In a previous post, I shared some instructions on how to dye your own play silks and promised I would try my hand at painting them. Over the weekend, I used my new silk paints to do some different techniques on another set of scarves.
First, I prepared my work surface by laying out a large outdoor trash bag on my kitchen counter. I then placed my scarf on the bag to protect my work surface from any of the dye. I used old Crystal Light plastic container cups to hold my dye (Fig.1). (I find these cups are perfect for holding paint, glue, etc. while I work. When I am finished, I just toss the whole cup in the trash.) The dye is mixed with a small amount of water to make a very runny paint. I learned quickly that when you apply the paint to the scarf, it bleeds very quickly and very far! To get the hang of the method, I just tried lots of different techniques on one scarf. I used a paint brush, a sponge, salt, and a basic pour-and-squish method!
First, I decided to try the tip that I found on the paint packaging, for applying salt to the painted wet scarf. Basically, I applied different colors to the scarf until it was covered the way I liked. Then, I used Kosher salt to sprinkle over the top and allowed the scarf to dry. After the scarf dried, I removed the salt by washing and it left behind an interesting effect (Fig.2).
My favorite method to use with the paint was a tie-dye effect. Basically, I poured silk paint over the scarf and wadded it up, absorbing as much of the paint into the scarf as possible. Then, I would unfold it, add some more paint and then wad it up again. I did this over and over until the entire scarf was covered and I had the tie-dye effect I wanted (Fig.3).
After playing around with the paint for awhile, I was finally ready to try my hand at painting an actual scene. Since I am not a fantastic artist, I knew the image had to be quite abstract. I started with the idea of doing a rural farm scene. First, I made the lower half of the scarf look like grass by smudging around green paint (Fig.4). So far, so good! I did the same thing on the top half of the scarf except I used blue paint for the sky and dabbed on some white to make clouds (Fig.5). To finish the scene, I painted on a horse (Fig.6), a barn and a fence which actually turned out looking more like tree trunks, but I am okay with that. Hey, not every project turns out perfectly! The finished product ended up looking quite abstract but I think you can tell what it is (Fig.7). At least my daughter thinks it is pretty cool. I also learned some limitations of the medium as well as of my own skill.
I am definitely going to do this again. I want to make some green and red scarves for Christmas. I think it will be neat to sew a few glittery doo-dads along the edges to make the scarf look dazzling!
Have any of you tried to paint silk scarves? Any tips for Jo before I try it again?