At four years old, Christine Musser knew she wanted to be an artist, just like her father and grandfather. Christine has her hands full with a 3-1/2-year-old and a 6-month-old baby in Redmond, Wash. She often wakes in the middle of the nightshe creates some of her best work between 1 am and 4 am! She is inspired by mediums that allow her to create one-of-a-kind, wearable art, like this hand painted silk scarf.
silk scarf blank
acrylic-based heat-set paints
resist application bottle
2 elastic bands
sheet of Plexiglas
iron-on transfer pencil
iron and ironing board
illustrations to trace
spray bottle filled with water
1. Place copies of selected illustrations over a light box and trace the drawings on the back side of white paper with an iron-on transfer pencil (figure A).
2. Trim the illustrations for easier placement of the designs on the scarf. Be careful not to cut out the outline created with the iron-on transfer pencil. Put aside.
3. Place the plain white silk scarf on top of a sheet of Plexiglas. Moisten the scarf with a water-filled spray bottle. Starting from the top, apply a small amount of acrylic-based heat-set paint using a media brush. Dilute the paint with water. Apply loose gestured brush strokes to the silk and scrunch up the scarf as you hand paint (figure B). Let the silk scarf dry thoroughly on the Plexiglas (figure C). Do not move it while drying.
4. Preheat iron on high (6 or 7). Lay the scarf down on the ironing board. Place one of the traced illustration transfers, pencil side down, on the silk and place a sheet of plain white paper on top of the illustration to protect the silk from direct contact with the hot iron. Apply heat from the iron (figure D). Continue until the desired design is achieved. This will do two things: transfer the drawings onto the silk and set the paint so it is permanent.
5. Stretch the silk on the wooden stretcher bar frame using suspension hooks (figure E).
6. Apply gutta to the outlines of the illustrations using even pressure (figure F). Let dry.
7. Paint onto the silk with steam-set silk dyes and fabric painting brushes. Tip: Spread the dyes into some of the smaller or tighter areas of the gutta line work with a variety of brushes. The dyes are painted in the center of the fish or shape and allowed to spread out to the line (figure G). The dyes may need to be scrubbed in a bit with the brush over the areas that have the heat-set paints. Let the silk dry on the frame.
8. Put water in steamer. Set on high. Cover with a towel.
9. Roll up the scarf between two sheets of craft paper (figure H). Secure with a rubber band on either end of the rolled up scarf.
10. Put the hand painted scarf into the steamer and steam for one hour.
11. Remove the hand painted marine life scarf from the steamer and unwrap (figure I). Wash in mild detergent (or shampoo) and rinse well. Follow up with liquid fabric softener. Rinse until water runs clear. Blot dry on a towel until just slightly damp. Speed up drying with a hair dryer.
12. Iron on low setting and your hand painted scarf is ready to wear.