How to Dye Silk Drapes
Silk is actually an easy fabric to dye. The material inherently holds color well, and a high-quality dye will produce rich, gorgeous hues that are sure to complement your home's decor. The process to dyeing silk drapes is not so different than dyeing silk shirts or scarves.
Just make sure that the lining of your silk drapes, if there is one, has been removed before you attempt the dyeing process. Always do a test strip first to make sure the color of the dye will come out as you intended before dyeing all your drapes.
Wash the silk drapes in lukewarm water to remove any chemicals left over from the manufacturing process. You can do this in your bathtub.
Fill a large stainless steel or enamel pot with enough water for one drape to soak in. Remember that you are dying one drape at a time. Place on the stove-top and turn on the heat to medium.
As the water heats up, consider how much dye you will need to use. This varies with the brand, so check your dye manufacturer's label, but typically, you need 1/3 to 2/3 of an ounce of dye for every 1 pound of silk.
Add the appropriate amount of dye for one silk drape into the pot. Stir thoroughly, then add the first silk drape (still wet from when you first washed it in the bathtub).
Adjust the temperature of your stove until the water thermometer registers 185 to 200 degrees.
Push the fabric over to one side of the pot and then pour in 1/4 cup of vinegar, avoiding the fabric as best you can.
Maintain the water at 185 to 200 degrees for half an hour and stir frequently.
Remove your drapes from the pot and wash in a stainless steel sink or large plastic bucket with Synthrapol or another professional textile detergent of your choice.
Repeat as needed, and always allow your drapes to dry flat so the fabric doesn't stretch with the weight of the water.
Things You Will Need
- Silk dye (reliable brands include Dharma Trading and Procion)
- Large stainless steel or enamel pot
- Water thermometer
- 1 16-oz. bottle of vinegar (less or more depending on the size and number of drapes)
- Professional textile detergent (such as Synthrapol)
Based in Chicago, Annie Wang has been writing since 2008. Her work has appeared in World Architecture News and other online publications. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and art history from the University of California, Davis.