I didn't mean to disappear for a month. It was an avalanche. Easter eggs, a spring party, and finally, a Halloween photo shoot. There was so much crafting, the more leisurely pace of February is a welcome relief. A relief I celebrate...by making more things. This time it's Valentine's Day, one of my favorite holidays to craft for. All the red and hearts and sparkle...I can never resist.
I learned how to dye silk scarves with color bleed tissue at an Anthropologie workshop I went to at the end of last summer. It felt like grade school (in a good way) and our masterpieces were completed in under an hour. One of my favorite parts of crafting in groups is seeing individual interpretations of the same materials. It always feels like magic.
I was pretty happy with my original scarf that felt like a mix of tie dye and watercolor, but I knew there would be further experimentations, so this time I worked with a more controlled application to see what I would get. The end result is the most beautiful coral pink, with subtle variations throughout, a shade I could never have produced with just one color of tissue. It's perfect for Valentine's Day (or an antidote to winter, the welcoming of spring, Mother's Day, or just because).
The directions below are tailored to this specific design. But once you know the basic technique of layering tissue and silk (which is nothing, really), you can experiment with all kinds of designs. A single pack of multi-color tissue goes a very long way and the scarves themselves are inexpensive. If you're feeling indecisive before you begin, buy an extra scarf and cut it into pieces. That way you can experiment with colors and layouts before you begin.
Choose your colors and tear the tissue into pieces (Think about your pattern to determine how to tear the tissue. Because I was covering the entire scarf and working in a striped pattern, I mostly tore my paper into strips.)
Starting at one end of the scarf, begin covering the fabric with pieces of tissue (a single layer of tissue is sufficient unless it's a very pale color, in which case I double up).
Continue adding tissue to the scarf in vertical rows.
After a portion of the scarf has been covered, you will fold the scarf so that it covers the tissue layer, as shown below.
Continue covering the scarf with tissue, matching the pattern of the colors to the layer below. Fold the scarf over the second layer of tissue and add the last layer of tissue until the entire scarf has been covered.
Once the scarf has been covered with tissue, use a spray bottle and liberally spray the entire area with water. Use your fingers (if you don't wear gloves your hands will get dyed, but can be washed off fairly easily) and work the tissue into the cloth. Gently turn the scarf over and make sure the water and tissue are worked in there as well.
Let the scarf sit for about 5 minutes (or until most of the color has been transferred off the tissue, then begin to remove all the tissue paper (not shown).
Once the tissue has been removed, hang the scarf to dry (do not rinse), placing a few paper towels underneath the scarf if it's particularly wet). You can air dry or use a hair dryer to speed up the process.
As the scarf dries you can begin to see the subtle color variations. When the scarf is fully dry, heat set the dye by ironing your scarf.
That's it. So easy, you'll want to make more! (See this post for a multi-colored approach.)
Resources: Spectra Bleeding Art Tissue Paper (colorfast tissue will not work); I used this 15x72-inch silk scarf from Thai Silks (other sizes available), but you may find even better deals at Dharma Trading. (Dharma also carries the same bleeding art tissue, which may be a more economical choice if you're ordering the scarves from them.)