Inspired Art and Living with Fiona Stolze

Dying Silk Boxer Shorts for Fun

Hand dyes silk boxer shirts by Fiona Stolze

Silk boxer shirts - back

This has to be about the messiest, fun-est thing I have done with silk in a long time. I was digging through all my supplies (and yes, I have rather a lot of things related to silk painting in my studio) and discovered that I still had 3 premade silk boxer shorts in their original packaging. Men’s XL boxer shorts.  Well, they weren’t much use to anyone wrapped up on my shelf, so I lifted them down, took the first pair out of the cellophane and got to work.

I’ll be honest with you. I was in the mood for some light-hearted fun and so didn’t lay down any plastic sheeting. Nor did I put on rubber gloves. I randomly picked 2 shades from my dye cupboard, selected a few brushes, filled a tub of dilutant and that was me ready to go.

First thing I did was soak the boxer shorts with dilutant. Next I folded them in half, marked a spot in the centre, which I held down with one finger and then began to rotate the silk around this, forming a loose spiral. I didn’t take care that this was neatly done. I just kept on twisting and roughly pushing the silk in place until it was all in one big piece.

Next I wanted to tie it up a bit, but I had forgotten to lay out some wool. So I scooped up my twisted silk package and began digging

Dyed silk boxer shorts by Fiona Stolze

Dyed silk boxer shorts - front

on the lowest shelf behind some plastic bags for something I could use to wrap up the silk. I found some nice terracotta yarn I had abandoned a long time back when I ‘stopped’ knitting and managed to unravel enough with one hand and cut loose a length I could use to tie up the shorts. By this time the shorts had sort of loosened up and so when I began winding the yarn around them, there was no real method left in it at all.

But that just added to the element of chaos and eventual surprise I when I finished.

Okay, I managed to secure a knot and lay the package on the table. It had a very odd, abstract shape and was just inviting me to splash it all over with bright dyes. Which I did. And it was great fun. There was dye everywhere, not to mention my hands. It was such a far cry from my usual very precise and detailed work. Rather therapeutic, I might add. 🙂

Right, now all I had to do was gently squeeze the bundle to ensure the dye would spread through to all the layers hidden within. But it wasn’t going to do that and I could see lots of white areas peeping through. So I decided not to add any more dye as this would give quite a pretty look. I really love it when the white background shows through on my scarves, too. It sort of adds another dimension and brings in much more light.

One thing this squeezing did do though was to spread more dye on my hands. I was certainly doing a thorough job. Good job I didn’t have to go anywhere later on….or the next day, come to think of it.

Okay, so far, so good. I then continued with my chaos and decided not let the shorts lie so that the dye could continue to work through the silk. I just undid the wool and opened it up.

And I must admit, I rather liked the outcome. I hung the boxer shorts on a coat hanger and they are still hanging like that now. I’ll be leaving them overnight and tomorrow I’ll steam them along with some other bits and pieces I have. I might even add some gold patterning. Just see what takes my fancy.


And 24 hours have now magically passed by and in the meantime I’ve steamed, washed and ironed the shorts. You can have a look at the Etsy listing here. And as for my hands, the photograph didn’t  do them justice so I’ve not included it here. They are actually twice as intense in real life. Today’s Wednesday. Hopefully by Saturday they’ll be looking almost normal again.

I’m dying to do the other two pairs now. A project for the weekend.


July 14, 2010 - Posted by | EXPERIMENTS IN SILK | , , , , , , ,


  1. Very neat and creative way of making your own boxer shorts. I will have to copy you to do some with my grandkids.

    Comment by Randoll | July 23, 2010 | Reply

  2. Thanks so much for this cool idea.

    Comment by Jirud | September 21, 2010 | Reply

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