How to Paint a Silk Scarf Using Soya Wax

I’ve been having quite a bit of fun recently exploring soya wax again. Last week I painted a pink scarf with lotus motifs on it, using two layers of dye and soya. In the meantime it has been steamed but I haven’t had the opportunity to photograph it by daylight and catch the right shade of pink. So watch out for that appearing in the next day or so.

Silk scarf with underlayer of light turquoise and soya wax patterns on top

Yesterday and today I’ve been working on a square silk crepe de chine scarf which has a beautiful feel to it. The first layer was an interplay of 2 shades of lighter turquoise with white patches shimmering through.

Last night I painted a feathery wax design on top and then a second layer of dye on top of that, taking care not to get any dye on the wax itself.

Top Tip: If you let any droplets of dye dry on the wax on your silk artwork, it will get ironed into the fabric when you remove the wax. So to avoid this, I recommend taking care and carefully painting the dye onto the silk inbetween the wax areas. If you do spill some dye onto the wax, just carefully dab it off using a cotton swab.

The silk scarf with the second layer of dye painted on carefully

With designs which don’t need clear lines, you can go ahead and paint a wash of dye over the complete silk and over all the waxed areas. The dye which dries on the wax will add to the interesting design when you come to the ironing phase.

When my scarf was completely dry again, I laid it on the ironing board between sheets of kitchen crepe and ironed out the wax. Soya is a really easy one to remove from fabric which means you don’t need to dryclean your work. I normally use newspaper but felt this time that I wanted to go for a bit more absorbancy and so opted for the crepe. You can see me here hard at work.

This is me ironing out the soya wax between layers of kitchen crepe

Right now my scarf is rolled up and hanging in the steam bath to fix the dyes in the fabric. Some of the wax remnants will come out onto the steaming paper in this time. After 3 hours I’ll be taking it out, unrolling it and giving it a gentle but thorough wash to remove all the final remains of wax in the silk.

And then we’ll be good to go.

One thing I did want to mention was how to apply the wax to the silk. I use a fairly firm brush, one I would use with acrylics. I keep working fairly swiftly, applying the wax and when I am finished, I go straight to the kitchen and wash the brush with washing up liquid under hot running water. that gets all the wax out of the bristles easily. Never leave a brush lying around that you’ve used with wax as it sets hard and you can then throw the brush away.

I’m planning to do a video showing the wax technique close up for those of you who’d like to try it and haven’t ventured into this arena yet, so watch out for that soon.

And I’ll be back with a picture of my completed scarf as soon as I’ve washed it.

If you’d like to commission me to paint a silk scarf for you, please contact me at and we can discuss how you’d like your scarf to look.

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4 Responses to How to Paint a Silk Scarf Using Soya Wax

  1. Judy Szabo says:

    This is great Fiona, it is a pity soy wax is not available in Hungary or at Smend and Meru.
    And lovely colour combination!

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Thanks Judy. Yes, the soya wax is fabulous. Did you follow that link I sent you to the company I bought it from? It was the best price I could find and a great service. It goes such a long way as you only need a small quantity of pellets each time.

      Glad you like the colour. I really love it too and the mottled lighter shades show through beautifully to the darker top layer. Great fun to do. xx

  2. Monica says:

    Recently I started to experience new mediums. I think I’ll try Soya wax. That will be exciting.Thanks.

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