Hand Painted Silk Tie

We thought that some of you may like to paint a silk tie and give it as a special present for Christmas.

My sons and I painted a silk tie for their father many years ago and we got tremendous pleasure from making him wear it! That was a decade ago and he still has it tucked away at the back of his wardrobe.

Painted Silk Tie

Silk tie with gutta outliner

This latest attempt at painting a silk tie didn’t go a great deal better but I don’t want to put you off. Learn from my mistakes, and you will be able to create something truly unique to wear yourself, or to wrap up as a gift for any special occasion.


I started by drawing a brick pattern on the tie above with a clear gutta outliner. I wanted to create a batik effect so was not too careful with the outlines. The gutta outliner creates a barrier for the paint and stops the colours from running into each other.
When the outliner had dried, I decided to use a dropper to fill the rectangles with Deka Silk paint. This was the first error! I discovered that the drops of wet paint make the interfacing shrink away from the silk. The second error was to drop additional colours onto the painted rectangles. The interfacing blotted up the new colour before it was able to spread and merge with the original colour. This technique would have been very effective had I been painting a scarf.

The muddy mess of colour is apparent in the photo above but much muted as I decided to try and save the tie by painting the whole of it with a dark blue silk paint. I quite like the overall effect but when it came to set the colours with an iron, the damaged interfacing would not iron flat.

Simpler Painted Silk Tie

Silk tie – second attempt

A second attempt

To rectify my mistakes with the first tie, I decided to paint a second. I used a dark blue gutta outliner to draw out my design. When it was dry, painted the back of the tie first. I used a Toray brush (size 16), which I was careful not to overload with paint. I worked quickly making sure that the paint did not pool in any particular area. You have to be very careful not to let the paint bleed from the back of the tie through to the front of the tie. When the paint was dry, I turned the tie over and painted the front.

I chose a yellow and blue silk paint for the rectangles, taking care again not to flood the fabric.

The finished tie may not be to everyone’s taste but does demonstrate how a silk tie can be painted. The choice of iron fix silk paints and gutta outliners from the George Weil website include Javana, Deka Silk, Pebeo Setasilk, and Jacquard Dye-na-flow, and each brand offers a good choice of colours.

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