Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hand Painted Scarves

Painting on silk scarves is actually quite simple and rewarding. I originally did this project with a group of Kindergartners. When I introduced them to the project I suggested that they think in terms of simple shapes and to not worry if their colors bled into one another. I tried to follow my own advise when I painted the pictured scarf. Dharma Trading Company has a great site and reasonable prices for ordering white scarves. I used acrylic paint mixed with about 4 parts water so that it is slightly thicker than watercolor. Make sure that you have newspapers or a drop cloth underneath your scarf since the color will go right through. I initially planned on working in just blue and gold, but the gold had a rather drab look, so I added the reddish orange and pale green. When the scarf dries you can soak it in warm water and fabric softener. The finished product will be stiff if you do not sufficiently dilute the paint.


  1. I was thinking of doing this with a Girl Scout troop as a Mother's day gift. I had a couple questions. Was this silk or chiffon? What length and width? Did the dolors run at all?

  2. The scarf in the picture is 8x54 inches. When I did them with Kindergarteners I had ordered a 6x24 inch size. The smaller scarves were much easier for them to handle, but the size is too small to be really practical. They also shrink a little after washing. This the actual link that I used to order them: At the website they are described as chiffon, but the label reads "100% silk". The colors definitely run, but the children achieved some nice results when they used simple shapes like large polka dots or stripes. Good luck with it.

  3. Love this idea, just to make a few for myself!.. And maybe then some for Christmas! Thanks for sharing how, and have a great weekend!! ~tina

  4. Hi there! This is a great post, and I'm looking forward to trying it myself. Thanks so much for the tutorial. Have a great week!

  5. Thanks for the information on the scarf. I had another question, how did you set the paint. I'm concerned that it will run if it gets wet. I see that you rinsed the scarves, did you do anything else?

  6. I rinsed until the water ran clear and when they dried I ironed them. The heat should set the paint plus they will be wrinkled and need to be ironed anyway.

  7. What size silk scarves did you use for the children?

  8. sorry - tried to email through your website but link wasn't working!

    My name is Meg Smeal and I am a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity in Paterson, NJ.
    In the 19th century,Paterson, NJ, was considered the silk capitol of the United States. Unfortunately, as the textile industry left, there wasn’t enough to keep this historic manufacturing hub active, and much of the city fell into disrepair. Lots of groups are now working to bring the city back to vibrant life—and chief among these is Habitat for Humanity
    Our very active chapter (which has already constructed 300 homes) is celebrating it’s 30th anniversary in September 2015 at a gala in a restored textile mill in this “Silk City”! In conjunction with the benefit and to help raise the funds to continue our mission, we will be having a show and auction of hand painted silk scarves.

    My hope is to have at least 50 of these hand painted scarves done by silk artists from around the country. Paterson Habitat will provide the scarf blanks, a $5 stipend to help cover the cost of the inks, return postage for each of the pieces and also a tax donation receipt. We are asking for any of the members of your group who would like to offer their time and talent to paint one of these silk Haboitai scarves and return them by next May.

    In return for your generous participation, there will be a good deal of press coverage of this event and pre-gala exhibits both in Paterson and Ridgewood, NJ where you will be invited to advertise your work.
    Please contact me if you are interested so that I can get you started!
    Meg Smeal

  9. I have seen that other people have given their opinion about hand painted silk scarves positively.Hand painted silk scarves are hand painted and made with polyster and silk clothes. you have provided the information about hand painted silk scarves is helpful for me.

    Hand painted silk scarves