Friday, May 4, 2012

DIY Silk Dyeing- Create an Impressionistic Style

Friday, May 4, 2012
by Linda Ferretti

Courtesy of Linda Ferretti

"Impressistic" Instructions
  1. Always wash your silk first and cut to desired sizes
  2. Just before dyeing, soak in very warm water
  3. Set oven temperature to 250 degrees
  4. Choose the dyes you are going to use
  5. Bring water to a boil
  6. Measure amount of each dye to be used {medium value start with ¼ teaspoon acid dyes;  adjust accordingly for lightest and darkness} dissolve in boiling water and stir until completely dissolved.
 For scrunch dyeing (impressionism style) 
  1. Take your Pyrex pan {approximately 9” x 14”} and scrunch the silk with valleys and lows to create design.
  2. Take a tablespoon and spot dye the silk, scrunching into the silk with back of wooden spoon.  Sprinkle with salt to grab the colors if desired.
  3.  There are 2 fixatives you can use to set the dye, citric acid (sprinkle grains over top of silk) or white vinegar (approximately ¼ cup to pan) 
  4. Cover in aluminum foil, poke holes in top for steam to escape and put in preheated over for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.  Be sure and add a bit of hot water to the pan to prevent the silk from sticking to the pan.
  5. Usually the silk will soak up all the dyes and when the water runs clear you know the process is finished.  When the dye is very strong like navy for example, the silk cannot absorb all the dye.
  6. In this case, rinse the silk till the water is clear.  Let the silk cool a bit before rinsing. 
  7. Hang on line till damp dry.  Iron with steam on cotton setting (check carefully as this will vary with different model of irons.  I find it easier for damp silk but you can iron when dry or simply spray the silk with water.

Open Pot Method (Same as above except as follows)
  1. Heat water in pan on top of stove (enough so the silk can be covered easily with water.
  2. Add mixed dye and stir well.
  3.  Add very warm soaked silk, stirring constantly with wooden spoon.
  4. Simmer gently for approximately 15 minutes, stirring often.
  5.  Add to the water 1 Tablespoon citric acid(for brighter colors) or 1/ cup white vinegar for softer colors.
  6.  Continue stirring until the silk absorbs all the dye. Let silk cool before rinsing.
  7. Return to step #12 and complete the same way.
  8.  The open pot method is great for pastels or one color silk.

About Linda Ferretti
Linda Ferretti is from Nova Scotia, Canada and is a Painter, Fiber Artist, Designer and Rug Hooking Supplier. Website:
"I have been painting for 27 years. Enjoy landscapes, seascapes and floral. My painting mediums are oil, acrylic, watercolour and pastel. My fiber art are my original creations. I design patterns for rug hooking and create hand dyed artistic pillows. Currently, I am studying Chinese Brush Strokes. Why I am artistically motivated? I live on a high hill in the country surrounded by two fresh water lakes. You cannot hear the traffics pass due to a large pine grove. On our five acres, we enjoy a large variety of birds, squirrels, partridge, deer and on occasion, a few rabbits. My life is quiet and full of natural beauty as the seasons pass. In one half hour, I can be walking by the sea! This is the perfect spot for an artist- guaranteed motivation all year long!" 

*Picture courtesy of Linda Ferretti

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