Inspired Art and Living with Fiona Stolze

Revamp a Silk Scarf and Give it a New Lease of Life

I was just wondering if you have any silk scarves lying around at home that you attempted to dye and just weren’t happy with. Or maybe you’ve put some dye on them and they’re become a little faded. Well, I just wanted to let you know what I’ve been doing to one of my scarves. I’ve revamped it, given it a fabulous new lease of life. And it looks really snazzy. So how did I do it?

I simply added some new layers of dye on the colour that was already there. The one I worked on was plain blue with some white shimmers showing through. I had had it lying around for a while and for some reason didn’t really like the look of it.

So I gave it a good soak, got out the plastic sheeting and added some bright shades of blues and turquoises. The finished product was bundled up into the microwave and cooked for 5 minutes again.

Redyed silk scarf

And here you can see what it looked like when it came out. Pretty cool, eh? Well, I think so and I’m sure it’s something you could do to spice up a dull accessory in your wardrobe.

When the festive season is over I’m going to post some photos and more details so that you can go ahead and do this for yourself.

But in the meantime, have a fabulous Christmas. Enjoy your break, just enjoy being and have fun.

I’ll look forward to seeing you very soon.

December 23, 2010 Posted by | EXPERIMENTS IN SILK | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Create a Beautiful Designer Silk Scarf Using Your Microwave

That’s quite an odd title coming from me, isn’t it? If you’ve been following a lot of my writing here and on other sites, you’ll know that I’m a real believer in good quality steaming for silk painting. But….in view of the fact that not everyone has the time, space and funds for this whole process, I thought I would share with you some of my escapades with microwaving. So here’s how I’ve been doing it.

The first problem I had with microwaving was that I didn’t own a microwave oven. I’m not going into the details here, but I prefer to cook all my food by conventional means. Okay, so that meant I had to go off to Morrisson’s and luckily they had a really basic model which suited my needs. Two dials for timing and heat. That’s all you need for what I’m going to share with you.

Materials for microwaving a silk scarf

You’re also going to need some silk dyes, remember, the ones that are specifically for steam fixing. Not the paints which you set by heat. Read the labels on the bottles if you are unsure, or ask the shop assistant for help. You’ll also need a plain white scarf with rolled edges that you can add the dyes to.

Before you start you’ll need to get a bowl, add a mixture of 2 parts water and one part vinegar, then soak your silk scarf in this for at least 15 minutes. This will improve the dying process and ensure you get lovely bright colours that last.

You then take the silk out of the bowl, squeeze it out gently and lay it out on a surface covered with plastic sheeting. Have the dyes and brushes you’d like to use at hand, and you’re ready to go.

Tie some knots into the wet silk

There is one other thing I need to point out – you will get very messy hands doing this unless you put on some rubber gloves. Which I never do, but I’m passing on this tip to you if you don’t want to run around with ghoulish fingers and nails for the next few days. 🙂

What you do next is completely up to your own imagination. You are going to start adding dyes to your heart’s content. Pick a nice colour range that would suit you and this will ensure the colours don’t clash. Splash them on with big brushes randomly. Or you can scrunch the silk up and dribble the dyes into the silk. Or what about folding it up and then painting the colours on in patterns? The example I’ve shown here is tying loose knots in the silk before applying the dye. The good news is that I’m in the process of putting together a video we took of me demonstrating this technique at a fair back in the summer, so you can copy what I did to get you started, if you like.

The important thing is that you keep the silk nice and wet so that you can properly ‘cook’ it afterwards.


Place the silk scarf in the bowl ready to microwave

Right, now you’re going to lift your silk and place it into a microwaveable dish. Don’t worry if the silk gets a little scrunched here too as your finished scarf will have an abstract pattern to it anyway. What I do next is get a piece of clingfilm and stretch this over the dish – I think it’s called Ceran wrap in the USA (that’ll save a few emails).  – ah, thanks Muffy. It’s Saran wrap. 🙂 One thing you need to do at this point is prick a hole in the foil. And if you don’t do this? The foil will bulge up and may explode….making a bit of a mess.

Now we’re going to place the covered dish in the microwave for 5 minutes at a medium-high setting.

Use this time to go back and wipe your plastic covered surface clean. The last thing you want is to have dye spillage messing up your finished scarf. Or you can just lift the sheeting to one side and put it out of harm’s reach. This may sound like Kindergarten stuff, but it’s one of the main causes of people messing up their lovely silks after all the work is done. So, I just thought I’d throw it in again here.


Finished effect of tying knots in the silk scarf

Right, the 5 minutes are up, so remember to use some sort of cloth or glove to lift out the hot dish. Carefully remove the foil and lift out the wet scarf.

Yes, it will still be totally wet at this point but the dye is fixed so the wetness only comes from water.

Now all that is left for you to do is hang up the silk to dry. Later you can rinse it in warm water with a touch of mild shampoo to remove any excess dye and then dab it with a towel. Iron the silk dry from the reverse with a medium hot iron. Another thing you can do for a really fashionable look is twist the wet silk and leave it to  dry. That will give you the look you can see in this final photo.


A gorgeous designer silk scarf

And there you are, ready to go. You’re now the proud owner of your very first original silk scarf. I don’t know about you, but I think this is a great way to make yourself something gorgeous in such a short space of time.

Do watch out for the video I’ll be posting in the next day or two, so that you can see the whole process in action. Have fun and let me know how things work out for you. I’d love to see your designer scarves.

December 12, 2010 Posted by | SILK PAINTING TECHNIQUES | , , , , , , , , , | 40 Comments

Silk Scarf Painting Workshop

Good news. At last I’m going to be offering a silk painting workshop in which you will be creating your own silk scarf. We will be using the microwave to make the whole process very quick and easy. You won’t be using a frame. Instead we will work with the silk flat on the table on plastic sheeting.

It will be a 3 hour session with mess and fun and at the end of it your scarf will be fixed for you to take home with you. Each workshop will be held with a minimum of 4 participants. If you know of 3 or more other people who would love to do this with you, why not contact me and organise your own workshop?

Evening dates: these events will run from 7pm – 10pm

Day-time dates:  these events will run from 10am – 1pm

Cost: £32.00  including a rolled edge scarf and dyes

Venue: Downend, Bristol – details on registration

HOW TO REGISTER: just email me at telling me you are interested in my silk scarf painting workshop and from there we can sort out all other details.

Looking forward to meeting you and having some fun.

p.s. Please wear clothes you don’t mind getting in a mess. 🙂

April 17, 2010 Posted by | MANDALA ART | , , , , , | 1 Comment

How to Freshen Up a Silk Scarf in 6 Messy Steps

If you’re anything like me, you may have quite a collection of silky things in yourHow to freshen up a silk scarf house. And sometimes the odd item may not look the way it did when you made it. This was certainly the case for one of my bright Jacquard scarves which had mysteriously manifested 2 green marks  not long after being made.

So I had the brilliant idea of revamping it to give it a completely different look as it was hardly used at all. The base shades were bright and middle orange and it seemed fitting to freshen it up with complimentary indigo.  It did strike me as rather a bold step, but why not have a go.

Please note that I am talking about a silk scarf that has already been steamed once and will be steamed a second time. This is not suitable for iron fix silk paints. So, back to the experiment.

The process was relatively quick and easy but extremely messy. This is what I did.

One: I laid out a thick sheet of plastic on the floor, spread the scarf out on top of it and soaked it with dilutant (Dupont).

Two: I made up two tubs of indigo. One will full strength and the other diluted 50:50 both of which I emptied haphazardly all over the scarf with great gusto. By the way, indigo really stains so I recommend that if you don’t want dark blue nails for days to come, put on rubber gloves. The process gets messy, so just keep them on. 🙂

Three: I took hold of the scarf and gently scrunched it about so that the dye was distributed over the scarf, but leaving it quite uneven with colour showing through here and there. So don’t do too much. Making it too even gives a uniform effect and here we’re going for a nice jazzed up mottled effect.

Four: I sprinkled a handful of effect salt onto the scarf and left it to dry.

Five: After a while I picked it up carefully and shook off the salt. I laid the scarf over a drying screen with a dark towel underneath it.

Six: When completely dry the next day, steam for 3 hours and rinse the excess dye out thoroughly. Put your gloves on for that again as there will be a lot of bleeding.

And that’s it. My scarf here still needs to be steamed but I am really pleased with the way the colours have turned out. It has a real autumnal look and you would never have known it was indigo on top of orange. Look at that wide palette of shades. Gorgeous.

Another very successful experiment. 🙂 If you  have a go at this, do send me a photo. I’d love to see your results.

March 2, 2010 Posted by | EXPERIMENTS IN SILK | , , , , , , | Leave a comment