June 10, 2014

DIY: indigo tie dye silk scarf

It's indigo-go time!  We're swooning over tie dye goodies this summer - from bathing suits to coverups to denim anything, really.  It's been around for ages and is making a raging comeback, which we love!   Although you can use any color dye, indigo is hands down my favorite.  It's such a rich and powerful color which is perfect for the watercolor-y faded in and out look of the patterns.  

Inspired by this shibori sarong at Anthropologie, I decided I wanted to dye a large silk scarf that I could use at the beach or pool as a cover up or head scarf.  Multi-use anything is always a bonus in our book!

It's also really fun deciding on which pattern you want and setting up the fabric to achieve the look.  There are so many to choose from - I did diagonal stripes and one with circles all over.  Be careful - I found myself searching through my entire closet for anything I could get my hands on to dye!


- Indigo tie dye kit (Amazon, $12)
- Rubber gloves, rubber bands, wood pieces (included in kit)
- 5 gallon bucket with lid (Lowes, $5)
- White silk scarf or other natural fabric piece (cotton, wool, linen, rayon) (Amazon, $18) - avoid polyester!
- A long wooden stick for stirring
- An aluminum pan or other container to put the fabric pieces in after dying


- Follow the directions in the indigo kit in order to mix the dye.  For this kit, I filled the 5 gallon bucket with lukewarm water and mixed in the indigo dye powder.  Then, pour in the soda ash and reducing agent and continue stirring slowly.  Finish by giving it a stir in the opposite direction.  Make sure to handle the mixture slowly and carefully as you are trying to not oxidize the dye.  Cover with the lid and let sit for roughly and hour.

- Prep your fabric by folding and tying the piece with rubber bands.  There are tons of different patterns and methods of folding/bunching in order to achieve the look you want.  The tie dye kit has a few options/illustrations and you can find a few more here.  I used a diagonal accordion fold for this look.  Then, thoroughly wet the fabric after folding/tying it and squeeze any excess water out.

- After setting, the mixture will have a dark foamy layer on top, and yellow-greenish liquid underneath. You'll move the top layer aside in order to dye your fabric pieces.

- Continue to squeeze any water out of the fabric while you dip it in the dye (in order to avoid oxidizing the mixture).  Keep it submerged but not touching the bottom of the bucket.  You'll work the fabric in the dye for a few minutes.  When ready to remove, squeeze the fabric under water before slowly lifting it out.  

- You can then place the piece of fabric in your container while it oxidizes and turns blue - roughly 20 minutes.  Repeat the process however many times you'd like in order to get a deeper shade of blue. 

- Once finished, un-bind the fabric.  Wash in cold water with no detergent.  Afterwards, air/line dry and then iron in order to set the color.

- The bucket of dye will actually last a few days and dye a good amount of fabric (up to 5 pounds - yowsas!).

happy tie-dying!
xoxo, NB

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