By December 6, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

Dyeing Silk Scarves ~ What Fun!

Dye Painted Silk Scarves

This past week my crafting friend Margie called to say she and her friend Mary were going to dye silk scarves. She asked, would I like to photograph it for a blog. I said, yes, I would love to! As it turned out, not only did I get material for a blog, I got to paint a scarf.

When Mary and I arrived at Margie’s, she had all our painting supplies ready to go. She had ordered dyes and other supplies, including the silk scarves from the Dharma Trading Company.

silk dyes

We used Jacquard “Silk Colors” dye, along with . . .

Resist and Dyeset

Jacquard Water-Based Resist and Jacquard Permanent Dyeset Concentrate.

cutting PVC

Before we could get started with any painting, we had to make stretcher frames for the scarves. Mary and Margie got busy measuring and  cutting 1″ PVC pipe. Our instructions said to make the frames  2 inches larger than our scarves, on all sides. Of course, we were short of PVC pipe. We were determined, however, to make it work. Margie came up with the idea of making a frame with a middle bar, so that two scarves could be on the same frame. For the third frame, Mary suggested replacing the two long sides of  PVC pipe with adjustable spring loaded curtain rods. This enabled the length of the frame to be adjusted for different scarf sizes. Absolutely brilliant!

bending the pinOnce we had our frames assembled we started attaching the safety pins that would anchor the scarf to the frame. First we bent the ends of the pins back to form a hook.

attaching rubber bandWe strung  rubber bands through the elbow joint of the  pins.

attaching the scarf

We looped the rubber banded pins around the PVC pipe frame about every 5 inches. Then we proceeded to stretch the scarf taut by hooking the pins into the hemmed edge of the scarf .

attaching the pin closeup

Here’s a close-up of our fishhook pins attached to the scarf hem.

After setting up our frames we were eager to get started painting. However, we were nervous about placing that first stroke of color onto the scarf.  So, Margie pulled out her iPad and we watched a  you tube video of artist Jonas Gerard painting a scarf. Afterwards, we turned on some inspirational music and let the creative juices flow.

Lisa Painting scarf

Mary and I each painted one of the scarves on our inventive double scarf frame. Mary painted turquoise and blue stripes down the length of the scarf and then sprinkled it with Kosher salt crystals. I painted my scarf with colorful abstract squiggles and splashes.

Margie painting

Margie, inspired by the Jonas Gerard video, applied large brush strokes in primary colors and black accents. Just as we finished painting our scarves it began to rain. We placed our freshly painted scarves in the garage to dry overnight. Mary’s scarf was still being transformed by the application of the salt crystals, mine was a wild combination of bright colors, and Margie’s was a very striking combination of bold red, yellow, blue and black strokes.


Mary and I were wonderfully surprised to see our finised scarves when we arrived at Margie’s the next morning. Margie had set the dye in our scarves by rinsing them in a mixture of the dyeset concentrate and water. She had then ironed the scarves and hung them up on the clothes line for us to admire. They were absolutely gorgeous.

Mary and Lisa's scarf

Mary’s salt crystals had formed fabulous swirl patterns.  My colorful squiggles had blended together into a soft, bright color combination.

Mary and scarf

Mary happened to be dressed in pink, which made her the perfect model for my scarf.

Margies scarvesUnfortunately, the deep black accents faded when Margie rinsed her scarf in the resist bath; but, the scarf still turned out beautiful. Margie had also  made a scarf on which she painted flowers using the water based resist.

resist flowerShe drew the flower outlines using the resist and then painted the sections. The dye does not penetrate the resist areas, leaving white lines after the resist is washed out. This is a method that I think I would like to explore.


We had such blast dyeing our silk scarves that Margie, Mary and I are going to continue exploring various silk dyeing methods.  Margie and Mary have ordered some different dyes that set with steam. Mary is building a makeshift steamer. I’m more interested in drawing designs with resist pens and using fabric paints, not dyes, that are set by simply ironing the finished silk. I’ve started two new Pinterest boards on Silk Scarf Painting. One is video tutorials, the other pictures of painted silk for ideas and inspiration. Click on the “Lisa Ault ~ Corn Maiden and you will link to my Pinterest boards.

Follow Lisa Ault ~ Corn Maiden’s board Silk Scarf Painting Tutorials on Pinterest.

Follow Lisa Ault ~ Corn Maiden’s board Silk Painting Inspiration on Pinterest.

Dyeing our silk scarves was very easy and a loads of fun. Anyone can do this. If you want to try a simpler method in which you don’t have to invest in dyes and paints here’s a video that shows how to dye a scarf with Sharpie pens and rubbing alcohol. Have fun and be creative!

Posted in: Crafts, Silk Painting

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