Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Acid dyeing

I have been having a lot of fun experimenting with dyeing wraps, and one of my favourite techniques is acid dyeing a silk blend wrap.  If you use an acid dye (as opposed to a normal fabric dye), you can create really fun effects, as the acid dye will only dye the silk, and not the cotton or linen in a wrap. (Acid dye will also dye wool, but I wouldn't recommend dyeing wool unless you are very experienced in dyeing, as the wool can felt really easily).
My first acid dye project was Oscha JKCC, which is a blend of 40% silk, 20% linen and 40% cotton, and originally looked like this:

I washed my wrap first and then used Jacquard Acid dye, and followed the instructions on the Jacquard website here.

After 'cooking' my wrap in the correct amount of dye and vinegar (the vinegar is the 'acid' part, of acid dyeing), I then rinsed it in the sink and washed it in the washing machine.  The vinegar is the fixative, which makes the dye attach to the silk, but doesn't make the dye attach to the cotton or linen, which is why acid dyeing only works with the silk.  When wet it then looked like this:

After drying overnight, it looked like this:

Acid dyeing is really straightforward if you just follow the instructions that come with the acid dye, and make sure that you wash it until the water runs clear in the washing machine, so that you know you've removed all of the excess dye.  I've found that the dye will often slightly tint the cotton or linen in the wrap, so be aware of what colours you are putting together, as some colours will create a sludgy brown colour when mixed (e.g. red and green).  Also be aware that the effect of the acid dye will depend on how much silk is in the wrap.  The JKCC above had quite a high percentage of silk (40%), so the dyed silk will produce quite a strong colour.  However, some wraps may only contain 20% silk, so the effects will not be as vivid (although could still be very pretty).


  1. Thanks for the description and pics! The color turned out very pretty, it looks lovely on you, especially in the last photo ))
    Could you please tell how much the wrap's width shrank after dying? (I'm thinking of acid dying my triblend Vanilla Roses)


  2. Hi Lena,
    Thanks for your comment! :) I actually forgot to measure the wrap before I dyed it, but I don't think it particularly shrank. It still wraps like a size 7 wrap. I'm also waiting for some Vanilla Roses to acid dye - I can't wait! I'll make sure I measure the roses before dyeing, so I can let you know whether they shrank :)
    Best wishes, Samantha.

    1. Thank you )) I look forward to more news about dyeing silk )) My kids tend to grow very tall, that's why I'm especially interested in wraps' width, so, kids don't fall out of them.