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Deb Trombley

India Inspired Part 2! Stenciling on Silk Fabric

India stencils on silk bench cushion. How to stencil on silk via Paint + Pattern

Earlier this week I shared Part 1 of my Indian Inspired Stencil Project, where I began the transformation of an underused storage closet into an exotic, cozy reading nook. But there’s more! To complete the look I did some stenciling on silk fabric to create a jewel-colored bench cushion to complete the look.

During my last trip to India, I found a teal silk dupioni at my favorite sari shop, Nalli, and have saved the fabric since then to decorate with special stencils from the India Stencil Collection on Royal Design Studio. While testing  Royal Stencil Cremes on scrap silk before beginning  a stenciled tribal lampshade project, I discovered that the Stencil Cremes work wonderfully on silk dupioni. The effect was so effortless, crisp and clean!

Stencil supplies for DIY India silk stencils project. Stenciling on silk fabric

So with the Peacock Fancy color Stencil Creme, I stenciled the Rani Paisley Damask Stencil on the top of the seat cushion, and the Taj Tile Border Stencil along the cushion edge. Royal Design Studio stencil brushes, with their soft, natural bristles, are the best choice for fabric stenciling as they allow you to easily control the amount of paint and pressure on your brush and achieve a nice clean print on the fabric.

Indian border stencil from Royal Design Studio. Stenciling on silk fabric with Royal Stencil Creme paint

Raj damask Indian stencil from Royal Design Studio. Stenciling on silk fabric with Royal Stencil Creme paint

Stenciling on silk fabric with an Indian stencil. Ironing to heat set Stencil Creme Paint from Royal Design Studio

Here are my best tips for stenciling on silk fabric:

  • If you plan to wash your item, wash and dry your silk before stenciling. I skipped this step because I would only spot clean the closet nook cushion if it’s ever needed.
  • Iron the silk before stenciling.
  • Stencil on a hard surface. I used a card table with a large foam core board on top of it.
  • You may want to protect your table surface with something like a foam core board. Some paint bled through my silk a little bit.
  • Silk is notoriously slippery. Keep smoothing out the fabric as you go so you don’t paint over any folds. I also found the fabric was shifting so the guides for the damask stencil pattern didn’t always line up perfectly. Keeping your fabric smooth can help avoid this.
  • You can see in the photos, I dabbed the brush into the paint on the lid of the Stencil Creme can. This helps avoid putting too much paint on the brush.
  • During stenciling the areas painted got a bit ripply so when finished painting, I ironed on the reverse side of the silk with a dry iron (no steam).

Stenciling on silk fabric with India stencils from Royal Design Studio on Paint + Pattern

The two patterns coordinate well together (0ne is more organic and the other more geometric) and combine to create the look of India’s famed block printed fabrics. Stenciling on silk fabric (or any fabric!) is a great way to make a one-of-a-kind seat cushion in patterns and colors that match your decorating needs.

India stencils on silk bench custions. DIY stenciling on silk fabric project

After stenciling the silk, I cut it and sewed it into a bench cushion. The cushion is a generous 5″ deep foam, custom cut to fit the space. Whew! After all this painting, it’s now time to enjoy this space, flop into those cushions and dream of India…

You can find more fabric painting and stenciling ideas and tips in these other posts here on Paint + Pattern:

Royal Design Studio Wall Stencils and Paint Supplies for DIY Projects


  1. Thank you for this lesson, you inspire me to do something like this , it is really lovely really expensive looking too.

    • Deb

      That’s great to hear Anne! I hope you do try it! It’s a lot of expensive look but easy to do, that’s what’s so great about stenciling on silk. Of course I paid a much lower price in India for the silk but silk dupioni can be found for great prices online and with coupons at fabric stores. Definitely use dupioni though – silk charmeuse is too slippery, georgette is too filmy sheer. Dupioni is just right for stenciling!

  2. Regina

    So inventive! What a great idea. I love it all – one of my faves being the Taj Tile Border Stencil. Perfect choice in color and pattern.

  3. Love this entire look and fabulous tutorial. Can you please tell me where you found the pillows or the fabric for the pillows?

  4. Hi Tara! There are three pillows here, and the ruffled pillow in the back (behind the printed pillow) I found at Pier 1. The printed pillow with the tulip and round shapes and a little bit of red on it, I found at a now-closed shop in Bangalore, India. But it is called “Bursa silk” from Turkey and if you Google that, you might be able to find similar silk. You could also Google “ottoman” and “Turkish tulip” fabric because it has the tulip shape in it. I just Googled and didn’t see anything similar but you never know, people post new things online all the time and you might see something. I DIY sewed the round bolster pillow and that printed fabric is also silk and I can’t remember where I found it. I have about 24 boxes full of fabrics and am now forgetting where they’re all from, so sorry!! I shop for fabrics at independent fabric shops (small neighborhood shops not the big national hobby stores) and online shops, so it’s likely I found it at one of those. My favorite online shops for fabric are GorgeousFabrics.com, EmmaOneSock.com, FabricMartFabrics.com. I hope this helps! Deb

  5. glad to see someone besides me doing creative things with textiles,love this just love this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Hi, I am hoping do this kind of thing for making unique skirts. Can you wash the fabric after you have stenciled it? Does it dry stiff?

    Do you have any suggestions for this type of project?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Robyn, I have not washed this fabric from this nook project, but I can tell you I got some stencil creme paint on jeans and have washed the jeans dozens of times and the paint has not washed off at all. From my experience, it seems whether the paint is stiff can depend on thickness of the fabric and how thick you paint. The silk fabric for this nook project was super thin, and I painted a bit heavier so there is some stiffness. On my denim jeans which is a much heavier fabric, and the paint is lighter, the paint does not feel stiff at all. I hope this helps! Deb

  7. Hi Deb. …it is a beautiful work of art….could you please let me know which colours have you used…?

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