Phaptawan trained as a mural painter in the workshop of father, the late master Paiboon Suwannakudt 1969 - 1979. She worked on a year contract as an ESL teacher to Indochinese refugee for UNHCR in Nongkhai Refugee camp on the border of Thailand 1980. She resumed the role of painter to assist Paiboon for the mural project and ceiling for Bangkok Peninsular Hotel in 1981. She oversaw the completion when Paiboon passed away. Phaptawan became the first woman to lead a temple mural painting team in Thailand at Wat Srikhomkam, Payao province and completed ten commissioned projects throughout Thailand until 1995. She instructed mural painting the Royal SUPPORT Foundation from 1984 and led her students to complete mural at Thasuttawat temple in Angthong province 1994. She was involved in the feminist exhibition, Tradisexion, at the Concrete House in 1995, which is the precursor to the formal establishment of Womanifesto.
Phaptawan has exhibited in many international exhibitions, including Women imaging Women: Home, Body, Memory, Cultural Centre of the Philippines (1998), 18th Biennale of Sydney MCA Australia (2012), Beyond Bliss, Bangkok Art Biennale (2018) and others.
She has participated in seven art residency programs including Carriageworks Sydney 2018 and A.E.Y Space Songkhla 2022. Her works are in public and private collections including National Gallery of Thailand, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Bank Sydney, Rama IX Art Collection and National Gallery Singapore. Her work was acquired for the State present to Thailand to cerebrate of the 60th Anniversary Australia Thailand Diplomatic Relation at the Parliament House in 2012.
She is a recipient of Australia Council grants (2001, 2011, 2018), NAVA artist grants (2010 and 2013), and a grant from Office of Contemporary Art, Ministry Culture of Thailand (2012).