A Wooly How To: Dye a silk tarot cloth

It’s arts and crafts day at Wooly Witchy!  I’m going to teach you guys how to create your own Tarot cloths.  You don’t need any crafting experience to make this cloth and it’s pretty inexpensive too!  It’s really the perfect beginners project.  There are infinite ways to decorate your cloth.

Make your own DIY Silk Tarot Cloth

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Ready to try it yourself?  Here’s what you’ll need.

Materials:
Silk scarf – I got mine from Dharma Trading Company.  And I recommend the 21×21 size for a Tarot cloth, but you could also use a 35×35 cloth depending on what your reading/working space can hold.   Cost for these depends on what size you get, but it’s $3 – $6 per scarf.
Spectra Art Tissue in colors that you like.  Again, I got mine from Dharma and it cost me $4.35 for a package of tissue which is plenty for lots of cloths.  Again, you need to make sure that the tissue paper you get is specifically made to bleed the dye out of the paper.  A lot of the papers you see in the wrapping paper sections are made so they won’t bleed onto other things when they get wet.  We need to make sure ours does.
Spray bottles – really anything inexpensive will work.  I think I found mine at Target for a dollar or two each.
White vinegar – It doesn’t matter even a little bit what brand you get.  Get it at your local grocery store for as cheap as possible.
Plastic table cloth to protect your work space from getting stained with dye from the tissue paper.  You can absolutely use a garbage bag for this if you prefer.
Optional:
rubber gloves to keep the dye off your hands and fingers
piece of cardboard to make card templates.

Instructions

Step 01: First thing you want to pour about an inch of vinegar into your spray bottle and then fill it the rest of the way with tap water.  The exact ratio isn’t super important, but make sure you don’t leave out the vinegar because it’s what helps the color set into the silk.

Step 02: Prepare your work space by putting down the plastic table cloth to protect the
tabletop.  I’ve got one old cheap dollar store one that I use over and over for messy craft projects.  It’s covered in paint from a set of painted wings we made.

Step 03: I recommend that you iron your silk first.  Make sure that you select the silk
setting on your iron so you don’t burn it.  Once it’s wrinkle free, we’re ready to add color!

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Step 04: Since I was specifically designing this cloth to use with my favorite three card spreads I wanted three rectangles for the cards.  I created a card template from a piece of cardboard by tracing around my Wild Unknown deck box.  I added a little bit of width and height so it would show around the edges of my cards when I laid them out.  I used the cardboard to cut out three rectangles from my Spectra tissue paper.  I picked black for this cloth since I wanted a nice dark background for the cards themselves.

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Step 05: Choose the placement of your “cards”.  For this cloth I wanted a simple three card spread layout, but you can absolutely choose any layout that will fit on your cloth.  You could lay out any spread you like, celtic cross, bridge spreads, your imagination is the limit here.  You can also opt to skip the card spots if you don’t want one with a pre-determined card layout.

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Step 06:  Grab your spray bottle!  Put on your gloves at this point to protect your hands from getting stained with dye.  If it does get on your skin don’t worry, it will wash off.  If you get some on your clothing I recommend treating the stain with a stain treatment and washing in cold water right away.
Spray your tissue paper, be careful with the first few sprays since the water can push your tissue paper out of place.  The amount of water and vinegar mix you spray onto your tissue paper determines how much the colors will bleed out into the fabric.  More water = more color bleeding, less water = less bleeding.  An important thing to keep in mind as you’re choosing your colors is that you can always add a dark color over a light color but you cannot put a light color over a dark one.  For example: the black card squares are as dark as they’re going to be.

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Once your squares are sprayed and held in place you can start building the rest of your cloth.  I decided to line each of my card spaces with a teal color.  Just tear pieces of tissue paper (or cut them if you prefer a little more precision), lay them on your cloth, and spray them.  Repeat ad nauseum until you’ve got everything where you’d like.

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Step 07: Here’s the step I always find hardest.  Just wait.  You need to give the paper time to transfer the dye to the silk.  Exact timing varies depending on the color and how intense you want the color to be on your cloth.  You can check the color by peeling up a corner of the paper and checking your color.  Once you’re happy with the color under your tissue paper you can start peeling up the pieces.  Have a bowl or a trashcan ready at this point because the tissue paper will drip and get dye EVERYWHERE if you’re not careful.

Step 08: Now you need to let your cloth dry.  I laid mine on a laundry drying rack with an old towel underneath it to catch any dye drips.  I don’t usually have trouble with dye dripping off once the paper is removed, but better safe than sorry.  Silk cloths dry much more quickly than other fabrics.

Step 09: The last step for your cloths is to heat set your dye.  Put your cloth into the dryer on high for ten minutes.  You don’t want to leave your cloths in too long because it can make the silk get dull.

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Step 10: Use your new awesome cloth!  Make more cloths!  You can give these as gifts, use them to wrap your own decks, the possibilities are almost endless.

If you make cloths I would love to see them!  Please feel free to share your projects in the comments!