DIY – Hand Dyed Scarves Doubled as Gift Wrapping

posted on: December 5, 2012

I recently met the beautiful and talented Eden of Sugar and Charm, an awesome fellow designer/blogger on a trip to Palm Springs. We met there to celebrate the awesomeness of her sister and my friend Bethany. Eden and I instantly hit it off, geeking out about design stuff and she recently asked me to contribute to her blog. I responded with a hell yes and I’m so excited to be featured on her bonefide blog! As a kick-off DIY project, I thought I’d share one of my favorite projects – hand dyed silk scarves and to add a holiday twist…present them as wrapping for a gift. I love using natural materials whenever possible. I also love the idea that the wrapping is a special part of the gift and not disposable, helping to eliminate some of the excess waste associated with the holiday. I used a couple different dye techniques here…

The bronze scarf with the white splatter was created with a relief process called batik and the blend of colors came from a process called “cram jar” dying which gives it that marbled look. The two tone scarf was done simply dipping each side of the scarf in a different dye color. Finally the green scarf was done using an eco-friendly dye, which is more labor intensive and doesn’t work with the cram jar technique but has it’s own beautiful results. I won’t describe the eco-friendly process here because it’s lengthy but if you do decide to go that route, along with your order from Blue Castle Fiber Arts, they will send you very thorough, detailed instructions.

What you’ll need for the cram jar dying: 1. Measuring spoons 2. A medium sized mason jar 2. Fiber reactive procion dye 3. Plain salt 4. Soda ash 5. An old wood spoon 6. Rubber gloves

*note, use utensils solely for dyeing, do not use your regular kitchen utensils. Use precaution when handling dye, always wear gloves!

Instructions: First you’ll prepare the dye by mixing 1 tsp of soda ash, 1 tsp of dye, 2 tbs salt and just enough warm water to create a paste. Always add water last. Then add about 100ml of warm water. Do this separately for all the colors you want to mix. Hand wash your fabric and while it’s still wet cram it into the mason jar, the cramming effect creates pockets where the different colors will settle. Then slowly pour each color into the mason jar and use your spoon to mix it up a bit. It doesn’t take long for the dye to set but you can leave it as long as you like for the desired shade. Remove the fabric (make sure you’re wearing gloves) and wash withsynthrapol until all excess dye is removed, hang to dry and walla!

What you’ll need for batik: 1. A 50/50 mixture of paraffin and beeswax 2. paint brushes or a tjanting tool (I prefer paint brushes) 3. Old newspaper 4. A double broiler set up – I used a coffee can placed in a pot of about 2 cups boiling water. 5. Hot iron

*note, use caution when dealing with hot wax!

Instructions: First you’ll cut off a small square of the wax and place in the coffee can which sits in the pot of boiling water. This will melt the wax and you want the wax to get really hot, almost boiling. Once the wax is hot, carefully! dip the paint brush in the wax and splatter onto the fabric. It’s a good idea to have the fabric stretched on a frame for this process but I didn’t do that and it turned out okay for me. Once you’re done with this process run the fabric under cold water. Then use the same instructions above to dye the fabric. To remove the wax, place the fabric over a stack of old newspaper about 1/4 inch thick. Place one sheet of newspaper on top of the fabric and iron directly on the paper, this will lift up the wax. Using fresh paper each time, repeat until the paper no longer absorbs the wax. There might be small rings of wax that still show after this process, you’ll need to take the fabric to a dry cleaner to remove this. That’s it!

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