MX dying silk scarf blanks.

MX dying silk scarf blanks.

Sorry to say I have been too busy to felt again. I am hoping to have a little more time now my mom’s house is in possession of the new owners. I thought people might like to see this post  I made in 2012 about dying silk blanks with MX dye. this method works with big things too. I did a dress for my much skinnier self once and some boxer shorts. something else I learned since I posted this the first time is that you can use these dyes as acid dies by using a mild acid and heat. the colours aren’t quite as vibrant but if you can only get one kind of dye this will do double duty for you.


I dye my own silk and one of the ways I do that is with MX dye. MX Dye is a fibre-reactive dye and works on cellulose or plant fibres like cotton, linen and hemp. It also works on silk. As far as I know, silk is the only fibre that you can use both weak acid dyes that are for protein fibres and the MX dyes.

Scarves blowing in the wind.

I like to use the low water dye method. With this method, you use a jar and just a little water. What I do is scrunch or twist or pleat up my silk to be dyed. In this case, they are all about 2 feet wide and 8 feet long. Then you pack it into the bottom of a jar that is big enough to hold the silk and the dye (1/2 a cup) and the fixative (1/4-1/2 cup). It is important that it be a snug fit for this method to work.

I mix up 2 colours of MX dye in 1/4 cup of room temperature water. Pour them over the silk in the jar one at a time making sure the silk is covered with liquid. If it floats, as you can see a couple of my jars did, you need to carefully weigh them down with something non-metal. Metal will affect the dye. This is another reason you want them tightly jammed in the bottom of the jar but sometimes it happens anyway. Once the dye is in the jar you don’t want to disturb them. You don’t want the dyes to mix completely and give you a solid colour.

dye in jars

I am very impatient. So I usually go do something else for 20 min to an hour then I come back and add the fixative. With MX dye you have to raise the PH to get the dye to stick. The cheapest thing for this is PH up from the pool store. You can use washing soda not baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) or order it from your dye supplier but pool chemical is cheap, especially at the end of the season. I add a tablespoon for each cup of water including the water you’re mixing with. Stir to dissolve and then pour it into the jar. You should leave it for an hour to react but I am impatient as I said and usually dump everything out after about 20 min. Rinse the silk in cold water then hot soapy water then one more cold. Here are some results.

I am sorry the pictures aren’t better but the wind wouldn’t cooperate. They were dry in about 10 min.

Here are some others I’ve done over the years. It is a really fun and easy way to play with dye. You should give it a try.


If you want really good detailed instructions I would read about it on Paula Burch’s site.


13 thoughts on “MX dying silk scarf blanks.

  1. 2012? We remember that photo of the scarves blowing in the wind so clearly – we thought it was so pretty – and that was 10 years ago? Blimey.

    Lovely tutorial Ann!

    Having no felting/making time is frustrating – we’re both going through a period like that so we empathise with you.

    1. I know it doesn’t seem possible that it was 10 years ago. It is a fun way to make some very pretty scarves. I will get back to it eventually.

  2. This looks very interesting Ann, thanks.
    I do like the random patterns and colours achieved this way. I have mostly dyed with acid dyes and the only way I have achieved anything like these random patterns is to use an undyed silk scarf as the cloth for wiping up drips and spills and then to “cook” it in the microwave. The best patterns and colour combinations always seem to arrive that way. Now I must have a go at the LWI method.

    I do think it is a good idea to repeat old posts, those of us who were not members in the early years have missed so much. A lot of older processes are still relevant, and, perhaps where there have been new developments, they could be brought up to date and republished.


    1. Leftovers and accidental colours make the best dye jobs. I am glad you like my repeats. It’s amazing to look at them again it seems like it wasn’t nearly that long ago. I have to save them for when I run out of time which seems to be frequently lately. Fingers crossed that changes soon.

  3. Beautiful colours. Dyeing always seems a mystery to me, but you have made it very clear. I will look up the reference you gave too.

  4. I like to dye this way too Ann. It is always such fun to see how the colors come out. I usually use a baggie instead of a jar and that seems to work well too.

  5. I’ve used this technique for cotton but for some reason it hadn’t occurred to me to do it with silk. I’ve several silk blanks waiting to be dyed so will try this method along with my usual one….you might have given me a subject for my next post Ann!

  6. Great post Ann! Please do repeat earlier posts as they continue to be valuable. My first reaction was to check out where I could buy the MX Dyes locally as the post has made me curious.
    Thanks Hélène

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