How to Paint on Organza

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Painting on organza can be a very rewarding project for both the skilled and the novice artists. Creating lovely, abstract designs on silk organza is really very simple, largely due to the way that the paint and the fabric react to each other. But that is not to say that more realistic works cannot also be accomplished by painting on organza. Since organza has a nice, open weave, the paint will be nicely absorbed by the fabric. This project will create a finished piece that measures roughly 24 inches by 30 inches.

Things You'll Need

  • 29-inch-by-35-inch piece of white silk organza
  • 1/4 cup laundry detergent
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • 24-inch-by-30-inch wood picture frame
  • Masking tape
  • Pencil
  • Acrylic craft paint in desired colors
  • Artist paintbrushes of various sizes
  • Spray misting bottle
  • Water
  • 1/2 cup sea salt
  • Protective cloth that is large enough to cover an ironing board
  • Pressing cloth
  • Hand wash the fabric using ordinary detergent and hang to drip dry. This will remove any sizing in the fabric that can prevent the paint from adhering properly.

  • Press the fabric using an iron on a low setting so that you are starting with a smooth, wrinkle-free painting surface.

  • Attach the washed and ironed organza to the picture frame by pulling overlapping fabric behind the frame and securing with masking tape. The easiest way to do this is to lay the fabric down on a flat surface and center the picture frame, face down, on top of the fabric. You should have roughly a 2-inch overlap of fabric all the way around. Attach the fabric to the back of the frame with the masking tape. You may need to trim away some of the excess fabric before applying the tape. The silk should be stretched taught, but not pulled drum tight, as this can lead to tearing.

  • Draw your design directly onto the silk with a pencil. Use light, faint marks rather than bold, heavy lines. This will ensure that the lines of your original drawing will fade and disappear as the paint is applied.

  • Beginning in the center of the fabric, dip your paintbrush into the paint and apply the paint to the fabric. Use the paint sparingly for better control. The overall effect of painting on organza is a free-flowing mingling of colors. The thinner the paint, the more it will travel when it come in contact with the organza. Acrylic craft paints can be thinned with water, if desired. Don't worry if the paint seems to have a life of its own; this is all part of painting on organza.

  • Try some special effects as you paint. Put paint into a spray container and mist the organza with color. Or, you could sprinkle a few grains of sea salt onto the painted organza while the paint is still wet. The salt will react with the paint and create some very interesting effects. Brush the salt crystals away after the painting has dried.

  • Allow the painting to remain undisturbed until it is fully dry.

  • Remove the painting from the wooden frame by carefully lifting the masking tape.

  • Heat set the painting after 24 hours. Place the painting face down on a protective cloth that has been placed on top of the ironing board. Keep a pressing cloth between the painting and the iron. With the iron on a low setting, press each area of the painting for about 2 minutes.

Tips & Warnings

  • To achieve a freer flow of colors, wet the fabric before applying the paint.
  • When heat setting, do not place the iron directly on top of the silk since this may result in scorching or discoloration of the finished painting.

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