Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Sharpie Paint Pen Wins!: Adding silver lettering to the grey silk scarves.

I've been working on a commission for MIT recently. They ordered a batch of hand painted silk scarves to use as dean's gifts. Most of the scarves are to be in this grey and black color scheme, which I have down pat. (The 13th scarf is currently drying on the stretcher frame.)

However, they also asked if I could add their name in a metallic silver lettering. I said yes, of course I could...and since then I've been figuring out how to do it. They sent me an assortment of stamps to use. The trick has been finding the right ink or paint to use with them. I wasn't having much luck, so today I went out and bought a bunch of possibilities to test out.

I've tried: Lumiere metallic silver, Lumiere black, acrylic paint with fabric medium, Color Box stamp pad, Clearly Better stamp pad, A La Mode stamp pad, a Pen Touch silver pen, and a Sharpie silver Paint pen.

Results: The Lumiere silver paint and the acrylic paint didn't show up against the grey of the fabric, unless I got them rather thick. If I got them thick, they blobbed on the stamps and didn't give a crisp, clear lettering. The Lumiere black had a thicker consistency and worked decently with the stamp, but it didn't show up well on the darker parts of the scarf. And of course, it wasn't silver.

The stamp pads gave a crisp clear lettering, and the A La Mode stood out the most against the fabric. I ironed everything I tried to heat set them all, and then tossed the scarf in the wash. All of the stamp pads washed right out, which I kind of expected as they are formulated for paper and not fabric.

The Pen Touch silver pen kind of bled a dark halo around the lettering, and then washed mostly out of the fabric.

However, I found a winner in the Sharpie paint pen. I used the Extra Fine Point silver pen. It is billed as an oil-based opaque paint marker. I used the stamp pad and the A La Mode ink to give me a template, and then traced over it with the Sharpie. You can see that it came through the wash with flying colors. 

MIT gave me a handful of stamps to try out. I'll be working with them some more tomorrow, and then I'll ship this sample scarf off to them so they can choose which stamp they prefer for the finished scarves. I do have one more dye to try out tomorrow, but as it stands I have a viable option for adding the silver lettering to the grey scarves. Here's to experimentation!


  1. That's fantastic! Your scarves (as with all your work) are very beautiful.

  2. You are so good at this!!! Beautiful scarf!

  3. I love the color blend of the scarf and very excited to see the finished project.

  4. Your scarves are beautiful, and the ones for MIT will be fantastic. Sharpie pens are the best ever! Gotta love Sharpies. =)
    Stopping by from Blogging Buddies.

  5. Very cool! I love Sharpies. I use all kinds of colors to sign the bottoms of my pottery.

  6. Hi Julie, I was so happy when google led me to your blog! I am wanting to dye a silk veil black and paint it with silver accents, for use in a belly dance choreography. I had been thinking of using Lumiere paint for this purpose but was worried the weight/stiffness of it would affect how the silk moves through the air... maybe I should go with a oil-based paint Sharpie! I'd love any advice you could offer on this subject to a new silk painter!