Easy Lesson: Bead-Dazzled Bindings

Laura West Kong
Easy Lesson: Bead-Dazzled Bindings

Quilt with beaded bindingLaura West Kong got just the color she wanted for the silk cord she used in the beaded binding of her Latte quilt by dyeing the cord herself. Finding the right colors to create the pink—with a touch of orange—cord was as simple as going to the kitchen cupboard and pulling out red and yellow paste food dyes. The process she used is explained here. Note: This type of dyeing works on protein fibers – silk and wool – but should not be used on plant fibers – cotton and bamboo – or synthetics.

  1. Mix paste food dyes—Laura used Wilton food dyes—with equal parts of water and vinegar. Mix the dyes darker than you want the final color to be.
  2. Prewash the silk cord in Synthrapol. Leave it damp for dyeing.
  3. Cover your working surface to protect it from the dye. Wear rubber gloves if you want to avoid stains on your hands. Lay out a piece of plastic wrap and place the silk cord on it. Pour the dye by teaspoonfuls onto the cord, alternating colors.
  4. Roll up the plastic wrap and scrunch it just a bit to mix the colors to avoid striping.
  5. Roll up the cord loosely and put it into a glass bowl. Microwave on high for two minutes to set the color.
  6. Rinse out the excess dye until the water runs clear.
  7. Let the cord dry.    

Click here to see step-by-step photos of the process on Laura’s blog.

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The instructions on applying the beaded binding
were missing from the magazine I was given. They had been carefully cut out and all that was left was "Assembly 1":( I'd really like to read the rest of the directions, but cannot find a copy of the magazine and don't know who donated this one to my sisters' quilt guild.
dying cotton
Cotton is a cellulose (aka plant) fiber. Food coloring will only stain cotton, not permanently dye it. You can use other dyes, such as fiber reactive dye with great results on cotton. Heat + the acid in the vinegar molecularly bonds the food coloring to protein fibers, such as wool or silk. Easter egg dye and Kool-aid work too. Kool-aid has citric acid in it already so that takes the place of the vinegar. Look for the unsweetened variety!
Why should the food dyes not be used on cotton?


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