I recently posted an article about how to do silk painting on a shoe-string budget and not long after that a friend asked for some help on how cheap this whole thing can be.
Well, I had a look into this and came to the conclusion that you really can do it for very little money if you are prepared to just start with the absolute basics and not invest in lots of fancy equipment. Why spend a lot if you don’t really know if silk painting is going to be up your street. Wait until you are hooked (which will happen very quickly) and then think about spending on some of the more specialist products.
Okay, back to the silk painting supplies.
When you are starting out, I would recommend you buy the silk paints, not the dyes. The paints are fixed into the silk using your household iron whereas for the dyes you’ll need a steamer of some sort and it can be a bit trickier. There is one exception and that’s silkpainting with the microwave which I wrote about a few weeks ago.
Get yourself 3 small jars in red, blue and yellow so that you can mix whatever shades you need. If you’re in the USA the store to contact is Dharma Trading. And if you’re in Europe, try out Rainbow Silks. These will cost around $3.99 or £3.95 per jar.
The next item is a square blank silk scarf which you can tear up into 4 smaller pieces. If you buy a 90cm x 90cm one made of habotai or pongee 5mm, you might pay around $5.19 or £6.00, so each piece costs a quarter of that. This is the thinnest quality shops sell, but it’s perfect to get started with.You can get these at the stores I mentioned above.
Next you’ll need some pins or tacks which you’re bound to have lying around the house. And finally, instead of a frame, you can stretch the silk over the top of a cardboard box. There is a delightful little video by Yanghaiying which shows this silk painting technique.
Use any watercolour brushes you may have in the house and if you need to buy some, you can pick up a couple at very low cost from any hobby or craft store. Old mugs or empty jam jars are perfect as mixing pots or water jars.
And finally you might want a tube of water-based resist to draw some lines with, but it’s not essential. This will cost around $2.89 or £3.75.
So adding all of that up we come to a figure of around $12.00 or £22.00. That’s enough for four 45cm x 45cm pictures, which makes each one cost $3 or £5.50. Oddly enough the US prices are much lower than the UK ones,
I hope this price list helps. It is just an approximation so you’ll need to check things out for yourself. And if you have, how did your calculations go? I’d love to hear if you managed to kit yourself out for this or less.
Oh, and don’t forget to let me now if you got hooked after the first go.