A bespoke play silk is the sweetest gift for the special little ones in your life. The craft of dyeing can seem daunting, but you don’t need to worry! Today Jaime from The Barefoot Dyer is walking us through creating beautiful bundle dyed play silks for your Valentine with our Natural Dye Kit. This kit comes with all of the materials you will need to pretreat and dye your silk.
Gather Your Materials and & Prepare Them
- White or light colored play silks
- Natural Dye Kit
- A plastic bucket or stainless steel pot
- Cotton twine or rubber bands
Begin by scouring your fabric, washing it thoroughly and treating it with the mordant included in the natural dye kit. The process will vary slightly depending on the type of fabric you're dying but for our silk you will use allum to help the dye bond to the fibers more readily.
In your large pot add room temperature water so that it is almost full but will not overflow when the fabric is placed in it or when heating. Dissolve the entire packet of alum in the water then place your silks into the pot.
Place your pot on a stove and slowly bring the heat up just under boiling. Stir occasionally and carefully so that the fabric does not felt while it cooks. Continue this process for 1-2 hours. Turn off the heat, remove your fabric from the pot and rinse it. You can proceed to dyeing or dry the fabric for later.
Bundle Dying Play Silks
Soak the pretreated silk in water for at least 20 minutes then squeeze excess water from the fabric. It should be damp but not dripping. Similar to watercolors, the wetter the fabric is, the more the colors will flow together.
Lay the damp fabric out on a flat surface and smooth out as many wrinkles as possible. There are four types of dye stuff (technical name for dyes) to choose from that result in different tones of yellow, orange, purple and pink. Arrange your chosen pigments on the fabric however you'd like. There’s no right or wrong way to do this part, so you can get creative! You can make patterns or just sprinkle a bit here and there.
The dye stuff can be spread over the entire piece of fabric or only on half for a mirrored effect. If you chose to only sprinkle dye stuff on half the fabric, fold the fabric over onto itself so that the dye stuff is sandwiched between the two halves.
Now the fabric should be rolled twice. Roll once to create a long rope. Then again to create a spiral or snail shell. Tightly bundle the rolled fabric using rubber bands or cotton twine, then place the bundle in a steamer and steam for 15-20 minutes. Allow the bundle to cool before removing the binding and unwrapping.
You can shake the dye stuff into a bowl so that it can be dried and saved for a later dye project. Rinse the dyed fabric under water until the water runs clear then wash with a gentle detergent. Once your silk has dried you can use it to wrap a special gift, make a costume or play.
More Dying Techniques & Tips
The magic of dying is that there are endless possibilities when it comes to designs and colors. You can use the instructions in the natural dye kit to create solid colors, as well as details on dying other types of fabric for clothing and more. Jamie is an excellent resource for all things dying as well! Find more inspiration and details about her dye courses on Instagram.