Tie Dye, a Colour Adventure on silk

Tie dye by Marina Elphick
Tie dyed and “scrunch” dyed silk scarves hand made by Marina Elphick
Tie dyed silk in wonderfully bright colours by Marina Elphick, batik artist and painter.
Tie dyed silk in shades of jade green, blue and magenta by Marina Elphick.
Tie dye by Marina Elphick
All the colours of a rainbow and endless designs achieved fairly randomly.

For some reason many people get tie dye and batik muddled up; the techniques really are two quite different approaches to colouring, patterning and painting on fabric. There is one similarity however and that is they both involve a resist.

Tie dye on silk, Marina Elphick
Purples, blues and turquoise

Batik uses hot wax, which is applied on to the fabric with brushes or cantings and sets instantly, resisting any cold water based dye. Layer after layer of wax and dye achieves rich and diverse colours, the resist allowing designs and images to be made by controlling the spread of the dye.

The Tie dye method uses binding as the resist. This simple idea can produce an amazingly intricate array of patterns and designs and can be repeated to achieve more colours and bolder patterns. Various binding cord can be used, twine, nylon cord or string, binding tightly and securely is important to make a good resist.

Tie dyed silk in wonderfully bright colours by Marina Elphick, batik artist and painter.
Shades of red and magenta in these tie dyed silks.
Tie dye
Silk scarf bound with elastic bands, soaking in a water and vinegar solution before dyeing.

I chose a relatively quick method of binding my silks scarves with elastic bands. These can be wound quite tightly on dry silk and later removed easily once dyed. Also they can be re-used .

Acid dyes are used to dye silk, wool and protein fibres, the item to be dyed needs to soak in a solution of one part distilled vinegar to two parts water for 10 minutes before dyeing. This lowers the pH of the dye making it slightly acidic, helping the dye molecules bond to the protein fibres.

When 10 minutes have passed gently squeeze the residual vinegar solution off the scarf and lay it either on cling film or in an oven proof dish. it is always good to protect the surface you are using and to wear rubber gloves.

 

Mix a small amount of dye with hand hot water and add a little boiling hot water to dissolve the dye granules. Apply to the scarf with a dropper or soft paint brush. Seal with cling film and place in an oven proof dish with a small bowl of water to provide steam and stop the scarf from burning.

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Dyed scarf ready for microwaving for 5 minutes
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Carefully remove from microwave and peel back cling film wearing oven gloves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To fix the dye the silk scarf needs to be microwaved for 5 minutes on full power. Be very careful removing the cling film, hot steam will be released.

Tie dyed silk in wonderfully bright colours by Marina Elphick, batik artist and painter.
Dyed silk after microwaving

 

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Rinse scarf in cold water then wash with soap liquid in warm water.

 

 

After steaming in the microwave rinse in cool water, the water should be clear. Next wash the scarf in soapy water and rinse a few more times to remove any dye or smell of vinegar. Acid dyes are strong and colourfast.

Tie dye by Marina Elphick

Once dry I used a medium hot iron to smooth out the crinkles.

Tie dyed silk in wonderfully bright colours by Marina Elphick, batik artist and painter.
Magenta, yellow and blue dyes have combined to make this fiery hand dyed scarf, by Marina Elphick

 

Tie dyed silk in wonderfully bright colours by Marina Elphick, batik artist and painter.
A second tie dye achieved the wavy magenta and red stripes. A Fun and fascinating technique  to “play” with.

 

 

Tie dyed silk in wonderfully bright colours by Marina Elphick, batik artist and painter.
I think I will call this one Photosynthesis, the greens appear to be absorbing light.
Tie dyed silk in wonderfully bright colours by Marina Elphick, batik artist and painter.
Tie dyed silk scarf in shades of green.
Tie dyed silk in wonderfully bright colours by Marina Elphick, batik artist and painter.
Blues, aqua and purple feature in this design.
Tie dyed silk in wonderfully bright colours by Marina Elphick, batik artist and painter.
The marks made by the binding can be seen clearly in the design above.

Various Tie dyed patterns achieved by random bindings with elastic bands.

Tie dyed silk in wonderfully bright colours by Marina Elphick, batik artist and painter.
Hanging in the window they remind me of stained glass, the colours all the more vivid for the light.
Tie dye detail
An accidental design, the beauty of tie dye.

 

Tie dyed silk in wonderfully bright colours by Marina Elphick, batik artist and painter.
Magenta and ice blue dyes create this striking design, by Marina Elphick.

 

Tie dyed silk in wonderfully bright colours by Marina Elphick, batik artist and painter.
A second dye of magenta over a bound area of pale turquoise lifted this design. It is one of my favourites. It can be seen on the far left in the image below.
Tie dyed silk in wonderfully bright colours by Marina Elphick, batik artist and painter.
12 of the 16 silk scarves I made in 2 days. Productive I think.

 

Tie dyed silk in wonderfully bright colours by Marina Elphick, batik artist and painter.
The breeze is making them ” dance”.
Tie dyed silk in wonderfully bright colours by Marina Elphick, batik artist and painter.
Oops ! I better go and catch them….
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2 thoughts on “Tie Dye, a Colour Adventure on silk

  1. Hi Marina

    I hope you are well. At least I know that you are very busy producing beautiful artwork. Your latest post is interesting but I loved your previous post showing your amazing talent, the detail of your work. And you have been travelling to beautiful places. You are really amazing.

    I hope all is well with you and your family. We at WIH carry on singing and our group has increased to more than 30 now and I still enjoy it very much.

    Love

    Martine X

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

  2. Beautiful work Marina and so well displayed. Your excellent explanations and photos of the processes of tie- dye are superb but to the layperson still seem a lot of work.
    I’m sure it will be an inspiration to many. Well done and thank you for this most interesting post.

    Like

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