In The Studio: Natural Dyeing Silk Scarves

We had the joy of welcoming two local Chicago artists to the Loom studio this month to teach us how to naturally dye silk scarves.

We used natural dyes and 100% silk scarves during the process and tied them up to make beautiful designs on the scarves.

Over the course of three workshops, we used a grey/silver dye, a pinkish maroon dye, a purple dye and a yellow. They produced some beautiful colors for the Spring and Summer!

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To tie them up we used clothes pins, rubber pants thick and thin, paper clips, wooden blocks, wooden cutouts, mason jars, Popsicle sticks and anything else we could find. Someone even tried wrapping up pencils in their scarves!

We laughed a lot watching each other tie up our scarves in curious ways. It was a show of creativity itself to see the strange ideas we would come up with!

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After our first batch of scarves were tied up, we prepared the dye bath. Hot water was ready for the natural dye. The women added the powder and stirred it together. When the powder had fully dissolved, we added all our silk bundles into the pots and submerged them fully.

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The women stirred the bundles of silk in the pots as we waited for the dye to set in. Some women continued their knitting projects, and others began tying up more silk scarves to put in the dye bath.

We waited anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes for the color to really soak in.

When the time was up, we took turns scooping our silk scarves out of the pot and washed off the lingering dye.

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We took our own silk scarves out of the water and began to undo the rubber bands from the balled up scarves.

Laughter and joy ensued after each unveiling. With each scarf, new, creative lines appeared among the bright dyed coloring. We displayed each scarf for everyone to see and marvel at before hanging them up to dry.

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Each of the scarves have a little bit different shade of the dye color they were in. Some of the maroons were dark, some were closer to a light rose color. Some of the yellows were deep and bright, while others were light and airy. The shade all depended on the amount of time in the pot and how the scarves were tied up.

Each scarf turned out so unique! The designs are beautiful displays of the creative experiments we set out to make. It’s hard to imagine anyone wearing one of these scarves and not getting a compliment on it this summer!

We had so much fun with this workshop! Our silk scarves will be on sale at the upcoming pop up events this season. Hop on our email list to know just where you can purchase these gorgeous silk scarves!

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