after painting?
You can do it both ways. Edged silk is easier to place into frame and the edge will be beautifully dyed in the desired shade. However, if the edge is too thick it can be incompletely dyed or the dye can flow over the resist, if it ends on the edge. Unedged silk will not have this problem, but the placing of silk into frame will be more difficult and the small side threads will be inconvenient to handle.
How to edge the silk?
Silk must be manually edged. The edge is rolled up and sewn with thread in such way that the thread is almost unnoticeable on the front side. The sewing machines give sort of factory effect and it reduces the value of garment. I don’t like manual sewing, as it is very slow, but unfortunately there is no other choice. Alternative is to buy already edged scarves or shawls at the art’s supplies stores. The thread used for edging should be natural silk.
What dye shades I must buy first?
The base shades (yellow, blue, red) will not be sufficient, because you cannot mix all required shades from them as you could with the water colors or gouache. But with time you will understand what are your frequently used shades. I recommend buying the shades from your favorite color palette. I prefer and mostly use dark blue, turquoise blue, cold red and dark red. You should also buy resist in the same shades you like that goes well with your favorite palette.
Where you can buy dyes for painting?
You should buy special silk dyes that can be purchased in art’s supplies stores. I recommend all silk dyes manufactured in France or Germany. I do not recommend the dyes from Russia as they are not lasting. Marabu has very good dyes. I use them myself and recommend it to others, especially to beginners. If you treat them properly after painting, they are 100% lasting, but it will insufficient to just iron them as it is stated in the dye instruction.
Can the beginner paint with the so called professional dyes?
I would not recommend starting painting with the professional silk dyes. They are envisaged to be steamed after painting and that could create problems. No matter how technically correct you will try to do this, something can easily go wrong. Also you require a special pot for steaming, where silk is placed so that the fabric does not touch with itself, as stains might occur.
Should I shake the dye before using it?
Please shake the bottle of dye before painting, as it will mix evenly in case it was flaked.
Do I paint with two brushes? One brush for dye, the other for water?
Each dye requires its own brush and you also need a brush for water. For smaller areas you will require smaller brushes, for larger areas - larger ones. It is recommended to use squirrel brushes.
How much vinegar should I add to rinsing water after painting?
I estimate it by sight. You can actually use vinegar two ways. One technique, which I practice lately, is the following:  mix vinegar with water in a water sprayer (vinegar 3-4 spoons for the bottle). When dyeing is completed and everything has properly dried, spray the fabric with vinegar water while fabric is in the frame. When it has dried, you can take the fabric out, iron it and steam it. Second technique is to rinse the silk in vinegar water – use few spoons for a small bowl.
How to fix the dye correctly after painting to prevent it from washing off?
After dyeing the silk is properly ironed and put in the steamer – you can use regular vegetables’ steaming pot – the one that has a strainer. You can place the silk that has been rolled up or you can put it loosely in the steamer, but please remember that you can steam the fabric if you used dyes that must be fixed with iron not the professional dyes for steaming (professional dyes for steaming require different treatment!) Steam the silk for about 30-60 minutes – longer time is not required. You do not have to be afraid of the condensate dripping onto the silk. My shawls and scarves are always absolutely soaked, but they are not damaged or washed off. After steaming, please rinse the silk in mild vinegar water and iron it.
Can I use the vegetable steaming pot? Manufacturer "Severin" //Germany//.  Should I place the silk onto the second tray? The steam condensate will drip on the dyed silk intensively and the second tray would be safer. What is your opinion?
Such steamer will definitely be appropriate for silk steaming if you have not used the professional silk dyes for steaming, but instead you have used Marabu or Deka Silk dyes that must be fixed with an iron. As I have written before the steam condensate will not damage the dyes.
What does it mean - let the dye flow freely?
Free flow means that you apply the dye slightly on the fabric without worries about unpainted areas as the dye will flow there itself. When you will have tried dyeing, you will understand what I am talking about - the moisture moves very fast over the fabric, not like on paper. You do not need to move the frame to stimulate this.
What position must be the frame during painting?
Frame must be horizontally placed as the table so that dyes evenly flow to all sides, and do not flow downwards accidently. You can place the frame on two identical stools.
Do I have to wash the brushes after painting?
Yes. You must wash the brushes and the tip of resist with soap and water and must dry them to retain their shape.
How long the painting dries?
Painting has dried when you touch it and is completely dry. Drying can last from half an hour to one hour – depending on the room temperature. Resist dries longer and before starting painting you must make sure that the resist is completely dry.
Silk is ironed moist or dry after steaming?
Silk is ironed when it is slightly moist with the second or silk appropriate ironing temperature from the reverse side.
What brushes are required for silk painting?
You will require various size natural brushes, at least one or two large brushes and few smaller ones. Most suitable are the squirrel brushes. The squirrel brush better picks up the dye, as well as the brush after moistening has a pointed tip that helps to access narrower areas.
How thick must be the resist?
Draw the contour boldly and do not try to economize the resist; the paint will flow over a badly drawn line. I recommend using Marabu resist or self made resist. With time you will learn how thick the line must be. You should also let the resist dry before painting with dyes for at least 2-3 hours.
How to transfer the drawing correctly on the silk?
I have a lot of practice so I draw from memory, without sketches. But transferring is easy. Place the frame onto floor and place the drawing underneath, but so that the silk does not touch the paper. Transfer the drawing directly with Marabu resist instead of pencil. There is also a special pencil for silk painting; you can use that if necessary. Also do not forget to buy metal nibs for the resist – 3mm and 5 mm.
Silk after painting is rigid. What shall I do?
Areas after painting become inflexible and you cannot avoid that. However after painting, steaming and ironings you can take the fabric and rub it intensively in your hands – so the solid parts (remaining dye fixing elements) will be removed  and silk becomes soft again. Also the silk scarves become soft again after wearing. Dye and fabric are not damaged this way. It is also not advisable to repaint one area more than 3 times while dyeing. It is better to get the required dye intensity first time so that silk is not that stiff after painting.
How to make resist at home?
You can mix rubber glue with refined gasoline and little bit of paraffin in certain proportions (if you can stand the smell you can also use the regular gasoline that you fill you car with). This way you can make the required thickness fresh resist. The mixing proportion is 1:1 (gasoline and rubber glue). If resist is too thick dilute it with gasoline, if it is too fluid, you can add rubber glue. The substance will mix better if it is heated in a water bath but not reaching the boiling temperature. Always take all precautions as the substance is easily flammable. While heating the substance add chopped paraffin (approximately one tenth of the substance) – it will prevent the resist being sticky after drying. If you add a pigment to the resist you will make a desired shade of the resist, but you can also leave it transparent. As dye pigment you can use oil deprived oil paint or thick textile dyes (not all of the dyes available at store will fit the purpose, so try to mix them first in a small amount of the resist). Pour the self made resist into plastic bottle with a fine tip (approximately 0.5 mm opening). You should not use the substance earlier than after 24 hours after making. Please take into account that gasoline can evaporate also from a closed bottle. If this has happened, please add more gasoline again.


































































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