Experiments with silk


scaft final1
scarf final2 new I wanted to try painting on silks for a very long time; I love to flow of colours which can be achieved on the medium. When I finally managed to get my hands on the all the equipment I was more than eager to give it a try. This DIY shows my journey as I made my first silk scarfs using acid dyes and water based gutta.

You will need:

Silk (length dependent on what you want to make from it)

Silk dyes (I have used acid dyes)

Gutta (I used water based)

Gutta applicator bottle

A frame to stretch the fabric

Acid/ vinegar (to set the colors permanent)

Some brushes

A few containers

Some old newspapers

A gas steamer

And basic stationary

The design


Decide upon the design which you want on the fabric. I went with a simple ogee pattern, and transferred the design onto a sheet of paper. I used this paper to trace the pattern onto my fabric.

Trace the design

As silk is translucent, I kept the paper under it to the trace the outlines. As silk is very slippery, secure it properly before tracing to make sure that the fabric does not move.

Apply gutta


Transfer some gutta into a nozzle bottle. Go over the lines with gutta. Gutta lines prevent the dyes to flow outside them. Water based gutta can be washed out after the dyes have been steamed. Wait for atleast 30 mins for the gutta to dry before proceeding ahead.

Mix the dye


Read the instructions on the dyes, and make a solution of dye in water. Dyes are usually very potent and strong so while making the solution start with a small quantity of dye and keep adding more colour till you achieve the desirable hue.

Paint the fabric


Now for the the fun part, take the dye and paint inside the patterns created. The dye would naturally flow and cover the whole area marked by gutta. Make sure that the fabric is stretched completely while painting. If there is any rapture in gutta lines the colour would flow out. My dye changed its colour after drying, to prevent this you can first test the colour on a separate fabric before using it on the final design.

Wrap the fabric

Once the fabric is dry, it has to be steamed to set the colours permanent. For this warp the fabric in newspaper. Make sure that the fabric does not touch itself, as colour would transfer at those points.

Steam it

I have used a gas steamer to steam my fabric. Check the dye instructions to know how much acid is required for the dyes. Steam it for 40- 50 mins.

Its done!

After the fabric is steamed, wash it thoroughly in water so that all the gutta is washed off. I later finished the edges by tasseling them.

Experiment 2

After the success of the first scarf, I tried a little more complex design for my second scarf. And I just love the final result!

I can’t wait to wear them now! 🙂



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