Okay, let’s get the legal stuff out of the way. I don’t recommend you use the same microwave for dying fabrics that you use to warm up food in even if the dishes are completely covered up because you never know what any sneaky little particles might manage to do.
Right, on with what this article is really about.
Recently a pair of my eldest son’s silk boxer shorts managed to find their way into the regular wash with t-shirts and other items. I have no idea how that happened. Anyway, they looked so washed out afterwards and ended up lying lovelessly discarded because they had lost their lustre.
This morning I picked them up and since I was in a particularly creative mood for a change, I suggested we give them a revamp with some dye in the microwave. This is silk painting at it’s best because this is quick and fun to do and gets your creative juices going.
I took some photos to let you see what happened. Those grey patches you see were vibrant purple before the washing machine did its work. You always have to bear in mind that any new dyes you add will sit on top of the old ones and you won’t get the pure colours any more.
So first of all I soaked the shorts in some vinegar water then took them out and squeezed the excess dye out. Then I laid them out on some plastic sheeting and scrunched them together.
I put on some plastic gloves and then drizzled on 3 different shades of blue, turquoise and purple I had left over from the commission I had been working on earlier.
Next I scooped up the silk and put it in a dish suitable for the microwave. I have an older one I just use for artistic projects. I stretched a piece of cling foil over it (Seran wrap to anyone on the other side of the big pond), jabbed a couple of holes in the top and then popped it into the microwave for 5 minutes. I prefer the medium-high setting.
Out the shorts came looking bright and breezy, ready to go for another good few weeks I would say. I quickly ironed them to see what the dried silk looked like and now they’re hanging to dry properly as they have an elastic waist.
Well, if I were my son, I would wear them. But then I only makes things that I love anyway. What a huge contrast to the way they looked before we started. Just remember that dyes will only show up in the original tone on white and all others will change depending on what you paint them on top of them.
This is great to do with any pure silk clothing you have and gives the piece another lease of life instead of putting it in the bin. Why not have a bit of fun and try it out for yourself?