Silk Dyeing

Tissue fragments placed on silk scarf and ready to be spritzed with
vinegar water.
Did you know that silk can be dyed with tissue paper? I didn't, but it can easily be done.

Last week, I joined the Lander Sew Sistas at the library for the fun activity. JoAnne brought the materials, and everyone else brought spray bottles, plastic bags, paper plates, vinegar, a take home container, and a creative nature.

Tissue paper shapes prepared and place on the silk scarf.
JoAnne explained the different techniques that could be used and distributed the supplies to the eager group. Some ladies planned and precisely placed the snippets of tissue paper; others haphazardly arranged the bits of color on the blank 6 x 24 inch silk scarves.

Jeni V. and Mary H. placing the tissue on their silk scarves
I was in the haphazard group. I added more bits of color to one scarf and less to another, as I wanted to see the difference.
Nancy sprays the crumpled scarf in the
take home container.
After the bits of tissue were place on the scarf, they were sprayed with vinegar water, enough to saturate the paper and the scarf. The scarf was then crumpled or carefully folded and placed in the take home container (a bowl with a lid or a bag with a zip closure). We were instructed to saturate the scarf again if necessary and then keep the scarves covered until the next day.

More vinegar water is sprayed on the scarves inside
the take home container
The following day, I removed the paper from the scarves (it was nearly clear at that point as the dye had been transferred to the silk) and then rinsed the scarves several times. JoAnne said we could toss the scarves in the dryer with a towel or iron (silk setting) to set the dye: I decided to iron my scarves.

The result of my dyeing experiment
I could have over-dyed the one on the left
or added more color to the one on the right
the following day, but I chose not to do that
This was a fun activity, and I plan do it again with a longer scarf (8 x 54 inches) - one I will actually be able to use. Since it was cheaper to order in bulk, I'll ask my Tuesday night knitting buddies if they want to try this technique and create scarves of their own.

Blank Habotai scarves - 100% silk
Tissue - bleeding art tissue
Spray - 1 Tablespoon vinegar in the spray bottle


  1. I had no idea that could be done like that. Fun activity! I like the one with less color the best because you can really see the colors themselves.

  2. Looks like great fun!
    I'm in!

  3. That's so fun! I love how the one on my right in the image turned out!

  4. The great thing is the materials are so simple and accessible too. Thanks for sharing, I can see lots of experimentation in your future.

  5. I will have to try that. I have done all kinds of fabric dying and always have a great time. I wonder how well it works on cotton.

  6. Amazing!! I had no idea that could be done and I want to try it. You may have created a monster.

  7. What a fun project! I like the result! :)

  8. Interesting ---- I wonder if you could use the same technique on a white wool blank?

    Looks like you had a real good time!

  9. Fun! I wonder whether you could use that tissue to dye eggs? Vinegar and water is an interesting combo. I just used it on a badly burned pan and it's as good as new after a bit of elbow grease, too.

  10. Awesome, I love the colors and how they blend together. That looks so neat to do.

  11. Looks fun and easy!! I'm in too!!


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