Silk Dye Painting
Hellenne Vermillion
 305 River Valley Road NW, Sandy Springs GA 30328
404 531 5958
404 245 1501 (cell)

We will be using:

Jacquard brand RED LABEL acid dyes that need to be steam set for 3 hours wrapped in blank newsprint and placed in a steamer pot.
Dupont and Tinfix dyes are a better option, but costly and they need to be steamed for at least 3 hours.

Silk scarves and fabrics: habotai, crepe de chine, chiffon

Salts (kosher, ice cream, table)

Water based resist Resistad from in New Zealand. Email John Mitchell and pay through paypal. Medium Resistad 250ml. Approximately $38 with shipping.

Various liquids to dilute the dyes: water, alcohol 70% Isopropophyl, Dupont brand “Dilutant”

Corn syrup on crepe de chine silk or chiffon

Water soluble soy wax as resist

Synthrapol, industrial liquid soap

Brushes preferably those used for watercolors (inexpensive ones)

PVC pipes  for frames; Chinese hooks and rubber bands to secure scarves; gutta line dispenser bottles and tips

Or for small yardage pieces, stretcher bar frames for silk squares, push pinned onto the wood

what we will cover & more

Discovering various colors using only CYAN, MAGENTA, YELLOW, BLACK and water
Applying dye to silk to see how it flows
Using salts to create texture
Creating an abstract scarf with salt textures

Practicing using the water based Resistad resist
Creating a “Scribble Scarf” using resist and mixing as many colors as possible

Learning to trace designs onto silk using resist
Designing the piece to avoid large background areas
Creating a scarf with traced designs

Discovering soy wax used as a resist
Creating a soy wax resist habotai OR chiffon weave scarf

Playing with corn syrup on crepe de chine weave
Creating a scarf using corn syrup on crepe de chine
 Using discharge paste.
Using stencils and dye thickener.
Using Magic Sizing versus No Flow.
Adhering silk to canvas and more.
Framing silk.
Embellishing silk.

Never use dyeing utensils, tools, etc. for food!

Steaming pot with a DOMED LID

Something to set the “package” on preventing contact with the boiling water in the pot.

Electric burner plate or use your stove top

Blank newsprint available in roll ends from newspaper printing companies (Marietta Daily Journal, etc)

Aluminum foil

Masking tape

Wait at least 24 hours (preferably 7 days) before steaming your silk.

Steam minimum of 2 hours for one scarf even though the Red Label Jaquard says 45 minutes. For the Dupont and Tinfix dyes you must steam set for at least 3 hours. A pressure cooker will cut the time in half.

You can also unwrap after steaming, and re-wrap in another direction and steam again for 45 minutes if you feel the “package” is too tightly wrapped and the inner core isn't getting steamed enough.

After steaming, unwrap immediately (careful! It’s HOT!) and let set for at least 24 hours (or more) before washing and rinsing out excess dye.

After Steaming—Wash & Rinse
Never use dyeing utensils, tools, etc. for food!

Wait at least 24 hours (preferably more) before washing your silk.

Use a white plastic container (so you can see any dye in the water).

Drop a few drops of Synthrapol liquid soap into white plastic container full of warm water.

Wearing rubber gloves just for dyes, immerse your silk piece and agitate. Keep agitating, discard water, repeat over and over again changing to cold water.

The rinsing of excess dye is complete when the water runs clear.

Gently squeeze excess water out of silk and spread out flat on a clean towel.

Roll and towel dry. The silk will still be damp. Iron immediately using a dry iron to remove all wrinkles and dry the silk.

If you notice the water has excess dyes even after 10 washing/rinsings, the silk piece needs to be re-steamed to completely set the dyes.

Soy wax will 99% wash out, but dry cleaning will take it out 100%.

Supply List

Here is the supply list. Please keep in mind that may take up to a week for delivery.

Most supplies can be ordered from and some supplies can be found at Binder's Art Supply on Piedmont Road in Buckhead in the Kroger (limelight Kroger) shopping center. PVC plastic pipes can be purchased at places like Home Depot and Lowes.

At least a dozen 11"x60" silk habotai scarves from dharmatrading ( These will fit your PVC pipe frames (instructions below). Anything larger we don't have the space for in the studio.

If you do not wish to work with scarf blanks, please purchase 10mm habotai silk yardage any width ( Then decide what size pieces you would like to work with, such as 18"x18" and bring a frame for it. You can use wooden stretcher bars and push pins to secure your silk to the frame. If you are not sure, I have frame options you can try out in the first class.

Four dye colors. The Jacquard Red Label brand is economical,
however the Tinfix
and Dupont brands give a more intense color and also seem to steam fix better than the Jacquard brand. For learning purposes you may want to stay with the Jacquard Red Label due to the cost. Please do not get the Jacquard Green Label brand.

You need CYAN (primary blue), MAGENTA, YELLOW and BLACK which can be in a smaller amount than the others. These four dyes will create every color.

We have switched from solvent based gutta resist to a water based resist from John Mitchell at Procolour in New Zealand. Order Resistad ( from New Zealand. We will discuss Resistad in class). Resistad can be colored with dyes.

For metallic resist lines, Procolour also sells these. Do not buy black or metallic solvent based resists. Solvent based resist will have to be dry cleaned out and have harmful ingredients in it.

Dispenser bottles with tips. You can get one in each size #5, #7, and #9. Extra bottles will be useful, too.

Soy wax flakes, at least one bag.

Chinese Suspension Hooks 24 count pack if you are doing scarves. Push pins if you are doing just yardage pieces.

Rubber bands to go with the hooks. #33 from Staples or any office supply

Any kind of brushes, fat, thin, medium that is for watercolors. No need for expensive brushes. Acrylic and oil brushes do not work.

A white ice cube tray.

Rolls and rolls of paper towels.

Other supplies you may need will be discussed in class. These will be tools for the soy wax resist, the steaming process, etc.

For silk:

For dyes & other supplies:
Binders Art Supply on Piedmont Rd
Resistad water soluble resist from New Zealand

The Complete Book of Silk Painting Diane Tuckman & Jan Janas
Silk Painting: The Artist’s Guide to Gutta and Wax Resist Techniques” Susan Louise Moyer
Silk Painting: New Ideas and Textures Jill Kennedy & Jane Varrall

Silk Painters of Atlanta & Beyond (SPA)

Silk Dye Painters International (SPIN)

Yahoo group for silk dye painting discussions:
Go to and search for “Silk Painting.” Request to join.

Silk Painters International on Facebook:
SPIN (Silk Painters International)

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