|Handmade silk strings|
In 2005 I got it in my head that I needed to make silk strings to go with some beads I was working on. The addiction got a bit out of hand and I made hundreds of them, I still have a nice selection of colors anytime I feel the need to use them in a jewelry design. When making jewelry I love to be able to say that I made EVERY part and piece used in the design.
I posted this tutorial on Lampwork etc but decided to update it and post the whole thing here for the rest of the world :)
These are very easy to make so here goes...
Serger a regular machine just wont work for this project. If you choose you don't have to finish the edges but they will not wear as well.
Silk Yardage you will want this on the heavy side so it has some bounce back, Shantung Silk or Dupion Silk works great. A yard made about 50 of them to give you an idea of how much fabric to get.The silk I use does have some small slugs and thicker strings and it gives them a very interesting look when dyed. The slubs end up running across the ribbons when you cut the strings.
100% cotton thread 3 spools, I used the quilting thread on the cardboard tube from Hobby Lobby. You can use a color polly thread but then it won't dye.
Dye- You could use any type i like Tumble Dye from Hobby Lobby, it comes in a nice spray bottle. I have also used koolaid, Easter egg dye, coffee and tea with wonderful results. Any dye can be placed in a spray bottle and used for this process.
Rotary Cutter & Mat
Plastic table cloth to protect your area I have gotten these at the dollar store.
|If you get as carried away as I did this pant hanger works well to store them.|
Set up your serger for a 3 thread rolled hem. You want the width of the bite to be at around a 5 (mine is adjustable but some aren't) if you don't have it set wide the silk wont roll enough and you will get fuzzy edges. It should also be a bit of a long stitch since you don't want the edge to bulky. Your serger book should guide you on how to set up your machine. (if you need more help with your serger than this I can help, I taught sewing for the Viking Sewing Machine Company for 14 years)
Stitch the edges of both sides trimming a bit off so you are sure there is enough fabric getting rolled in the hem. I serged the ends to a point but if you are going to knot the ends this isn’t important.
Don’t use any seam sealer on the ends of your edges until you are finished dying or that section won’t dye. I don't ever use this but some folks may want to.
Put on your rubber gloves unless you love tie-dyed hands.
If you wet the strings before you apply the dye they will end up with a more pastel look. When you put the dye straight onto the dry ribbons they will have brighter bolder shades.
After applying the dye, place two or more strings into a ziploc and put them into the microwave for a minuet to steam set the dye then hang to dry.
Iron them flat for a second heat set.
If you want to make black strings I suggest just purchasing black fabric and thread. It's so much easier.
Below are some photos of jewelry where I used the silk strings.
|Silk string used on a resin bezel (sold)|
|Silk String used with antique buttons (sold)|
|Silk Strings on Cluster Necklace $45.00|