How to dye a silk scarf with natural dyes

How to dye silk scarves

Hi Creative Mamas! Today I want to share with you the different ways in which you can dye a silk scarf with natural dyes.

Creating natural color is super easy and a hand dyed silk scarf makes for the perfect gift.

a variety of silk scarves dyed using natural dyes

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What kind of dye do you use on silk?

I use natural dyes for all kinds of dyeing. My days of using chemical dyes are over and I have specialized in creating natural color over the last decade.

In this post I will cover my go to techniques that are all part of my natural dyeing practice. These techniques are my favorite ones when it comes to dyeing silk scarves quickly and easily.

Get your FREE natural dyes LIST

Complete the form below to download the FREE list of the best 40 dyes to use in natural dyeing! Save time and frustration!

Natural dyes for natural color

There are so many natural dyes that can be used in silk. The beauty of silk is that it comes in different weaves, thicknesses and textures.

The natural color will take differently depending on how the fabric has been woven and produced.

Below is a range of colored silk scarves that I have hand dyed using logwood, madder, eucalyptus, tumeric and madder combined, onion and cochineal.

a variety of silk scarves dyed using natural dyes

Let’s go through the different ways in which you can hand dye a silk scarf using natural dyes.

Bundle dyeing silk scarves

Bundle dyeing is a great method to use if you are dyeing silk scarves. Making little bundles is very experimental and you don’t need to worry about the color being even.

bundle dyeing a silk scarf using onion skins and leaves

You can play around with different dips and different types of flowers and leaves. You can read all about bundle dyeing here.

bundle dyes silk scraf using iron water and onion skin dye

To make the bundles you will need to know which flowers and leaves to use in order to get nice quality botanical prints.

Download your free ECO PRINT flowers and leaves list

Complete the form below to download the list of the best flowers and leaves to start using in bundle dying and eco printing right away!

Eco printing silk scarves

Similar to bundle dyeing, Eco printing on fabric allows you to get prints from leaves and flowers.

The main difference is that with eco printing you will be able to obtain very precise and clear prints and also play with mixed media such as solar power dips, iron dips and natural dyes.

eco printed silk scraf using coreopsis flowers and iron dip

Steaming the silk scarves

If you are using the traditional hot bath natural dyeing method outlined here you will not be steaming the scarves.

However, if you are eco printing or bundle dyeing the scarves then you will need to steam them for an average time of 60 minutes.

You can experiment with different lengths of times but I have found that 30 minutes is not enough for the print to set and 90 minutes seems to dilute the print because there will inevitable be some water contact in the long process.

bundle dyed silk scarf using iron water and sunflowers

Natural dyes

I have list of 10 best dyes to start working with and I also have an extended list of 40 plus natural dyes that you can work your way though as you become more confident using natural dyes.

All of these dyes will take beautifully to silk fabric and you will not be dissapointed 🙂

White silk scarves

For best results you will want to start from a basic white silk scarf. You can buy them here.

Mordant silk scarves

It’s important that you prepare your silk appropriately and that involves mordanting the silk before you dye it.

Check out this post for an overview of how mordanting works but in the case of silk I only use Alum Sulphate because it’s the most eco friendly and safe option but it also provides us with the best results.

Gift wrapping with silk scarves

Once you have dyed a few silk scarves, you will probably have a some extras. I use my experimental pieces as gift wrapping.

gift wrapping using a dyed silk scarf as the wrapping paper

You can also complement the silk scarves by gift wrapping using eco printed paper as shown in the photo below. Check out eco print paper gift wrapping tutorial here.

upcycled paper bag decorated with eco printed paper. It makes a lovely gift bag

Tie dyeing a silk scarf

Tie dyeing silk scarves is a very clever use of natural dyes. You can combine 2 or 3 different dyes to create tie dye patterns on your scarves.

Check out how to tie dye on fabric using natural dyes.

How do you dye a silk scarf with food coloring?

This is definitely not my are of expertise but check out this tutorial. We spent one afternoon with my daughter experimenting with food dyes to color wool fabric, wool yarn and paper.

Whatever works for wool will work beautifully with silk so if you are keen to try go for it! This is definitely super fun to try with kids!

I hope you have enjoyed this post! Please feel free to reach out with any questions that you may have.

1 thought on “How to dye a silk scarf with natural dyes”

  1. Hi. Beautiful work ! I am just starting to try and dye some scarves as my aunt used to do with Jacquard green label dyes etc….salt effects etc. I was wondering how she signed her name in the corner such that it didn’t smear or bleed. Any thoughts ?


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