Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day Scarves

After visiting a couple kindergarten classrooms and watching them dye scarves for their mothers, I thought my fifth graders probably could use some help with Mother's Day gifts, too. So, I ordered scarves from Dharma Trading Co. (love them!), raided our classroom supply cabinets for bleeding tissue paper, and helped my kids out a bit.

Sure, it took me an entire day to iron 31 scarves. But, it was totally worth it. The kids loved to see each others' creative color combinations as I unrolled each scarf for ironing, and I think their moms loved receiving such unique gifts that they were likely not expecting!

I do not have a thorough tutorial for this craft, as it requires the use of bleeding tissue paper..... which, bleeds.... all over your counter and hands, and you need both hands to quickly fold/roll and clean up! Not much extra time for picture taking, so I hope my words will suffice for the first part of the tutorial and I will finish with photos.

For this project, you will need: a silk scarf, bleeding tissue paper (cut or torn to a size smaller than the width of your scarf), lemon juice and water (50/50) in a spray bottle, a safe place for the full of dye scarf to rest for a day (like an old plastic container or packaging of some sort), and an iron.

Lay your scarf out on a counter or other surface that you won't freak out if it gets a bit of color on it that won't clean off. I suppose waxed paper on your counter would work just fine.

Set your tissue paper pieces on your scarf, with the first piece/color being very close to the edge that you will start folding/rolling from. I used four rectangular pieces of tissue, two pieces each of two colors.

I then folded my scarf from my starting edge, spraying with the lemon juice mixture as I continued to fold. My students rolled their scarves, rather than folding them, and I really like the way they turned out. The color is more fluid and spots have a tie dyed effect that I enjoy. But, both methods are cool. You want the scarf to be wet, as this is how the tissue will transfer its color to the scarf. The lemon juice's acidity helps to set the color as well. Continue folding and spraying until you've reached the end of your scarf. Fold it some more if you need, and set it in your "safe place".

Leave it alone for a full day. Try to keep it out of the sun, as you don't want it to dry out. Spray with more lemon juice mixture if you need to.

After a full day, unfold your scarf and remove the tissue.

Set your iron to the silk setting and get to ironing! This will set the color and dry out your scarf. If it is still too wet, I would recommend using a pressing cloth for a while first, then iron over the whole scarf without it.

(folded method)

(rolled method)

A simple piece of yarn is all you need to wrap your gift.
(rolled method)

Please come on back to visit on Monday,
as I will be participating in

Also, this post is linked up @


  1. I saw this tissue paper dying idea somewhere else recently, but didn't realize you needed to use a lemon-juice mixture! Great info. I am hoping to do this with my kiddos soon. :) Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. You've made this look super-simple! Can't wait to try it!