Dying Scarves for Divination Protection

Looking ahead into the 366, I saw that Roderick wanted us to acquire a colored silk scarf to wrap the scrying mirror we’ll make when it’s not in use in order to give it a little psychic insulation.

In the past, I’ve not really bothered to find the various colored scarves Roderick’s asked for to wrap my tools in because I’m really trying to watch my money and acquiring a rainbow of silks can certainly get expensive in a hurry.  However, my coven sister V. recently acquired several white, 100% silk scarves that she planned to artistically dye with her pysanky dyes.  Since I, too, have a collection of UGS pysanky dyes (and probably should re-make them before another pysanky batch), I decided to try my hand at the process as well.

As it happens, this turned out to be a lot easier than other dye projects I’ve done in the past!  There were no vats of boiling dye all over the kitchen.  In fact, I didn’t boil a single pot.  Instead, I used a technique pretty similar to what the video above.  I soaked the scarf in a solution of 1 part white vinegar and 1 part water, then wrung the scarf out.  After that, I folded or twisted the scarf into a pattern I thought would be attractive and used an eyedropper to drop my desired colors where I wanted them.  After that, I put the scarf in an 8×8 Pyrex baking dish, covered the dish with a sacrificial kitchen towel (it did start smoking at one point), and put the whole thing in my microwave for 4 minutes.  After that, I just rinsed the scarf in cold water until the water ran pretty clear, then I hand washed the scarf in a little laundry detergent and hot water, and rinsed it again until the water once again ran clear.  Afterwards, I hung the scarves up to dry, and then ironed them when they were just slightly damp.  Beautiful!

Two of the scarves I made in this first attempt.

Two of the scarves I made in this first attempt.

Though black, white, and purple are typically the colors one uses to protect divination materials, I decided to use black, blue, and yellow for the scarf I’ll use to protect my tarot cards.  I chose to dye it in a circular motif because I wanted to nod toward the idea of the nazar boncukları, which often incorporate these three colors.  To get the circular effect, I basically just did a standard tie die set up.  I folded the scarf into quarters to find the middle, then I pinched that middle and twisted the scarf into a loose rope.  Then I secured it in various places with rubber bands and used an eye dropper and black dye to die the concentric rings and solid middle.  I then microwaved the scarf for four minutes, rinsed it in cold water until the water ran pretty clear, removed the bands, and dunked the scarf again in the vinegar water.  Next, I folded the scarf into quarters again and set it on a sheet of waxed paper and dripped lines radiating out of the center point with blue dye, which was then followed by another microwave round.  Finally, I opened the entire scarf onto waxed paper and dripped a little yellow dye into each remaining white section, taking care to keep away from the blue lines but to overlap the black ones, and finished with a final microwave round and a LOT of rinsing (I thought the yellow would never stop coming out!)

The red, purple, and black scarf  I intend to use to wrap my scrying mirror as Roderick suggests, and dying it was a lot more free form.  I just folded the scarf in half, folded it in half again lengthwise, and then repeated that process until I had a 4 inch wide strip.  (In retrospect, I should have accordian-folded it.)  I then dripped “stripes” of black, red, and purple dye down the scarf and microwaved that, then rinsed it out.  When I unfolded the scarf, I saw that the more central parts missed a bit of the dye, so I soaked it again in the vinegar water and touched up the large white areas with a little more purple dye, then microwaved, rinsed, washed, and rinsed again.

Given that my UGS pysanky dyes are pretty darn water soluble, I’m amazed that the dyes even stayed on the fabric at all, let alone turned out as vibrant as they are on the final product.  Better yet, the dyes aren’t rubbing off at all now that the scarves are ironed and dried.  I tested their colorfastness m by steam ironing them on a piece of white muslin and rubbing the muslin with some damp corners.  No bleeding!  I think that if V. finds more of these white scarves, I’ll whip up something in the elemental colors for each of my magical tools!

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