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Tie-Dyed Silk Artwork

Kara Corson explains how to tie-dye and frame a beautiful silk piece.

Thanks to Kara Corson for this project.

Materials and Tools:

rubber gloves
measuring spoons
paper funnels
rubber bands
silk fabric
scissors or razor blade
measuring tape
squirt bottles
powder dye
plastic baggies that slide close
paper plate or paper towels
washing machine
raw picture frame molding: have the wood cut at a home improvement store
- 2 pieces cut 16" long with mitered corners
- 2 pieces cut 20" long with mitered corners
spray paint
frame making vice
wood glue
1" nails and hammer
wood putty
acid-free foam board
double-stick tape
pointer gun or framing staple gun
craft paper
screw eyes
single-edge razor blade
picture wire
bumper pads


1. Cut a 17" x 21" piece of silk fabric.

2. Place the silk in a bucket and cover with vinegar for at least 30 minutes.

3. Put on a facemask and rubber gloves to mix the dye.

4. Using paper funnels and measuring spoons, add powder dye, urea, and water into squirt bottles. Shake well.

Figure A

5. Fold, twist and manipulate the fabric however you wish and use rubber bands to secure. Also, use rubber bands to cover the fabric wherever you want to see white fabric (figure A).

6. Put on clean rubber gloves.

Figure B

7. Over a sink with lightly running water (just to keep you and your art clean), apply the dye, in the squirt bottles, to the silk (figure B). Be creative.

8. Squeeze out excess dye and place silk in a plastic baggie. Slide the closure about halfway.

9. Place the baggie on a paper plate or paper towel in the microwave.

10. Microwave for two minutes in 30 second intervals. During intervals, open the microwave to release a little steam. This process is setting most of the color.

11. Start a small load, short/medium cycle on the cold setting in a washing machine. Remove the silk from the baggie and toss it into the washer.

Figure C

12. After the cycle, remove the silk, remove the rubber bands (figure C).

Figure D

Open the piece and admire it for a few seconds (figure D).

13. Repeat step 11, only this time add a drop of detergent.

Figure E

14. When finished but still wet to damp, iron on a low setting (silk setting if available) (figure E). This is the final process and finishes setting the dyes.


15. To make the frame, place one 16 inch and one 20 inch piece of wood molding in a frame making vice with the mitered corners together and tighten.

Figure F

16. Loosen one side, apply wood glue liberally and return the wood to the vice. Tighten the vice (figure F).

17. Hammer two nails into one side only. Let the glue set for a few minutes.

18. Repeat for all four corners until the frame is completed.

19. Spray paint the frame to match the silk or with black paint. Let the frame dry.

20. Measure and cut out a 16" x 20" piece of foam board.

Figure H

21. Attach double-stick tape on the back edges of the foam board (figure H), wrap the silk around the frame.

Figure I

Fold the corners similar to wrapping a present (figure I).

22. Lay the frame upside down on a table and place the now-mounted artwork facedown in the frame.

Figure J

23. Secure the silk art to the inside of the frame with a pointer gun or stapler (figure J).

24. Place double-stick tape around the edges of the frame.

Figure K

25. Cover the back of the frame with craft paper to prevent dust from filtering through the back. Trim the craft paper using a razor blade (figure K).

26. Measure a third of the way down from the top on each side of the frame and make screw holes with the awl.

27. Twist screw eyes into these holes until secure.

Figure L

28. String picture wire between the screw eyes, making sure the wire is fairly tight (figure L).

29. Attach bumper pads in the bottom two corners.

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