There are so many ways to dye fabrics, but we prefer anything that's quick, easy, and cheap! You can dye your own silk scarf for pennies of what it would cost in the store. Once you purchase the supplies, you can do many scarves in batches! Perfect for bridesmaid gifts, bachelorette favors, or to keep as your own!
You will need: Silk scarf (we use Jacquard brand), Rit Dyes (to start, choose yellow, red, blue as the primary colors), white wax crayon, dye vat or bowl, hot water, gloves, vinegar or salt, rubber bands, drop cloth
To prepare your dye, add the directed amount to a bowl or vat you will use to dye. Do not use for food afterwards! Make sure to use a vessel that will just be designated your "dye vat." Add hot water to the manufacturer's specifications. For Rit dyes, this is generally 1:8 dye to hot water. Next, add your fixative: for silk scarves, add 2 tablespoons vinegar; for cotton, add 2 tablespoons salt. This helps keep your dye intact after you rinse it out of the fabric.
I usually do 1 vat per color. If you'd like to mix colors, I recommend 1 vat each of blue, red, and yellow, and you can dip in different pots to get a secondary color.
Before dying your scarf, you'll need to rinse it thoroughly in cold water so that it will wash away anything additional that might be on the scarf to prevent the dye from taking. Lay down a drop cloth to prevent your work surface from staining.
Before beginning on the scarf, make some samples! Play around with different timing for the dye, various techniques such as the wax crayon or tie dye with rubber bands, etc.
You can do several techniques when dying your scarf:
Secondary colors. To create a color that you did not purchase, but if you have all primary colors, it's just like mixing paint! First dye your scarf with the lighter color, rinse as normal, and then dye with the darker color. For instance, if I wanted to make green, dye first with yellow and then with blue.
Wax Crayon Designs. If you'd like to draw designs on your scarf with a white wax crayon, do so before wetting or rinsing the fabric. Lay out your scarf on a colored surface (dark colored table is fine - so you can see what you're drawing), and draw with the wax crayon directly onto the fabric. When you dye, the crayon marks will show through!
Ombre. For an ombre effect, first rinse your scarf in cool water as normal. Choose your color, and submerge the fabric for about 5-7 seconds. Squeeze out the dye, rinse under cool water until water runs clear. To do the next dip in dye, put 3/4 of the scarf in and submerge for 12 seconds. Rinse under cool water. For the third submerge, do 1/2 of the scarf for about 20 seconds, and the last submerge 1/4 of the scarf for 45 seconds (doubling roughly the amount of time each time).
Tie Dye. Use rubber bands to tie your scarf in various places and place in dye. When removed and rinsed, the places where the rubber bands held the scarf will not have any dye in place. You can even first dye the scarf, rubber band the fabric, and then dye in a different color for some cool effects.
After you've finished dying, make sure to rinse the scarf in cool water until the water runs clear. Lay out your scarf to dry. It is best to hand wash or dry clean your scarf if needed, and not machine wash.
Wear your scarf loud and proud!