Mandalas, Himalayan Rock Salt and Soya Wax

Mmm….so what do the above have in common? The easy answer to that is that they all feature in my latest silk painting. And this blog post shares with you how I put it all together.

Getting ready to apply the soya wax to the silk painting

This time I created an undercoat by painting a spiral pattern on my silk satin using various tones of fuchsia, orange and pink and while the dyes were still wet I sprinkled a liberal helping of Himalayan rock salt onto my painting.

I removed the salt crystals before the silk had dried to control the amount of movement that was created in the design as this type of salt is very active, to say the least, and if left to its own devices, can wipe large areas clean if you use quite big chunks.

So the next day, when everything was nice and dry, I began to create a soya wax mandala pattern on top of the dyed silk.

Silk painting with soya wax pattern

I use small pellets as they melt very easily. You can buy them very reasonably in the UK from a very friendly and helpful company called Fullmoons-Cauldron. I just warm them in a pan and then put them in a bowl of water over a small stove with candlelights next to my silk frame. I find that this keeps the wax hot enough to work well with.

I drew a few circles with a magic fabric pen and then just started to paint the wax on freehand, enjoying the spontaneity of it all.

Again, I left the wax to dry over night, although you can just as easily begin to apply dyes or paint a short while after applying the wax.

Silk painting with soya wax and second dye layer

My next step was to mix some purple and fuchsia and then paint this on all the areas I hadn’t put wax on. Now if you want a rough look, you can take a big brush and paint all over the pattern. But….you then have to take care to wipe off all the dye droplets on the wax as these will mark your silk when you use the iron to remove the wax.

So….I take the perfectionist path and paint each individual area carefully without touching the wax. I like it that way and find I get better results (or let us say, different results).

Next day I put up the ironing board and lay out some kitchen crepe. I unpin the silk from the frame and lay it on top of the crepe, with another piece on top of that and begin to iron out the wax.

Completed silk painting with soya wax

I repeat until I have covered the whole painting. There are many possibilities here. You can steam without removing any of the wax. You can iron out some of it and then steam. During steaming the rest comes out onto the paper. And then after fixing, you can wash out the remains with a mild detergent.

This painting is now in the steamer and I am eagerly awaiting its arrival! It’s always so exciting to see the finished silk artwork in its final stage, all shimmery and glistening. I love that.

You can see more of my artwork on my art website at Please contact me if you would like to commission a piece of original artwork. I’d love to inspire you.

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16 Responses to Mandalas, Himalayan Rock Salt and Soya Wax

  1. Magdy says:

    hi, very nice painting , but i have an opinion that if you want to make random design ,
    leave it as a random effect , if you want to make geometrical design then you have avoid any random effect, so i consider the first is more beautiful thx.
    Artist batik and designer
    Kind regards.

  2. Very nice! I learned about silk painting too in the process. Great example for me, Fiona! That is quite meticulous too! How long does it take from start to finish?

    Julieanne Case
    Always from the heart!

    Reconnecting you to your Original Blueprint, Your Essence, Your Joy| Healing you from the Inside Out |Reconnective Healing | The Reconnection| Reconnective Art |

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Hi Julieanne, thanks a lot. Glad it’s useful for you to look at this. Yes, the process is meticulous. It’s always difficult to say how long it takes. Maybe about 9 or 10 hours not including steaming but I’m not sure as I do each stage and then leave it to sit and dry, sometimes overnight. Afterwards the rolling up and steaming is another 3 – 4 hours. It gets washed out and ironed again after that to remove residue dye and final remains of soya wax. This is relatively small, about 65cm x 65cm. Because of the overnight stints inbetween, this piece couldn’t be done in under 6 days if I were pushing on to complete it. Dying, salting, overnight – remove salt, waxing, overnight – painting 2nd layer, overnight – ironing out wax, 3hours steaming, overnight – wash out, iron and further process – backing, sewing, etc depending on what you do with it.

  3. Mary Ann Holley says:

    I can’t wait to see this new Mandala after it’s steamed. Thank you for sharing your work and techniques. As a self taught newbie to silk painting you have really inspired me to go outside the box and experiment. I am also a Metaphysical teacher in the U.S. and it is so nice to be in touch with someone else who views art and life the way I do. Thank you for your insights!

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing Mary Ann. And lovely to connect with another like-minded soul. I’m glad you feel inspired to go off and experiment. It can really be fun. And thank you too for following me on my Facebook page. Blessings to you.

  4. Lisa N Valero says:

    This is beautiful Fiona! I can’t wait to see the steamed piece. It’s amazing to me how beautifully you’ve expressed the new flow, inspiration and freedom of your life now! A fabulous expression of spontaneity!! 🙂
    I’m also delighting in the heightened joy that comes through all your writing – it’s just wonderful and has me smiling at everything you share with us!!
    Thank you for a beautiful piece and for sharing the process ♥

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      I’m so touched and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your lovely comments. I feel honoured to have you with me on my journey Lisa and gladly share what I am experiencing with you and everyone else who tunes in.

  5. Kety says:

    Thanks Fiona for sharing the process that created this beautiful piece. Very vibrant and interesting pattern. How big is this piece and what will you use it for? You are indeed an inspiration to many who would like to take up the challenge of creating a mandala (me being one, as already informed you).

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      You’re so welcome Kety. This piece is approx 75cm x 75cm (30″ x 30″) and I will be stretching it onto a canvas frame and hanging as a picture. I’m so happy to have inspired you and hope you create some mandalas of your own. Thanks for your comments. I appreciate it. 🙂

  6. So LOVED this! How incredibly beautiful.

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Aw thanks a lot Bill. Glad you love it. I just get excited and feel inspired and then just have to start doing…. 🙂

  7. alka says:

    Thanks for sharing the technique . It is awesome.

  8. Don Baker says:

    Very nice painting, and thanks for sharing your techniques.


    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Thanks Don. This is a bit of a new look for me as you know, so it’s nice to talk about how it all comes together. 🙂

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