Introduction: How to "Marble" Dye Pretty Silk Scarves

A Tutorial

Don’t you just love a pretty, colorful silk scarf? Did you know that it’s actually very easy to dye your own? All you need is the right tools and some basic know-how.

There are many, many different techniques for “marble” dyeing fabric. I like to experiment with different folding and tie-dyeing methods. Also, there are many ways to set the dye so your final scarf won’t bleed. The acid dyes I use have to be heat set. This can be done by steaming your scarves, heating in the oven or with your microwave. I personally stay away from microwaving silk scarves because it’s too unpredictable (and can burn up your microwave). To begin, cover your table with plastic and make sure you wear old clothes!

Step 1: Supplies:

100% Silk Scarf

Acid Dyes

White Vinegar

Plastic Gallon Bags

Disposable plates and cups

Roasting Pan with steamer basket or old pie tins(disposable -don’t use for food after dyeing!)

Latex gloves (optional)


Step 2: Wash & Soak & Fold!

First you want to wash your silk scarves in warm, soapy water to remove any sizing and oil from your hands. Heat up about a cup of vinegar to very warm, but not hot temp. (Silk loses its luster if exposed to very high temps.) Soak your scarves in the vinegar for about 20 minutes. While your scarves are soaking, mix up the dyes according to the directions on the dye container. Take your scarves out of the vinegar and squeeze out the excess liquid.

Folding How you fold or scrunch your scarf will determine the pattern. For the first scarf, I wanted an “accordion” pattern so I folded it in half lengthwise and beginning at one end, loosely folded it back and forth. Scarf 2, I just wadded and scrunched up in a ball. Place each scarf on a disposable plate. Now comes the fun part…

Step 3: ​Adding the Dye

Apply 2-3 colors of dye to each scarf – just enough to saturate the fabric. As you can see, I used a bit too much dye but that’s ok Scarf 1 colors: Sapphire Blue and Hot Fuschia Scarf 2 colors: Emerald Green, Turquoise and Yellow Sun

Step 4: Steaming

Carefully lift your scarf (keeping the shape) and let some of the excess dye drain. Place in plastic bag. (Separate bags if you’re doing more than one) Now, place the steamer basket (or old pie tins) in the bottom of your roasting pan to keep the bags out of the water. Add about an inch of water and place your plastic bags on top. Cover the roaster. Turn burner on medium heat and once the water begins to simmer, turn down to low. Simmer for about 1 hour. Take a peek under the lid a couple of times to make sure there is steam. This is needed to set the dye.

Step 5: ​Finishing

All that’s left now is to carefully take the scarf out of the bag – It will be HOT – and rinse in warm water until the water runs clear. If the scarf continues to bleed, which happens sometimes, simply pop it in a clean bag and steam again.

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