Silk Fusion

by Sue Bleiweiss

Silk fusion is created layering silk fibers between sheets of nylon netting, soaking and then treating this "sandwich" with a textile medium or stiffener. While wet, the fusion can be hand painted using Dye-Na-Flow paints. It can be textured, molded and can embellished with inlays of metallic threads, yarns, glitter, skeleton leaves and other fibers.

The result of this fusion of silk and medium is a sheet of shimmering silk paper, which can be dried flat or molded into sculptural objects. The flat silk paper can be used to construct three-dimensional objects such as boxes, lampshades, bowls, masks, jewelry, journal covers and more. Essentially anything that you can create with traditional paper or fabric you can make with silk fusion. Its use is limited only by the creator's imagination!

Here are some basic steps to get started with making silk fusion.

What you need

  • Silk fibers (either tussah, bombyx or soy)
  • JoSonja Textile Medium
  • Nylon Netting
  • Hot Water mixed with a little liquid dish soap

Step 1

Put down a piece of netting a little larger than the sheet of fusion you want to make. Pull off a short length of silk fibers and place the on the netting a few inches in from the edge. Pull off another short length of silk and place it next to the first overlapping them slightly. Continue until you have the size sheet of silk fusion that you wish to make.

silk fibres

Once you have laid down your first layer add another one on top on at right angles to the one below it.

silk fibres

Step 2

When you have completed the second layer put another piece of netting on the top of the silk and use a paintbrush to paint both sides of the sandwich with hot water mixed with 1 or 2 teaspoons of liquid dish soap. Make sure that your silk sandwich is totally saturated or you will have un-fused sections in your final paper. Use your hands to smooth the sandwich and help to push the water solution through the layers.

Step 3

Use a rag to pat some of the excess water out of the fusion and then paint each side with the JoSonja's textile medium (undiluted) through the netting and hang your fusion to dry completely. This may take anywhere from 6 hours to overnight depending on your climate. Once the paper is completely dry, remove the netting. If your paper has completely dried then the netting should pull off quite easily.

Step 4

Heat set the medium pressing on both sides with a hot iron using a press cloth.

The finished paper

silk paper

The flat silk paper can be used to construct three-dimensional objects such as boxes, lampshades, bowls, jewelry, journal covers and more. Essentially anything that you can create with traditional paper or fabric you can make with silk fusion!

Visit the web site of Sue Bleiweiss.