Click to Print

Silk Scarf Resist Painting

Christine Young demonstrates her silk-scarf resist-painting technique.

Creative spirit Christine Young is immersed in art full time and one her latest creations is her silk scarf resist paintings.

Materials and Tools:

plywood or foam core baseboard
silk scarf
adhesive-backed paper tape
container of water
watercolor paper or illustration board
liquid watercolors
colored pencils
craft knife
spray bottles
squeeze bottles
mat board and mat cutter

Steps 1-3


1. Find a cool scarf, perhaps an old one in the closet or check out local dollar and thrift stores for scarves. Lacy, fringy, silky scarves work best for resist painting.

2. Prepare the watercolor paper or illustration board by taping it to the back of a piece of plywood or foam core using adhesive-backed paper tape.

3. Wet the paper using a sponge and water. Cover the paper with water. Let it dry.

Step 4

4. Lay the scarf on top of the prepared paper and position it in different ways to create an interesting composition.

Step 5

5. Spray the scarf with water. The scarf will adhere to the paper and create an abstract pattern.

Steps 6-7

6. Put chosen colored inks and/or liquid watercolors into squeeze bottles and spray bottles using 50 percent water. Consider the final design before applying colors to the painting.

  • Apply light colors first then dark colors.
  • Adding a light color into an area that feels too dark can sometimes be more interesting than diluting darks with clear water.

7. Begin spraying and dripping colors onto the paper and scarf. Add clear water to dilute and mix colors as you paint.

Step 8

8. Let the colors spread along the fabric and fringe. The scarves are great carriers for the inks and liquid watercolors, but this technique takes patience.

  • Tip the backing board to create a flow in a particular direction, or let the paints flow freely.
  • Check on the design every 15 minutes or so.
  • During the evaporation process some of the paint will flow to the edge and fringe area creating special effects.
  • Some colors will mingle and create new shades. Others will separate into individual colors — even side by side.
  • The silk resist patterns may change dramatically with time.

Step 9

9. Pull the scarf off when the paper is slightly damp, somewhere between one and three hours after the color has been applied.

Steps 10-11

10. Use paintbrushes and sponges to add or take away color and design. Examine the piece and decide on the desired look for the resist painting. The following questions may be of some help:

  • Is there an image to build on?
  • Is there too much white?
  • Is an area too dark?
  • What do you want to change?
  • What do you want to keep?

11. Let the resist painting totally dry. Remove it from the wood backing by cutting through the paper tape around the edges of the paper. Some tape will remain on the piece.

Steps 12-13

12. Add lines or fill in with colored pencils to add depth or form to the painting.

13. Make a double white mat and tape the resist painting to the mat. Note: Complicated or heavy matting and framing is not recommended for the silk scarf resist painting.

Advertisement will not be printed