Marbled Silk Scarf

Transfer paint onto white silk scarves to create an attractive marbled silk scarf.


Project by Teresa Hays from Franklin, Tenn.

Teresa Hays was an art teacher before she decided to pursue her interest in marbling and the exploration of color. Once she learned to manipulate paint on a water surface and then transfer it to silk scarves and other clothing, she was hooked. Hays loves how each scarf is like a snowflake; no two are exactly alike. Watch as Hays creates a one-of-a-kind stylish scarf.


water bath thickened with methylcellulose
acrylic paints
wooden raking tool
plain white silk scarves




1. Wash and dry a white silk scarf with professional textile detergent.

2. Press the white silk scarf.

3. Soak the scarf in mordant (alum powder dissolved in water) to formulate the correct ph so that the paint will adhere to the scarf.

4. Add dry methylcellulose powder to water, 12 to 24 hours in advance, to make a thickened water mixture (size). This allows the paint to float on top of the mixture.



5. Prepare acrylic paints (in colors of choice) to float on the water surface.

6. Pour the thickened water base (size) into a watertight wooden box. Note: Use the dimensions of the scarf to determine the wooden box size.

7. Select paint colors for the scarf and arrange as desired.



8. Drag the skimming board across the surface of the water to create magnetic friction (surface tension) on the surface of the water. This surface tension enables the paint to float in the water.



9. Beginning with black paint, drop colors one by one on the surface of the water.



10. When all colors are on the water surface, manipulate the paint into a patterned design.

11. Lay the scarf on the paints on top of the water. The paints, which can't stick to the water, will lift off of the water and onto the silk scarf.



12. Rinse the scarf under cold running water to remove any excess size and paint.

13. Hang the scarf to dry.

14. Iron the scarf for a second time.

15. Repeat steps three through thirteen.

16. Iron the scarf for the third time.

17. Allow the scarf to rest for two to seven days.

18. Wash the scarf twice in hot water with a professional textile detergent and softener.

19. Iron the scarf for the fourth and last time. Finished!!!!

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