Steaming silk and other natural fibers is necessary when using fiber-reactive dyes.
It also is a practical step with other paints in order for the colors to set and remain strong and vivid.
Without steam setting, colors will wash out in the first wetting.
A steamer can be easily constructed from common materials and items available at a hardware store. See More
The best material to wrap fabric around the cylindrical core is clean, blank newsprint paper.
Silk can be steam set after all of the paint and dyes are completely dry.
Be sure the hems are not wet around the pins.
Remove the silk from the stretcher and hang dry for at least an hour before steaming.
Some dyes and paint also set with drying time.
This ensures the fabric is ready to place in the paper.
If there are any wet spots, the color will run, spreading on the paper; perhaps spoiling the design. Place the dry silk on plain newsprint and fold the silk securely in the creases of the paper.
Fold the paper to the size of the silk.
Crease the paper. Press the paper flat and neat.
Make sure the silk is not folded or wrinkled in between the paper.
Place the next silk on a new sheet of newsprint.
Repeat the same steps, crease the paper, keep the silk flat on the inside.
Place one piece on top of the end of the other, over-lapping the second one at least 6 inches.
Place a scrap of fabric or heavy paper on top of the first piece to start the rolling.
This ensures the core will not leave its shape in marks on the pieces.
It also prevents water drips from marking the layers of paper.
Start at the top of the frame roll. Tightly roll the fabric around the cylinder.
Place the first piece about 6 inches from the end of the fabric.
Tightly roll the paper around the cylinder, be sure to not to fold or crunch the paper.
Overlap the second piece before coming to the end of the first piece.
Keep the roll straight and tight.
If the roll is loose, it will slide off the cylinder.
Place a second piece of scrap fabric or heavy paper at the end.
Continue to tightly roll the fabric to cover the paper.
This prevents staining and steam burning the silk.
Slide a length of rope under the roll and tightly wrap the rope at least once around the cylinder.
Slip the rope end behind the wrap and loop it to secure the paper in place.
Tightly tie a knot that can easily be untied after steaming.Take a second piece of rope, loop and knot both ends for easy threading.
Thread the ends through the chicken wiring
straight across the diameter
directly under the bottom of the rolled paper.
This prevents the rolled paper from sliding to close to the water.
It will slide every time, make the rope taught.
Pull the rope straight across and tight.
Wrap the remaining rope around the outside of the roll under the paper.
Tie the rope tight, use an easy release knot.The finished, wrapped roll, should be smooth and tight.
Tuck the ends of the rope so they do not dangle.
If you see wrinkles, it could be to tight. In the case, you can loosen the center rope.
It should be tight enough not to slide, but loose enough to allow steam to pass between the layers of paper.
Place the cylinder inside the steamer after the steam has started to flow.
The roll should go in the steamer tube smooth and straight.
Turn the cylinder in the direction of the towel wrap while lowering the core into the steamer.
Use a screwing motion to rotate it down until it rests on the bottom.
Place a towel over the top of the roll to trap steam.
Cap the top with a lid.
Always cover materials with a towel to absorb condensation.
Condensation can drip on the paper and run the dye, ruining the painted silk.
Cover all areas where steam can escape. The image above shows a gap.
Steaming will take monger and can be uneven if the steamer isn’t properly set up.
The outside of the steamer should have no vents.
Let the steam build inside the cylinder for about 5 minutes.
Open the lid, place your hand to feel the strength of the steam.
The steam should be gentle and steady.
If the steam is fast and hot, turn down the heat.