How to Paint a Silk Scarf

Add a calla lily motif using fabric paints and dyes to create a stylish scarf.
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Materials and Tools:

14-by-72-inch silk chiffon scarf
fabric paints
silk dyes
squeeze bottles and metal tips
wood frame (to stretch silk)
hair conditioner
3-prong silk tacks
iron and ironing board
assorted natural-hair bristle brushes


1. Wash the scarf by hand in cold water to remove any gums or impurities that could interfere with the dyes. Wash with synthrapol and allow the silk to air-dry.

2. Stretch the dry silk on a wooden frame (made a little bigger than the silk) and pin it to the frame with three-prong silk tacks.

3. Fill empty squeeze bottles with fabric paint for each desired color. Attach a small metal tip to each bottle to draw fine lines.

4. Draw the calla lily motif directly onto the silk with white fabric paint .

5. Draw leaves onto the silk with green metallic fabric paint. Let the silk dry completely.

6. Mix the dye colors according to the manufacturer's directions.

7. Test the colors on paper first. The effect on paper is almost identical to the effect on silk.

8. Brush a little water around the stamen of each flower to attain a watercolor effect. The fabric paint will act like a resist on the silk, keeping colors confined within the areas that were drawn with fabric paint.

9. Paint a claret-colored dye on areas that were brushed on with water and allow the dye to bleed into those areas.

10. Paint the calla lily stamen with a bright orange dye, remaining within the lines that have been drawn as much as possible.

11. Paint the leaves in a similar fashion with a deep green dye, using the water to create a lighter area in the middle of each leaf.

12. Paint the background a deep violet dye. With a bigger brush, use the dye full strength in some areas and water it down in others. This creates the wonderful variations.

13. Let the silk dry completely. Set the dyes by ironing the silk.

14. Hand-wash the silk in cold water, using hair conditioner to soften the silk.

15. Hang the silk to dry, and then press again.

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