Can’t Resist A Silly String Resist

Here’s another chapter in my quest to find ways to use party string in fiber art (hey, it’s my job). It’s a slapdash variation on snow dyeing, using Silly String as a resist element. Here’s how it goes:

  1. Prepare fabric. In true slapdash fashion, I grabbed an old but clean T-shirt (no softener or dryer sheets used when it was laundered).Since I only wanted to print a motif on the front, I put a plastic-covered hardback book inside and clipped the excess fabric out of the way on the back. You could mask areas you don’t want to print, if you want to spend more than a minute on preparation.
  2. Prepare dye. I mixed Dharma Pigment Dye with water in a small spray bottle.
  3. Prepare snow. I laid the shirt with the side to be printed down in the snow and pressed to make a small depression.
  4. Spritz. With the spray bottle, I spritzed pigment dye into the depression.
  5. Shoot. Shoot party string over the dye in the depression. Note to self: The string might work better if it weren’t so darn cold! I didn’t have time to check the thermometer and do the sample. Anyway, the party string froze pretty quickly, but I was able to pick some up and lay it where I wanted it. 
  6. Print. Lay the shirt down in the depression. A patient person would let it stay there for a while, but my hands were cold so I stood on it for a few seconds, picked it up, and took everything back inside. The party string stayed frozen in the snow.
  7. Oops. Had to go back outside right away to kick snow over the dye so the dog wouldn’t walk through it.
  8. Watch. With some snow sticking to the fabric, there was some migration of dye after I took it inside and the snow melted. Cool. Also, it appears that I bear more weight on my right foot than on my left foot while creating art when it’s cold. Also cool.
  9. Wait. Pigment dye needs to air cure 24 hours. After that, you can heat set if you want but it’s not necessary on cotton. After washing, you’ll get a nice, soft “stone-washed” effect.
  10. Wear.  Practice saying “Silly String Snow Painting” and “Thanks, I had a blast making it!”

I see Dharma has a special deal on some paint-splotched bottles of pigment dye. Here’s the link if you want to give this a try before winter ends.

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Donna Kallner

fiber artist, teacher and explorer, inspired by ancient fiber techniques and all the ways contemporary fiber artists give old ideas a new spin