Essex Guild of Silk Painters
Essex Guild of Silk Painters

Useful information

We have some suggestions for the basic equipment members need to obtain for silk painting, and some useful suppliers where some of these can be purchased. 

Useful kit/equipment

We suggest the following items for beginner members: however for some meetings the Guild can provide materials and dyes so you do not need to buy all this before starting!

* a notebook/sketchbook for recording what you are doing, useful tips etc

* various size paintbrushes- start with a few artist ones from fine to large, but you may find later that household sizes and foam brushes are useful for large area work; they do not have to be top quality and look for ones being sold off cheap!

* small bottles of basic colours in iron-fix paints (cyan, yellow, magenta, and black will mix to make almost all colours. You may also like to have a good mid blue, bright green, red and purple, and a mid or light grey. There are many colours available beyond this!)

* small bottles of basic colours in steam-fix dye (as above)

* some small silk painting frames -from about 6"/15cm sqaure to 18"/45cm is good- you can buy collpasible/modular ones or use old painting frames or strip old printed canvas frames from the charity shop

* 3-pronged silk pins to attach the silk to the frame

* a couple of basic gutta colours- gold, silver and clear are useful (water-based) for drawing resist lines and decorating work

* rags and/or kitchen roll for wiping brushes and spills

* palettes for holding & mixing paint/dye- hard plastic ice-cube trays or egg trays work very well too and are cheaper!

* water pots (yoghurt pots or jam jars are good and lids are also good for mixing)

* masking tape to protect your frames from the dye, plus many other uses

* waterproof plastic sheet to protect the table- old shower curtain, DIY paint drip sheet,plastic tablecloths, large bin bags or charity bags all work well, or decorators plastic roll!

* plastic apron and rubber or thin PVC/latex gloves to protect you- and old clothes


More optional items for advanced work:

* some members keep a few bits of unpainted silk or ready made scarves to hand

* air/UV/washable sewing marker pens or pencils can be helpful to mark out designs

* tape measure or rulers can help, and sharp scissors

* folder for handouts given during lessons/meetings

* white vinegar, clingfilm and a micowaveable pot (rice steamers or solid-bottomed salad spinners work well) with lid are useful

* an old iron, and an electric (veg) steamer or hob-top steaming pot is useful for setting work at home

* old newspapers (more than 2 weeks old), large sheets of thin flexible paper or thin lining wallpaper, are vital for steaming, and wide foil

* hobby melting dish, electric wok or specialist wax melting pot for batik

* cheap hog bristle brushes or household paint brushes for applying wax

* tjantings and heat proof metal or wood stamps (tjaps) for fine lines and block wax patterns in batik, also block printing

* paraffin, beeswax or soywax for batik work

* string, pegs, textured plastics/bubblewrap, feathers for various techniques

* inspiration pictures, objects, books, postcards etc

* camera to record your work!



We use a number of shops and online suppliers to buy equipment and materials. These are just some of the ones we have found helpful. Please note- these are our thoughts not a guarantee, whilst we are not paid to advertise any of them and take no responsbility for what stock they wil have when you try them, and some only deal with large orders!

Rainbow Silks

Online and physical shop in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire selling silk fabric, ready made items, steam-fix dyes and iron-fix paints, equipment and many other craft items.



Online trade supplier of silk fabric and related items like dyes, only deals with large orders but you can apply for an account if doing sufficiently large orders/selling as an artisan. Does not sell dyes/paints only fabrics/items really.



Online seller of silk-painting related items, including frames and other equipment and a few other items. Usually cheapest for silk but relatively limited range- does not do steam-fix dye but dies have good choice of outlines normally.



Seller of good quality waxes (useful for batik!) in sensible quantities. Sells online here and via eBay.


The Silk Route

Online seller based in Surrey, specialising in silk fabrics including some more specialist ones and heavy weaves. Coloured and undyed fabrics, also helpful advice by email and sells samples and small amounts.


Geoff's Remnant Shop

Physical shop only, in Brentwood Essex- see their webpage for details. Open only 3 days a week (W, F, Sa & closed lunchtimes), but good prices and sells lightweight silk fabric plus lots of other useful fabrics, haberdashery and things for textile work and turning silk into useable items.


The Cheap Shop

A deceptive TARDIS /Aladdin's cave of a shop (worth a visit just for the experience!) in Tiptree, Essex, with lots of different hobby and craft items, sells fabrics and haberdashery including some silk. Not a silk-painting specialist but has some useful items. Also some online products/services here. 


Crafty Arts

General art store and online seller in Romford. Warehouse type store with catalogue and small shop at front. Sometimes has silk-painting supplies but more useful for general kit like brushes.


The Range

Our members use the Romford one quite a lot but it's a national chain too. A large store selling home goods and art/craft supplies amongst other things. Sometimes has useful items for silk painting, especially acrd stock; normally has general items like brushes etc. See their craft section here. Also sells online.


The Works

Another national chain with various outlets- sells remaindered books and art/craft supplies, not specialists in silk but often has useful items like cardmaking, ribbons, and cheap brushes etc. See here for their craft section and they also sell online.



National chain in quite a few towns. Not always the cheapest and rarely has silk-painting supplies, but does have other stuff and look out for things like brushes cheap in their sales. Has a 10% student discount. Sells online here.



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© Essex Guild of Silk Painters 2018