Silk Painting

Silk Painting

Create colourful silk paintings inspired by textile designs. A workshop for all ages led by Amy Bainbridge of The Bowes Museum. Follow the links on this pages to find out more about The Bowes Museum Fashion and Textiles collection.

A lesson plan for teachers to help develop art and design skills.

Key Stage:

KS2&3 Art and Design


The six films show the key stages of a silk painting workshop which was delivered in one half day by Amy Bainbridge, Education and Learning Coordinator at The Bowes Museum with a group of Year 9&10 pupils. The groups designs were inspired by a temporary textile exhibition at the museum. You can download the lesson plan which includes an ideas sheet of textile patterns here.
The techniques demonstrated are suitable for most age groups. The Bowes Museum regularly deliver this workshop with groups as young as KS1. The materials used are a pure silk fabric (synthetic will probably not work), metallic maker pens and water based silk painting inks.


Prepare A4 sheets with circle drawn in the centre for your group. Show the group textile designs from any source. We have a sheet of copyright free designs included in the lesson plan to help you. You can download the lesson plan from the bottom of this page.
Stress to the students that the design should be bold.


Students tape their design to the table and stretch the silk over their designs.

Drawing on the silk

Using metallic markers pens the students transfer their designs to the silk. Go over the design twice to avoid gaps in the design

Prepare for painting

Pupils attach the silk to the top of a plant pot for painting using elastic bands.

Adding colour

Applying the paint to the silk. Remember to keep the brushes clean to avoid muddying the colours.

Finishing off

Pupils dry and iron their designs using a hair dryer and an iron on a cool setting. Ask pupils to share their results.

Development Activity:

Elsewhere on CultureStreet there is a page about sculptor and textile artist Fiona Campbell.
Fiona Campbell
Another lesson plan that would work well in conjunction with this activity is pattern making.
Pattern lesson plan

Learning Objectives:

Pupils should be taught to:
• to use a range of techniques to record their observations in sketchbooks, journals and other media as a basis for exploring their ideas
• to increase their proficiency in the handling of different materials
• to use a range of techniques and media, including painting.
Pupils will learn to develop ideas and one painting technique which involves the development of their painting control skills.

Research, Notes and Links:

Download this lesson plan