Silk Painting How to

How To Test for Real Silk

There is a lot of artificial silk out there being sold at real silk prices. This is how to test for real silk:


The Burn Test

Pull out a loose thread from the silk product you're interested in. Now burn it.


What Should Happen:

  • The thread should simply ball up and turn to ash when lit.
  • The burning silk should smell like burning hair (both substances mainly consist of a fibrous protein – fibroin in the case of silk and keratin in the case of hair).
  • The ash should be black and crispy/brittle.
  • As soon as the flame is removed, the thread should do nothing more (no further burning)

What Should Not Happen:


Dead Giveaways to Artificial Silk

  • The thread should not melt/bubble/drip when lit.
  • The burning silk should not smell like burning paper (Rayon is a popular silk substitute, and like paper, mostly consists of cellulose).
  • The ash should not be soft and chalky.
  • The thread should not continue to burn after the flame is removed.