I would like to dye some silk scarves for the first time. As I don’t have a frame yet I thought I would experiment with dyes rather than paints. I understand that acid dyes give vibrant colours and I have watched a few videos online about how to dye scarves either one colour or how to create rainbow stripes.  I may end up painting but initially I’ll start with dipping.

All of the videos I’ve watched seem to end after washing the dyed scarf in cold water without mentioning fixing the dye. I was thinking of using jacquard silk green label dyes and their instructions also seem a bit confusing about the various options for the fixing part of process and whether it is necessary. 

If you make the dye with almost boiling water and add vinegar and dip the scarf in, is that enough to fix the colour (because of the hot water) or do you always need to then steam the scarf or microwave it? I know they sell a fixer solution but I understand that doesn’t give as good a result.  I would like the scarves to be washable after but as bright and vibrant as possible.

Steaming without professional equipment seems like quite a palaver so if I can avoid it that would be good? Maybe I should think about a different sort of dye?

 I’m sure I’ll end up experimenting but I need to limit my options down a bit before investing.

Many thanks for your help.

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Jacquardmod Jacquardmod
HI Tansy,


Ok, so acid dyes generally don't need fixing.  The most common problem would be crocking where you used too much acid dye and now it won't stop bleeding.  In that case you can use a fixative like our iDye fixative.  It can help with bleeding colors.

Now acid dyes are not known as being super washfast on wool, but generally washing is fine as long as it isn't at high heat.  Most people don't wash their wool or silk at high heat so it is fine. On silk, washfastness of acid dyes is even less of a problem.  

So, generally with our acid dyes in an immersion dye on the stove, you really just need the acid and the dye.  I have never personally had to use the fixative.  I have suggested it to customers, but it always comes out they used the dye at over 8% weight of the fabric, which is more than the fabric can hold.  That is generally where the bleeding happens.

Now, the green label colors are actually a different story, because while they are acidified, they are not acid dyes.  They are actually reactive dyes.  They need to be steam set as you said.  There are ways to do that without buying a steamer.  We do have a DIY steamer guide, where you can build you own.  


Generally, people steam not because it is the only way to set dyes, but because it is the best way to get the  very brightest color and make sure it is fixed.  With our green label colors, we provide a chemical fixative because it is easier than building or buying a steamer.  It is really meant to be an intro to silk painting and an easy way to fix.  

Now that fixative can help on almost any color of almost any dye, but I don't tend to use it unless there is actually a problem or if I can't get the saturation of color no matter what I do.  
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