I love the look of a gift wrapped in a silk ribbon. It just adds the best special touch to any gift! There are a bunch of Etsy shops that sell silk dyed ribbon (this one is my favourite) but I thought I would take the challenge and make some beet dyed silk ribbons myself, just in time for Valentine’s Day!
Since I have never done this before and couldn’t really find much on the internet in terms of dying silk, I tested a couple different fabrics. From what I understand, cotton and linen will dye the best and take up colour easily from natural dyes, compared to silk. However, I really wanted to use silk (not cotton or linen) so I tried two different materials. I just had these two pieces of white silk lying around. Mani gave this to me when I used to learn from her!
The tutorial for these beet dyed silk ribbons is super easy, however, I did learn some things from my first attempt that I will also point out!
First, you need to get some fabric. If you also want to dye silk, as opposed to cotton or linen, buy raw silk! Synthetic silk will not dye well using natural dyes so get the good organic and raw silk for this project. However, if you do not care what fabric you want to use, use cotton or linen! They will dye very well!
Next, decide on the colour of the dye you want to use. There are synthetic dyes that you can purchase online, however, if you want to keep everything natural, then look into plants that give off a strong colour. For example, in this tutorial I will be talking about beets because I wanted a blush pink colour. However, I got more of a light red/rusty colour using beets instead. I think raspberries and strawberries will give you a more pink colour (from what I read on the internet).
And that is all! You need a good quality fabric and good plant dye. And you are set to make these beet dyed silk ribbons.
So, because I dyed silk with beets, I will tell you step by step exactly what I did!
- Cut your raw silk fabric into strips. I cut mine into 1 inch strips using a pair of good quality fabric scissors. To get the frayed edges on the fabric, cut a little of the fabric on the edge and rip the fabric all the way down. This will give you a straight cut as well as create a frayed look!
- Next in a large pot, fill it up with water and allow it to heat up.
- As the water is heating up, peel and shop up the beets and place into the pot.
- While waiting for the water to come to a boil, fill up the sink with hot water and add your pieces of fabric to pre-warm.
- Once the water has come to a boil, take it to the sink and add your pieces of fabric. Allow them to absorb the colour from the beets for 2 minutes.
- Then remove and let the water drain using a pair of tongs.
- Hang them up to dry in a warm area in your home. I hung mine over the vent in our bathroom!
- Once dried, you can either iron out the ribbons if you want a clean look. I wanted them to look a little distressed and wrinkled so I just rolled them onto an old spool.
- They are ready to be used to wrap your gift!
Since this was my first attempt, there are a couple things I would change if I tried this again. I wanted a faded pink look in the end, however, I got more of a rusty red colour, which I actually do love. But I think the reason I didn’t get a pink ribbon is because of the material. You need to use a good quality silk. There cannot be any synthetic material in it or it will not pick up the colour easily.
Another issue I had with my silk was that I cut the strips before I dyed them. When I did this, the material just rolled up onto itself. So when I put the strips into the beet water, they picked up colour easily on the outside, the inside of the strips remained white. I would suggest cutting your strips after you dye them! Then after they dry, roll them onto some spools!
I may even try some of the dyes you can purchase online, this particular one from Amazon has caught my eye and I would love to try it out!
Overall, I had a lot of fun making these beet dyed silk ribbons and I love how distressed they look. I originally wanted the entire ribbon to be one colour, but I love how these ribbons have some parts that picked up more dye than others! And I LOVE the rusty, vintage look! I wrapped up some old Pokemon cards for Gursheel with these ribbons but I can’t wait to use them for upcoming gifts as well!