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Welcome to the step-by-step instructions on how to paint on silk!

Before you get started you will need:

1 container with water to rinse your paintbrush

1 small container with water that will be used to dilute the paint for lighter colors

1 cotton rag or old sock or paper towels

Masking tape or scotch tape to affix your chosen template to the back of the stretched silk

Let's get started!

Initial Setup


Step 1: Set the water containers, paint, gutta, silk scrap, and mixing dish next to the frame by your dominant hand, the hand you will use for painting.

Step 2:  Select the template you want to use.  The kit includes 3 templates. Do you want something different? Download templates at or create your own!  

Step 3: with the silk side of the frame touching the table use tape to affix the chosen template to the back of the frame. (see image).

Turn the frame right side up. You are ready to apply the gutta.

Applying the Gutta 


Step 4:  Using the gutta bottle, trace the chosen template onto the silk keeping the following in mind:

a) The purpose of the gutta is to create fully enclosed shapes that are later painted. This is called the Serti method.

b) Make sure there are no gaps in the gutta lines, especially where lines start, end, and where lines meet.  This is very important to avoid paint bleeding into unintended areas. See the image for example.

c) Mind the side of your hand.  The gutta is wet when first applied, be careful not to smudge your freshly made lines

d) To get the gutta primed for use – point the tip of the bottle down and squeeze the bottle until the tip is full of gutta.  

e) To make solid lines – with the tip of the bottle as close to the silk as possible, but without touching the silk, squeeze the bottle with constant pressure and move your hard to make a line. 

f) Wait until the gutta lines are completely dry before starting the process of painting the silk.


Recommended learning step:  Test your skills by making lines on the rag, paper towel or silk swatch. This will give you a good idea on how hard you need to squeeze the bottle, the most comfortable angle of the bottle in your hand and the speed you must move your hand to make a solid, unbroken line. 


The image on the left has gaps. Fill the gaps like the image on the right.


Step 5: Remove the attached template from the back of the stretched silk. Make sure the frame is right side up on the table.  You are ready to start painting!

Painting the silk


Step 6: Start by selecting the first area you will paint and determine the appropriate color or colors needed. Use the color chart in the color chart page as a reference to help create the color desired.

Step 7: Load the brush with paint and touch the silk with the tip of the paintbrush keeping the following in mind:

a) The paint will spread in all directions once the brush touches the silk.  Avoid placing the loaded paintbrush on or touching the gutta line. The idea is to avoid the paint to overflow and go over the gutta line bleeding into adjacent areas.

b) The boundary where the wet paint meets the dry silk is called the edge of the paint and it tends to dry faster than the other painted areas. If the edge starts to dry it will leave marks in the silk.  Go to the video section for a video example!

c) After reloading the paintbrush with paint start painting by placing the tip of the paintbrush on the wet, painted side of the edge of the paint as seen on the image.

d) On smaller areas apply a light touch with the paintbrush to infuse less paint.

e) Make sure the entire area has been painted. This is especially true for areas where the gutta line has curves and nooks that may prevent the paint from flowing freely into them..


Yellow applied over red on left.  Yellow and red painted at the same time on right

Applying a Second color


Step 8: Apply second and subsequent colors to the area being painted. There are two ways of applying a second color: 

For full color and vibrancy, apply the second color to an unpainted area and encourage the color to mix with the first color by moving the second color with the paintbrush until it overlaps with the first.  The colors will mix when they touch each other, causing a new color to appear. Create a smooth transition by stroking the area with a paintbrush.

An alternative method is to paint the entire area with the first color. Apply the second color over the first color while still wet. The resulting color will be the mix of both colors.


Creating New Colors

To mix full, vivid colors:  Using the mixing paint dish provided, start with 2-3 drops of the first color and add a drop of the second color near the first color. The colors should not touch. With the tip of the paintbrush touch the second color and apply it to the first color. Repeat the process until you obtain the color desired. Keep these tips in mind when mixing colors:

a) Remember that a little color will go a long way ft changing the original color. 

b) For larger areas increase the number of drops for each color so enough color is created to cover the area being painted.

c) A swatch of silk was provided with your kit. Test your color on it before applying it to your painting

To mix lighter colors:  Use the same steps as above but use water instead of a second color.


Mixing colors can be a fascinating process. Don't be afraid to fail. The only way to succeed is to fail first. Go ahead and experiment. We have provided you with plenty of paint just for this purpose. 

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