Saturday, April 02, 2011

Dyeing Silk Scarves with Spectra Art Tissue : Demo by Joanne

At the March Meeting, Joanne taught us how to dye silk scarves like these with Spectra Art Tissue and a spray bottle with water. This method is safe enough to use with kids.

Joanne provided a Kit (Kit Fee $5) containing 1 silk scarf, an assortment of tissue paper (SpectraArt Tissue Paper).

Other things to bring :

Spray bottle with H2O
paper plate
gallon-size zip-lock bag (to take it home)
rubber gloves
plastic drop cloth / garbage bags to protect the tables

To begin, you just tear the tissue paper into pieces the size you want to use.
Then just lay the tissue paper on the scarf. Spray it with water, so that the color migrates from the tissue to the silk. Keep layering the silk with tissue paper and spray it with water.

It doesn't take long ...

In this picture, you can see the "spent" tissue paper next to the newly dyed silk scarf. All the color has migrated to the silk--which is exactly what we wanted to happen. 

Let the silk scarf dry and then heat set the colors. Joanne used a warm dryer for 10 minutes. You could probably also use a warm iron, too.

Bring your scarves back next month so we can see how they turned out!


Please note : If you try this technique and have problems, please re-read the instructions.  
There's NO vinegar and NO cold (or-hot)-water rinse in this technique.  The scarves are left to air dry on their own, then HEAT SET with DRY Heat (as from an iron or a dryer).  I have several scarves from this session (and later) and I've never had a problem with the colors running.   Just follow the directions ...   [Note added 9/22/2015]


Anonymous said...

I've made many of these but I use a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar to spray on the tissue.

Anonymous said...

Does ironing or putting the scarves in the dryer set the color? I'm concerned the color will run if they get wet.
Also what works best? A blower dryer, clothes dryer or iron?

Michele Matucheski said...

As for heat-setting the dyed scarves, I've used the 10-minutes in a hot dryer method. That works fine. I don't think I'd use a blow dryer--just because of the noise factor. I have not had problems with the color running or bleeding after the scarves have been heat set. That's what's makes this method so amazingly simple!

Anonymous said...

Great, thank you.

ellen said...

I used to do this to dye watercolor paper for further stamping. I would get the tissue from a really cheap and crappy craft store that went out of business. So now I cannot find spectra tissue anywhere...even the Dollar Tree carries a color fast tissue. Where did you find yours and are they online. I live in a beautiful but rural area and shopping is limited.

Michele Matucheski said...

You can buy Spectra Art Tissue online from Dharma Trading Company :


Dick Blick Art Supplies :

ann said...

hi. i'm just starting to do this. i notice that your 1st picture has a folded scarf. is it better to fold or leave the scarf straight? if folded, how many folds does the 'dye' bleed thru?

Michele Matucheski said...

It will bleed through the layers--That's the beauty of this technique. That gives a nice watercolor effect. The thickness of the silk and how much water you use and may also effect how many layers the color "bleeds" through. If you don't want that effect, you could leave it out flat. We were short on space so folding it up worked just fine and produced some nice effects. Experiment and see what works for you!

Ann said...

I can't seem to get the dye to set. I used a dryer followed by a iron. It just keeps seeming to come off.

I'm using 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 water.

Any other ideas?


Michele Matucheski said...

If you read the instructions carefully, there is no vinegar involved at all. Just the Spectra Art Tissue and water.
Leave out the vinegar. It appears to be destabilizing the process.
Could that be the problem?

Also--You need to use Spectra Art Tissue, specifically -- The cheap stuff at the dollar store is NOT the same.

Hope this helps!

Michele Matucheski

I like to learn things... said...

ah ha.

Well, I'll have to try without vinegar the next round.

Yup, got Spectra, name brand.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

So, do you think the the 1 to 2 tsp of vinegar is what caused the problem? on the instructions posted on Dharma web has same slides you have on your page and then it adds Pro Tip: and states to add the vinegar. I love the colors the paper produces but I'm so disappointed in the dye bleeding. I put scarves in dryer 10 min. (didn't prevent bleeding) Dharma said to put in vinegar mixture and put in microwave 2 to 3 minutes 4 to 5 times(and I also repeated it) still bleeding. Now they said to use dyeset. Will this help? I'm so frustrated...I just want the scarves to not bleed so I can give them as gifts.

Michele Matucheski said...

I don't know what to tell you ... We did this long before Dharma picked up the Spectra Art Tissue as a product, and our instructions do NOT include vinegar (though I know that's standard for dying silk and wool). We remarked at the time that it was safe enough to use with kids as no acid was involved. If you let the silk air dry, and the paper fall out naturally (because it's dry, and the color has transferred to the silk), then heat set it--it should be no problem.

Is there extra chlorine in your water, maybe? Try distilled water?

Or maybe Spectra is using a different recipe to manufacture the paper?

Unknown said...

I just dyed a Dharma silk scarf with the Spectra art tissue. I am having the same problem of the color not setting. The scarf looks gorgeous until I put it in cold water. Help................

Michele Matucheski said...

If you read our instructions carefully, these scarves are left to dry naturally, and then are HEAT SET with DRY heat.

There's no vinegar, no rinsing in cold water, and the color stays.

Anonymous said...

This method works great and my art campers got amazing results. Thank you so much.

Knitting Emporium said...

Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Help! I am having the same problem with the colors bleeding. I used the Dharma recipe before I saw yours omitting the vinegar.
The colors were brilliant and beautiful. I heat set in a commercial dryer. The colors were still gorgeous. That was until I did a bleed test in Synthropol. The colors bled terribly and faded.
I hand washed each and every one in Synthropol again and the water ran clear. But I plan to sell these at a fair in 3 days. I did not have the bleed with the Dye-na-flow pieces.
Any suggestions? Retanyl? Thank you.

Michele Matucheski said...

See the note at the end of my posting above. NO Vinegar, NO HOT or COLD Water. Let them dry out on their own, completely. Don't rinse them. Consider them DRY CLEAN ONLY.

Water-soluble dye IS water soluble, after all.

Fran said...

HI, I love the results. I followed your instructions step by step, for this was the first time I have done this. The results are beautiful!!! Thank you!!!!