Who knew it could be this easy? I decided to do a quick experiment with Tumeric, a big piece of silk, and a little bit of time. Ignoring all of the directions I found on the web, which suggested I boil the Tumeric in my pot, let it sit for hours, then carefully strain the dye bath before immersing my silk, I dumped a 1/4 of a cup of Tumeric into my big boiling pot. I took some care to whisk it in until all was thoroughly dissolved. While all this was going on, my big square of silk was soaking in some water (to open up the fibers to accept the dye more readily and evenly). I plunged it in.
I spent several minutes gently stirring for even dye distribution. I pushed down the air pockets that formed. And then I left it to sit, walking by to stir it every few minutes while keeping the pot just below a simmer for 45 minutes. I turned off the pot and let it sit for a couple of hours to cool.
That lovely golden color is brighter than it will be when the silk is dry, but I had no runoff issues while rinsing it off (although my pot does seem to have taken on a permanent tinge of Tumeric, which is fine by me since it is one of those herbs that is medically beneficial). I did rinse carefully to get off the fine Tumeric powder I saw here and there on the silk, but the color is very even across the piece.
The possibilities from here on are unlimited:
- overdye it with another color for a crackle effect
- stamp holiday motifs on it with paint
- sew on some beads or ribbon
- print out fabric gift tags on the computer and sew onto the silk
I haven't quite decided where I'm going from here, but I'm really happy to have an easy, naturally dyed gift wrap that can be used again and again (if the kids don't swipe it for a superhero cape or butterfly wings). Please let me know if the comments if you do your own reuseable gift wrap and have any ideas to share!