Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Silk scarf dye project

Silk scarves are a versastile  and special craft project.  You can wear them, give them as gifts, or decorate with them.  These are one of my favorite gifts to make, and there is something magical and fun about the process of making them.  Silk dyeing is an adventure,  because the dye moves and bleeds.  Colors merge together, flaws in the silk effect how the dye takes to the fabric.  No two are ever alike. I buy them from Dharma Trading Co. (http://www.dharmatrading.com) and I dye them in the shower.  They are easy, reasonably priced and a lot of fun.  I pick colors based upon the purpose and the time of year.

What you will need:
silk scarves- size and texture are up to you.  I like devore and habotai.
acid dyes (Dharma has an inexpensive starter kit for $20 that will literally dye dozens of scarves)- these work on silk or wool or silk/wool blends
clean, empty spray bottles
a plastic hanger
a plastic clothes pin
a clean bucket
dye set solution (comes with Dharma's kit)
salt (optional)

Hang your scarf over the hanger and secure with the clothes pin if needed.  Mix your dye according to package directions and put in the spray bottles.  Start spraying.  This makes a huge mess, but is tons of fun (bleach will take the dye off the shower in most cases).  Silk dyes bleed and spread and mix, so you never know exactly what you'll get.  I like pair two colors of basic dye per scarf (magenta/ yellow, blue/green, blue/magenta, yellow/green).  You can also sprinkle salt on the scarf to make tiny sunburst designs.  If you are really daring, try drawing a design in dye resist on the scarf.  Let the scarf dry and then soak it in dye set solution (follow package directions).  Let the scarf dry again. Steam the wrinkles out and enjoy!

My kids love helping with this project, and we usually let the shower stay tie dyed for a couple of days before we clean it.  These make great gifts, as you can customize the color for the recipiant.  I have several, and use them for dressing up, rituals and even portable spells.  You can even use these as alter cloths, tarot card wraps or ritual wear.