Silk Painting: Make a Frame to Stretch Silk for Painting Tutorial page.
1. Figure out what size you need: Measure your silk piece and allow 1.5-2.5 inches space between the inside of the frame and the edge of your fabric.
For Example: if you are going to do a silk scarf that measures 11”x60” make sure your frame measures at least 14” x 63” on the INSIDE. The outside size will be 17” x 66” (if your wood is 1.5” x 3.75”).
2. Cut wooden pieces according to your calculations.
3. Glue corners and screw a 90 degree angle metal brace to keep the corners stable. That’s your frame.
4. Now add the staples or eye hooks. I use round staples that are meant for tacking cable. They don’t go in all the way leaving a loop that you are going to thread your elastic cord through. Measure so that they are evenly spaced and the same on each side. These loops should be directly across from each other so that the silk isn’t being stretched askew. We want to deep everything as evenly stretched along the grain of the silk as possible. Also, tack one staple on the outside of each end. This will anchor the elastic cord.
5. Make pin hooks. These will be the hooks that actually hook into your silk piece. Take a brass or stainless steel (so it won’t rust) and bend a round loop in the head end and another bend in the sharp end. See Photo:
6. Measure your cord so you have at least a couple of feet or so extra on the ends. Also make sure you buy cord that is skinny enough to slide through the eye hooks and the pin hooks easily. Thread your elastic cable through the staple loops. Attach a stop cord to the ends for your elastic cord. –Those plastic things that we use on our raincoats to keep the cord from slipping. You can get these at any fabric store or Walmart.
7. Add your pin hooks to the cord.
8. Now we are ready to stretch the silk. Some people say that it’s best to start in the middle and work outwards and I would recommend this method if you are doing a very detailed piece that may have some straight lines in it. However, if you are doing a more free form design then it’s fine to start with the four corners. Make sure your hooks are pointing down otherwise it might get a bit prickly!
9. Try to keep the silk from going askew and adjust the tension as needed so it’s not too tight or too loose. Too much tension will cause the silk to tear and too little will cause the silk to sag when wet and the dye will pool and may give unwanted results. Having the elastic cord really works for this purpose. The silk will expand and contract as it gets wet and dries again so the elasticity keeps the silk nice and taught at all times.
10. Have fun!