Silk painting workshop

Silk painting workshop

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. There is also a teachers page for this workshop with additional resources.

Key Stage:

National Curriculum KS2&3 Art and Design

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.


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 for your group. Show the group textile designs from any source. We have a sheet of copyright free designs to help you if you need it. They are included in the lesson plan for this activity. You can download the lesson plan here. Stress that the design should be bold.


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

Drawing on silk

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

Preparing 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:

Try our textile printing workshop and our interactive activity Textile printing workshop Stitch it up

Research, Notes and Links:

Download workshop notes here