DIY Hand Dyed Silk Throw Pillows
July 10, 2013
Chances are you've come across pillows the likes of these during recent trips to the mall - they're all the rage these days. And if you're anything like me you've been blown away by their cost. Hand dyed silk? It turns out that stuff's expensive (I know - shocking)! So when our in-house DIYer came up with a way to replicate a similar look on your own for a fraction of the cost, well I could have just kissed her right then and there.
White silk fabric (enough to cover your pillow inserts)
Throw pillow inserts
Fabric glue
Fabric measuring tape
iDye packets for natural fabrics
Glass or stainless steel bowls
Plastic spoons
Foam paintbrushes in various sizes
Plastic dropcloth
Latex gloves


step-1Iron all fabric. Measure the size of your throw pillows. Add 1” to each side and then measure and cut that out of the silk fabric.

step-2Put on latex gloves. Shake a *pinch* of dye into a bowl and fill with hot water. These things are potent so you really don’t need much. Stir with the spoon to mix and test the color by dipping in a piece of paper towel. Add more color until you reach your desired shade. Repeat in other bowls for remaining colors.  Lay out the plastic dropcloth to protect your worksurface. Lay out your silk square (and layer 2 sheets of fabric together if you want the front of the pillow to match the back).

step-3Use the foam brushes to paint stripes, dots, or squiggles on the silk. Experiment with colors and mixing. When you are pleased with the design, place the silk in a plastic freezer bag, seal it, and microwave for 30 seconds to steam the silk, which sets the dye. Rinse in cold water- the water will run clear. Then lay out on a clothes rack (or on porch railing if the weather is nice) to dry. *Be careful with this! Be sure not to leave it in too long or too high as you risk setting the silk on fire. Also be careful opening the bag- the steam is hot!

step-4When the silk is dry, iron the fabric again. Layer 2 pieces of silk- place the two sides you want to be the outside of the pillow on the inside, facing each other. Measure ½” from one edge and draw a line of fabric glue along that border on the inside of the 2 fabric pieces. It can be helpful to place a ruler there to use as a guide for drawing a straight line. Repeat on one other side, then let dry (about 20 mins).

step-5Place the pillow inside the two pieces and check to make sure it will fit. Remove the pillow, then glue the third side and let dry.

step-6Flip the silk inside-out and place the pillow inside. On the open side, fold each piece of silk down ½”, so that the folded sides are on the inside facing each other, and pin in place. Draw a line of fabric glue between the two pieces of fabric and let dry. Remove pins, and enjoy your new pillow cover!

Styling, Design & Photography: Style Me Pretty Living