How to Dye Silk Scarves Using the Bound-Resist Method

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In the bound-resist method of hand-dying a scarf, you use string and marbles. The marbles form a pattern resembling flowers or diamonds on the fabric. The two-part dying process described here uses silk blanks in a technique that involves immersion dyeing (in two steps) and a shibori resist technique to create pattern.

Shibori is a Japanese technique for wrapping fibers to create areas that resist dyes. You can create exciting color patterns by experimenting with resists and dyes.

Gather these materials:

  • Four 11 x 60-inch crepe de chine silk scarf blanks

  • An unexhausted acid dye bath

  • Leftover acid dyes

  • Iron

  • White cotton string

  • Glass marbles

  1. Place the blank scarves in a warm presoak with 1⁄2 teaspoon Synthrapol.

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    Allow them to soak for at least 1 hour.

    An unexhausted dye bath with a visible amount of leftover dye will dye the scarves a pale overall color. You may add more dye to the unexhausted bath to deepen the color. Add more dye in small increments (25ml at a time). Check the dye bath, making sure the pH range is between 4 and 6. Add 1 teaspoon citric acid crystals if needed.

  2. Add the scarves to the dye bath and gradually raise the temperature of the bath to 185°F (85°C).

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    Do not let the temperature go beyond this point or it will ruin the luster of the silk. Allow the scarves to simmer for 30 minutes.

  3. When the dye bath has cooled completely, rinse the scarves in warm water. Then hang them on a rack to dry.

  4. Tie thin cotton string around glass marbles placed beneath the scarf.

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    This creates bubbles and puckers in the silk fabric.

    You need about 20 marbles for an 11 x 60-inch scarf. Space the marbles at intervals to form a design.

  5. Place the scarf in a zipper-locked baggie with dye and vinegar and steam as described above.

  6. When the scarf is cooled, remove the ties and marbles and rinse in warm water.

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