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By Daniel G. Van Olst

Materials Needed:

  • A long thin waterproof form, maybe 4 or 5 inches wide and about as long as the diagonal on your flags. I use one side of a Dharma fabric box covered in Saran Wrap, so it’s about 5″ by 45″.
  • About a dozen rubber bands, big newspaper ones, not the wimpy little ones.
  • Disposable diaper pads -or- An old beach towel you can get dye on.
  • Plain vinegar in a dye or spray bottle.
  • (optional) Colored chalk.

Step One:

Double your silk and drape over one end of the form where you want your center point to and secure with a rubber band.

Step Two:

Pleat fabric from left to right.

Be sure to tug down a bit as you add each pleat, so that all of the pleats are the same length in the long direction as well as the short direction.

Step Three:

Place all pleats on the right side of form and secure with rubber band.

Step Four:

Spread pleats evenly to left side of form.

Step Five:

Even out pleats and tug so that fabric is even.

Step six:

Repeat every 8 inches or so, working down the form until done.

It helps if you preload an extra rubber band every time you complete a row of pleats, so that you have it handy for the next row.

Completed tie job, both front and back.

Step seven:

Saturate silk with plain vinegar from dye bottle or spray bottle so that it sticks together.

Put assembly silk side down on diaper pad. Cut rubber bands and carefully and peel board from silk, leaving silk on diaper pad.

Step eight:

Apply dye.

You need to completely finish applying dye to the front side before going on.

You can’t go back.

Step nine:

Cover silk with other half of diaper pad and flip.

Step ten:

Apply dye to back side, attempting to remember in the process what you did to the front side.

Step eleven:

Make a rolled log of fabric and baggies.

Stick the entire thing in another baggie and secure with rubber bands.

Step twelve:

Nuke it!

the completed dye job

I’ve learned with the dye application that you don’t want anything too complicated, otherwise you end up with a “frog-in-a-blender” effect; and you don’t want to apply horizontal bands, since you end up with concentric rings that might be better achieved with a radial fold.

Simple diagonal striped patterns seem to work well.

~ Dan

Daniel G. Van Olst

Author Daniel G. Van Olst

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