How to Make a Silk Scarf Using Tie Dye Cords

Updated February 21, 2017

Want to impress your friends with a unique and one-of-a-kind handmade gift? How about a personally dyed silk scarf? You don't have to be a seamstress or professional textile artist to get terrific results, all you need is a good art supply store. Tie dye cords are a much easier way to dye fabric than the traditional dye baths one would use to make T-shirts or other clothing items. The cords allow the user to direct the application of multiple colours and design how they will work together. They also make the whole process of dying fabrics quick and easy with limited mess and clean up.
This project is perfect for making gift items or even to keep the kids busy on a rainy day. Cover your table and let's get started.

Gather the supplies. has all that you need, including silk scarves and the tie dye cords, so plan ahead and order the supplies. You can also check local art supply store to see if they have the items you need in stock. Tie dye cords always come in a mixed colour bag, so you'll have plenty of variety in your scarves.

Cover the table and select the tie dye cords you will use for this project. Think about how colours work together and separate the cords for different scarves. For example, blues and greens work together well, as do yellows and greens or reds and violets.

Lay the scarf flat on the table. Lay the tie dye cords on top of the scarf. Overlap the strings, creating loops and circles with the cords. Be sure to lay cords over the entire length of the scarf. Four or five cords should do it, as you don't want to put too much colour on your silk. Over doing it will result in muddy colours.

Roll the scarf up into a tube shape with the tie dye cords inside. It should look like a big silky burrito. The roll should be a bit loose, not as tight as a cigar. Place the tube onto several sheets of paper towelling to absorb water.

Spray the scarf-tube with water to saturate and press down lightly to release the dye in the cords. Be sure to saturate the scarf. You'll see the colours start to bleed through the layers of the scarf. Look for a lot of colour to be released before unrolling the scarf. Spraying the tube gives you more control over the dye release than dipping the whole thing in water. Take your time and thoroughly wet the silk before moving on.

Unroll to reveal the beautiful pattern your cords made on the scarf. Carefully remove cords so that they don't drip onto the material.

Allow to dry and heat set following manufacturers instructions.


The real beauty in this project depends on how you overlap the cords and the colours you select. Be sure to overlap and create loops with the cords to ensure success! Do this with the kids. The project isn't that messy, and the kids will love that they can make beautiful gift items.


Dye will stain hands so wear gloves if clean hands are important to you.

Things You'll Need

  • Pre-hemmed silk scarf
  • Tie dye cords
  • Paper towels
  • Table covers
  • Plastic gloves-optional
  • Spray bottle with water
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