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Silk Painting - Starter Kit Directions
Step 1: Making a stretching frame
We sell an adjustable silk stretching system but there are also other options for stretching silk. Canvas stretcher bars work very well. They are sold at most art supply stores in different lengths, in pairs. Make sure that the inside measurements of the bars, assembled, are at least 2-3 inches larger (on each side) than the silk scarf. For small pieces, you could use a picture frame as a stretcher, or you could build your own frame with wood. You could also cut out a frame from a cardboard box, again, 2-3 inches larger than your silk (on each side).
Step 2: Preparing your silk
Pre-wash your silk in the sink or a bucket with a gentle soap (a drop of dish detergent would be fine). Rinse, dry and when still slightly damp, press with an iron, set to the silk setting. With a pencil, lightly draw your design onto the silk. The resist technique (known as the Serti Technique) lends itself well to designs with enclosed areas where the color will be contained within the resist lines.
Step 3: Stretching your silk
Attach small safety pins connected to rubber bands to the edges of the silk, every 4 — 6 inches; the rubber band then goes around a push pin which pins into your frame. This creates a suspended "trampoline" effect. The goal here is to create just the right amount of tension so that the silk remains taut while you are painting. Your piece will have a tendency to sag a bit once it becomes wet with paint; the rubber bands should be a short enough length to maintain the tension as the silk begins to sag but long enough so that the silk is not stretched to the point of tearing. If need be, you can link rubber bands together for extended lengths. The frame needs to be suspended a few inches above your table; this can be done by placing an upside down plastic cup or container underneath each corner of your frame.
Step 4: Applying your resist
Pour some of your clear resist into the applicator bottle (the top part snaps out and then back in again–be sure it snaps completely back in). Screw on the metal tip to the applicator. Using even pressure and a steady hand and holding the applicator bottle vertically with the tip touching the silk, draw on your resist lines. Be sure that there are no breaks or gaps in the line (or paint will escape!). Let the resist dry (you can speed up the drying time with a blow dryer or Heat Gun).
Step 5: Applying your color!
Now you are ready to paint. Enclosed in your kit are Dye-na-Flow primary colors. You can use these colors just as they are or mix them to achieve other colors (red + yellow = orange, red + blue = purple, blue + yellow = green). To achieve pastel shades, thin your colors with water.
Dip your brush into the color and apply the paint sparingly to the center of an outlined area by touching the brush to the silk; let the paint move to the resist line — do not apply the paint too close to the resist (if it becomes too saturated the resist line may begin to dissolve!) If there is a gap in your resist line that you didn’t notice and the paint starts escaping, you can stop the movement by drying it quickly with a hair dryer. When painting large areas (e.g., background), work quickly, applying wet to wet to avoid unwanted separation lines.
Also included in your kit is a jar of silk salt. Interesting textured effects can be achieved by sprinkling on the dry salt onto the wet painted silk. Let dry completely before brushing off the salt. Try it!
Allow to dry 24 hours before heat-setting the paints with an iron, 2-3 minutes on each area of your piece, face down on your ironing board with a press cloth between the silk and your iron. You may also want a protective cloth on the ironing board as well.
Step 6: Rinsing out the resist
Rinse out the resist lines in warm water. Hang to dry, then iron lightly while still slightly damp. Voila!
If you would like to learn more about silk painting, we have great books on the subject and lots more colors of paints, dyes, resists, as well as beautiful blank silk pieces waiting to be painted.

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