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Conchita Menendez

How to create a hand-painted natural silk and wood fan

Material Selection

The first step in creating a fan is selecting the materials. For the fan’s frame, high-quality wood such as Bubinga, Danta, Sipo, etc., is used. Natural silk is chosen for the fan’s cloth due to its soft texture and ability to retain vibrant colors.

Wood Preparation

The wood is cut into thin rods, which are then carved and sanded to achieve the desired shape. This process requires great skill and precision, as each rod must be identical to the others to ensure that the fan opens and closes smoothly.

Silk Preparation

The silk is cut into a rectangular shape slightly larger than the final size of the fan and is stretched on a wooden frame. Depending on the type of paint used, a primer may or may not be necessary. If acid dyes are used and vaporized afterward, a primer is not necessary.

Silk Painting, Starching, and Pleating

Once the silk is prepared, the motif is hand-painted. This is a meticulous process that requires a steady hand and great attention to detail. Each fan is a unique work of art, and the designs can vary from floral patterns to landscape scenes, to people… Once this process is completed, the silk must be starched so that it can be pleated in a cardboard mold and mounted on the rod.


Once the previous process is completed, the silk is adhered to the wooden frame. This process must be done carefully to ensure that the fabric or country is taut and that the fan can open and close smoothly. Finally, the fan can be varnished or not, according to the tastes of the buyers.

Creating a hand-painted natural silk and wood fan is a process that requires skill, patience, and art. Each fan is a unique work of art that reflects the dedication and passion of the craftsman.

I leave the link to a fantastic documentary video made by Eugenio Monesma about the step-by-step artisanal manufacture in a 1997 workshop, of a fan with carved and decorated wood, especially indicated for collecting, given its great value.

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