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Tutorial: Design A Silk Pillowcase with Silk Paints

This month, I taught three silk painting workshops for the members of Felicity House, a non-profit organization based in Manhattan whose mission is to provide a social community space for women with autism. It was a lot of fun and a huge success. I love how each participant came up with their own uniquely painted pillowcase based on the silk painting techniques I taught.

Silk Painting Pillowcase Workshop -


I offer private workshops for companies and nonprofits, so if your organization is interested in a personalized creative experience, check out the details on my Workshops and Events page and get in touch!

In the meantime, here’s an easy tutorial on how to hand paint on a silk pillow cover. 

Watch the video for an overview and read below for the detailed instructions.  



Tutorial: Design a Silk Pillowcase with Silk Paints


  • Silk Pillowcase
  • Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow paints
  • Jacquard Silk Salt
  • Pebeo Gold Outliner
  • 3-4 Paintbrushes (any craft, soft haired brush is fine)
  • Container for water
  • Freezer paper or wax paper to place in between the pillow
  • Iron

For this project, the silk pillowcase, Dye-Na-Flow paints, Jacquard Sea Salt and Pebeo Gold Outliner were ordered from Dharma Trading.


  1. Iron the pillowcase to remove the fold lines and wrinkles
  2. Cut freezer paper or wax paper to the pillowcase size so that you can place in between the front and back of the pillow (you will probably need 2 pieces)
  3. Gather a few images of hand painted silk pillows for inspiration (search on Google or Pinterest)
  4. Pick 3 silk paint colors
  5. Dampen an area of the pillowcase
  6. Apply the first paint color - tap lightly - the paint will quickly spread and you don’t need to add multiple layers of paint. Note:  Adding more water will lighten the color and less water will keep the paint color bold.  Do not oversaturate with water or paint.
  7. While the first painted section is still damp, sprinkle some silk salt. Do not touch the salt while it reacts with the paint and does its magic!
  8. Move on to the next section, dampen the area. Select a second paint color and repeat the painting process.
  9. Keep repeating the painting steps, alternating paint colors and adding salt until you have finished painting the pillowcase
  10. Let the pillow case dry.
  11. It is recommended that you wear gloves and remove the salt with your hands. Throw away the used salt (it cannot be reused). 
  12. Add the gold outliner as an embellishment and final touch to your painted pillowcase.  This is optional.
  13. Final step:  Heat set. Turn the pillowcase inside out and iron for a few minutes on the reverse side.

 How to Care For Your Hand Painted Pillowcase:

  • Hand wash in a mild detergent. DO NOT machine wash.
  • It is normal for the color to bleed upon the first few washes.
  • Hang to dry and iron to remove wrinkles
Hand painted silk pillowcase
Hand painted silk pillowcase tie dye style
Close up of hand painted pillowcase
Close up of hand painted pillowcase tie dye style


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