Stretching-frames for silk

Stretching-frames for silk are an important part of silk painting.

In order to stretch the silk tightly, you have to use a wooden stretching-frame, which means that the wood must be of solid quality.
It is advisable to use an adjustable frame, as this kind of frame can be adjusted to the length and width of the silk.

It has been my experience that this is particularly important for silk with a width of 90 cm, 115 cm or 140 cm.
But of course, this also goes for large scarves of 90 by 90 cm or oblong scarves.
The more meters of material to be painted, the more solid the wooden frame must be.

Unfortunately stretching-frames for silk are rather expensive and I have been looking for a less expensive solution to achieve the same result at a lower cost.

Easy to do it yourself (DIY).
The big DIY stores sell wooden laths with a thickness of 2.5 cm in various lengths, e.g. 1.80m, 2.10m, 2.50 or 2.70m.
You buy four of these laths in proportion to the length or width of the silk.

Use a drill to make holes every 10 cm, from one side to the other, in each of the four laths.
You will need 4 screws with wing nuts, and small protective plates.
It is best to use screws of a considerable size, since they have to go through two laths.
The screws ought to have the same diameter as the holes in the laths.

Next, tape up the 4 laths with brown tape (such as that used for packages): from left to right, on all four sides of the lath.
Make sure that all of the wood is well covered.
To open the drilled holes you can pierce the tape with an object such as a ballpoint pen.

Hint: in order not to smudge or damage future projects, the taping-up is important.
Paint can easily end up on an unprotected wooden lath, which could affect the next project you produce.
The tape enables the stretching-frames to be cleaned easily by wiping with a wet cloth.

You can then screw the 4 angles parts together and tighten well.
The fact that there is a “difference in height” of 2.5. by 2.5 cm can be ignored, as the difference will be imperceptible.

Now you are ready to adjust the frame to the long pieces of silk.

Finally after completing the work, it is easy to take the frame apart and store the 4 laths.

Photo below.

Here is another hint.
It is very convenient to use 2 simple sawhorses (for sale at Craft shops and DIY stores) to support the frame.
You must be able to walk around the frame so that you can paint from all sides.
Of course the smaller version of such a frame can be put on a big table, on small wooden blocks or 4 equally small legs, as long as the silk does not touch the table.

Remember, to re-stretch the silk from time to time when it becomes saggy due to water and/or paint.

This is one of  the best DIY stretching-frames for silk. And will probably last a lifetime.

The Perfect Small Table Frame.
A smaller, more manageable frame is a frame made of 4 laths of 1 cm by 4.5 cm.
You can mitre (cut diagonally in the angle) them yourself or have them mitred, where you purchase.
The outside dimension is 51x51 cm and the inside dimension is 43x43 cm.

Attach the angles by means of a riveting machine.
Next, tape up the frame from left to right (as indicated above).
Make sure that all of the wood is covered.

The size is particularly manageable as it is exactly the size of half the width of silk per meter (90cm).

The 4.5 cm provides sufficient grip to fix the material with three-point tacks.

This frame can also be put on blocks, so, if the silk sags a bit while painting, it can easily be stretched tight.
Following these instructions you will get a great deal of use out of your stretching-frames for silk.

Finally, as an option, there is a rather expensive, but very professional stand with flexible upper frame in which the wooden frame nicely fits.
You can turn the complete stand towards yourself (for instance while seated) to paint the material.
The brand is ULIG (Germany) and the price is 120.-- euro's.

Should you still have any questions, you can contact me at