At the 2007 NAEA Conference in New York, representatives from Sax and Crayola gave a presentation on using Crayola Fabric Markers on silk scarves. They gave us each half of a silk scarf which they had ironed onto freezer paper, and a pack of Crayola Fabric Markers. We were able to take them back to our rooms to “play” and experiment with. The following is what I discovered.
Traditional silk painting, as I learned the process, involves stretching the silk on a frame, using a resist to outline a design (if desired) painting on the dyes, and then, when dry, steaming the fabric to set the dyes. A little background…
Traditional Silk Painting Steps
My least favorite thing about silk painting has been stretching and pinning the silk to a frame … it is painful pushing in the pins! So I was thrilled to hear about the use of freezer paper … And it works for traditional silk painting as well! Freezer paper is easily found in the grocery store. Pull out the amount needed and iron the silk onto the shiny side of the paper. So much easier! …..
This is what the box of markers looks like and how the colors appear on the silk.
Notice the top where the silk does not attach to the freezer paper. It is much harder to draw on the flimsy silk and it tends to bleed more where it is not ironed on to the paper.
This is the sample (half scarf) I created in my hotel room in NYC. OBVIOUSLY it is not meant to be a finished design but I had a great time experimenting to see how the colors worked together and how well they blended.
In this section I started out blending analogous colors together and using a brush with water to blend them together. The water only works as soon as the color is applied. I also found that salt can be used as in watercolor and silk painting to create texture. Notice how fine the lines are. When the markers are used on unpainted silk, they bleed more than when drawn over already painted or drawn on fabric.
In this design, colors were laid down and then blended with water. After it dried and was ironed, black lines and color shading were added. Notice how the lines bleed more on the white silk than on the already colored areas.
The yellow was blended over the light blue and green in the center but the background was dry when the outward strokes were made. The squiggled lines are clean and fine over the already colored areas, but bleed on the white silk.
The light blue lines were still damp when the darker blue lines were drawn across them on the botttom three. See how they bleed more. The top five lines were drawn when the light blue ones had dried. Two were drawn slowly (thicker) and four were drawn quickly (less bleeding).
Yellow, orange, and red lines were drawn next to each other while still damp enough to bleed (blend). After it dried, water was applied along the top to see if it would blend more, but nothing happened. The black line at the top was drawn while the silk was still damp from the effort to blend the colors. Notice how the other 2 lines bleed only where they are on the white silk.
Notice how the colors tend to bleed up to, but stop at the edge of a dried color.
The gray seen in the tree bark is actually black marker applied to bare silk which bled and faded. The yellow was applied to provide a background for the blending of oranges. The detailed lines of the branches and leaf shapes did not bleed because they were applied over the set color laid down first.
Because the markers bleed less on fabric with color already applied, you might want to invest in some primary colors of dyes and let students do abstract designs. Use salt to create interesting textures.
Notice how lines and dots added after the silk paint is dried and set bleed ONLY on the unpainted areas of silk.
Consider adding silk dyes to marker designs - Here the flowers are drawn with marker and the green and blue are painted in with silk dyes. Salt is used for texture. Notice how the markers, once set, act as a resist. This is not fool proof - if the dyes are too wet they may flow across the line of marker. (See upper left corner.)
Project Ideas : Cut scarves into halves or thirds to make: wall hangingspillows framed artornaments lamp shadesappliques
Lamp Shades: Since the pattern for the shade is too wide for the silk scarf, the pattern was folded into fourths and the angled shapes traced onto the silk alternating up and down to make best use of the fabric.
Shells were drawn in the angled sections which will then be cut out and adhered to the lamp shade.
Sections have been collaged onto an existing paper shade. Ribbon will be added to cover the seams between each section of the design and edges of the shade.
I keep a collection of various images, some on acetate, tracing paper, etc. for easy transfer with a light table.
Adding background to shell designs: Squiggly lines were drawn a few at a time then immediately diffused with water. Dark blue and green were added over the light blue.
The finished lamp: Ribbon was added to the shade to cover the seams between the design sections.
Silk designs can be Mod Podged onto glass, clear vinyl, or tyvek. Silk can be cut into shapes and adhered to glass or added to a collage. Glass is an ideal surface to display silk images due to their translucent qualities… Glass candleholders Glass plates Glass fish bowls
My first inspiration to use silk on glass came from this plate designed by Leslie Messersmith. Light coming through the translucent colors has the look of stained glass.
Ornaments for a “Sea” Theme Christmas tree Silk has been adhered to thick plastic and cut out to fit each shape. The shell at left is attached to a glass ornament. Light shines through the translucent images when hung in front of lights on the tree. *Traditional silk painting, NOT markers
As a general rule, silk scarves should always be washed to remove sizing before painting. Some items like these silk fans cannot be washed, so they still contain sizing. Freezer paper is not needed. Color lines do not bleed, but blending colors with water is not an option on this surface.