I love ties. When I’m trolling local thrift stores I always have to stop by the tie rack and see what lovelies I can find. Until recently I really didn’t know what to do with them but add them to my stash. I thought about cutting them up and making something, but then I ran across this idea – dyeing silk with these lovely ties.
I found a tutorial in Quilting Arts October/November 2010 issue, but didn’t find much information online so I thought I’d share my tutorial.
So here is what these silk scarves look like dyed with silk ties.
First of all you need to use silk ties and silk fabric. This technique will not work on any other fabric.
You will need the following:
- silk ties
- silk scarf or fabric
- cotton fabric cut a little larger than the fabric you are dyeing
- string, rubber bands, or sinew
- pot for water
- weight for holding down fabric in pot
Place cotton fabric on table and lay the silk fabric face up on top of it. In this tutorial I used a previously dyed scarf which also works. In fact, the middle scarf in the above picture of three was a mistake and the ties covered my mistakes! But you can start with just a white one too. I didn’t iron this scarf before “dyeing” it, but you might want to do that.
Pin the halfway mark of your silk. Now cut the ties and place them face down on the silk up to that pin. You can cut and place the ties anyway you want to.
Now, bring the other half of the silk over the ties.
And then cover that silk with the cotton.
Now starting at the open end, roll up the fabric.
Then tie up. I use sinew because it’s what I use for other dyeing. If you don’t have sinew you can use anything that will keep this bundle tied.
Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Add 2 – 3 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar to the water and then place the fabric bundle in the water. To keep the bundle from floating, place some type of weight on top of it. Anything you use for dyeing should never be used again for cooking.
Let it cook for 20 minutes, then take out of the water and put directly on a towel. Don’t rinse it. Cut the ties and open your surprise.
Hang the scarf until dry and then heat set with an iron. I also then hand wash again, dry, and iron to make sure there is no vinegar smell and that I feel the dye has set.
Here is the result from that dyeing.
Here are some closeups of my other scarves. This first scarf was the scarf that I had previously dyed and didn’t like. The ties covered up my mistakes.
The following two scarves were white to start.
It’s a fun technique. Be sure you use ties that are dark. Light ties won’t dye. The ties also have to be silk. Supposedly the ties can be reused a couple times, so I have a bin of them waiting.
If you try this, I’d love to see your results. Have a creative rest of the week.
UPDATE: See my new tutorial on dyeing silk scarves with ties HERE.
Lynda, this is a great idea! Thanks so much for writing the tutorial… now I must visit the local thrift shops for sure!
You are so welcome. Such a fun technique.
Lynda-This is so cool and looks so easy…I may be raiding my husband’s closet!
Thank you! I’ve saved a few Garcia ties because I love the pattern and colors. Always thought I’d like to make something from them, as men’s ties just don’t fit with my clothing. Now, this!, is a terrific idea. I will let you know when I get something finished.
Julie, It is sooo cool!
Luann, Would love to see what you create. Just make sure the ties are dark and realize not all the dye in the ties will transfer. Yes, I’d love to see what you do with this technique!
Loved your tutorial. Does all the color come out of the silk ties? Can the silk ties be used for something else or just toss them? Thank you.
This is just amazing! Would be a great thing to do with ties from a father or other loved one that has passed away. A way to have something from them that they wore a lot. I so love this.
I just LOVE how these all turned out! So much fun!!!
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Carla, That is EXACTLY what I was thinking!!
Lisa, Thanks! I was really happy with them.
Hi Pam. Thanks. I’ve not tried using them again, but in the QA article it said they could be used again since not all of the dye comes out of them. If you didn’t want to use them to dye again, they could be sewn into a project. They still are colorful.
Awesome! I read the same article, and have a stash of ties that I purchased to try this process. You have prompted me to ” just do it!”
Judy, Great! I’d love to see your results!
This looks very interesting! Presumably the dye in the ties is not fixed very well…
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LOVE -LOVE the results!
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Sandra, I don’t know. I want to try this with some silk fabric to see if it works the same way. Must have something to do with the hot water and vinegar.
Lynda, these are wonderful, what fun! I’ll be visiting my local thrift shop very soon to scout out some ties.
Diane, Can’t wait to see what you come up with!
I have dyed silk scarves with acid dyes before (boiling with vinegar and dye). This makes me wonder if the dye would come out if they would again be boiled with vinegar, I assumed the vinegar was the fixative… It will be interesting to see if the ties will contain enough “loose” dye to be used again in this way.
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Sandra, I really don’t understand it. I am posting later today showing a comparison of a scarf with new ties and reused ties. There was enough to dye again.
Love this technique! Had a hint to share, though: don’t trust that all ties marked 100% silk really are! Found out the hard way. So now I snip off a piece of all of the new ties I get at the thrift store and do a test run to make sure they will really release dye onto the silk before I create a whole project on a scarf. THANK YOU FOR YOUR WONDERFUL POSTS!
Hi Paulette, Great tip! Thanks. You are so welcome and thank you for dropping by.
Lynda, how cool is this! Can you use the ties more than once or is the dyeing a one shot deal?
Can you use dupioni silk for the scarf? I’ve seen that at Joann fabrics.
Annette, You can use them more than once but they’re not as bright. Check out my post today where I have scarves side by side to compare dyeing with a new tie vs the used tie.
Annette, I would think any silk would work as long as it’s not real textured.
Love your posts, Lynda. Ok, so I’ve purchased the ties and I’m set to go, but slightly confused. In photo # 4 you say to place the ties face down on the silk. But the photo shows the pattern face up. What am I missing?
Gert, Hi! Glad you’re going to do this and sorry to confuse you. In picture 4 you are looking at the backs of the ties. You can see the loop which is on the back of the tie. So place the front of your ties face down and then continue. Does that make sense? If not, let me know. I’d love to see your scarves.
A new technique I didn’t know of…I guess my sister was wrong, she said I knew everything, ha! Thank you for post!
Shirley, You are so welcome! Hope you try this. So much fun and easy.
Hi Lynda, I’ve been dyeing scarves for several months now. I want to thank you for you posting, it got me going. I’m having good luck selling them. Enjoy your holidays.
Diane, So glad you’ve been having luck selling them and you are so welcome. Happy Holidays!
I have been dyeing this way for a few months now. I usually give these as gifts since I really just a beginner. Recently gave one for a local blind auction and it sold for $30. So pleased.
Linda, That is awesome! I also gave a couple for an auction but never heard what happened. Guess I need to follow up and see how much they brought. I also sell these at a local artist shop. They are so different and so easy to make. Thanks for dropping by.
I tried this with silk dupioni, but I didn’t care for the results. Silk dupioni doesn’t dye through to the other side, and it is quite heavy for a scarf. (and very expensive!) I found the most beautiful scarf “blanks” at http://www.dharmatrading.com. They have a huge selection, and they are very reasonable. I got silk chiffon and it dyed beautifully! Silk chiffon is semi transparent and light as a cloud.
Mary, Yes, Silk dupioni and also raw silk are way too heavy to use for this technique. Yes, Dharma is the place to get scarves. I get all of my scarves from them and prefer their Habotai for this technique. Thanks for dropping by and commenting.
I have been dyeing eggs w silk ties for several years and have been thinking that there would be a way to dye silk with the ties as there is so much dye in the neck ties. I am glad you figured this out, but I have a couple of questions. It appears that you have not taken the tie apart. Is that correct? Also should you wrap from the center out to the end? And last, Do you think this would work if it is rolled on a piece of PVC pipe that would fit in the pot? (When I do the eggs the silk must be tightly against the egg, and I use dental floss wrapped tightly around the end) I love this idea and your scarves are beautiful. Thanks!
No, I did take the ties completely apart including removing the stabilizer. I wrapped from the end up to the center because I felt it kept the ties from moving. You sure could do it from the center to the ends. I think wrapping on a pvc pipe would work, but just like your eggs, the ties needs to be tight against the silk. Thanks for dropping by and if you care to share your results, I’d love to see them.
Hi, just wondering, do you have to use a clean piece of cotton, each time you dye a new scarf? I wondered if you could use the cotton more than once. Thank you
Terry, I use the same piece of cotton over and over again. It’s a fun technique. Thanks for dropping by.
Hello, thank you for sharing information about this dying technique. I have tried it and sucesfully. I took ponge5 silk. Have you tried on another kind silk?
Egle, I’ve only used Habotai Silk, but I think it would work with most thinner silks. Thanks for dropping by.
Maybe someone can help me. I tried this but the dye from the neckties came out very light on the scarf. Any suggestions as to what I am doing wrong?
Jeri, Check out my newer tutorial on dyeing with silk ties. In that post I show the different tie colors and what colors you get. I recommend doing a sample dye to see how the ties actually dye the silk. Here is the link. It could be your tie colors just weren’t dark enough. Hope this helps. https://lyndaheines.blog/2016/09/10/dyeing-scarves-with-silk-ties-revisited/
Can the scarves that’ve been dyed survive a machine wash and dry?
Aliya, I would not put any silk scarves in the washing machine. All you need to do put a little dishwashing soap in a container of warm water and let the scarf sit in it for a short while and then rinse. If it’s not dirty, just rinse it out. Then blot with a towel until you have most of the water out. You can either iron it dry then or hang it to dry and iron it later. I would not put any silk in the washing machine or the dryer. Hope that helps. Thanks for stopping by.