Silk Cocoons

Here are what dyed silk cocoons look like.
Here, hand-dyed silk cocoons in a variety of colors
are ready to be embellished and made into art.

Silk cocoons, the purest form of silk, can be stretched and spun into yarn or left whole for collage and other fiber art projects. They can be bought pre-dyed or ready for dyeing and/or hand painting.

Often when you purchase these, you’ll be getting the full silk cocoon. If so, you can cut off the end in order to remove the moth, leaving you with a blank canvas for all sorts of unique fiber art ideas.

Using Silk Cocoons in Fiber Art

An example of jester silk cocoon elements.

Beautiful ‘jester’ style silk cocoons by Stef Francis.

Now that you know what silk cocoons are, what do you do with them? Expert Stef Francis has many unique ideas for using them in your fiber projects, here are just a few examples of how you can embellish them directly:

  • Cornucopia – Stitch beads on them and add them to embroideries with beads and sequins tumbling out of the cut end.
  • Jester – Using sharp scissors, cut a zigzag pattern into them, starting from the cut end. This weakens the opening and allows you to push them over an uncut cocoon.
  • Create beautiful pieces like this one with the additional instructions in Quilting Arts Spring 2005.

    A finished piece using adorned silk cocoons by Stef Francis,
    from Quilting Arts Magazine Spring 2005.

    Layered Jester – To make a layered jester you’ll join two cocoons together. After you have cut a jagged edge for the jester cocoon, slide an intact cocoon inside of it. You’ll then stitch the layers together until the cocoons are safely joined. Once the two pieces are joined, the fun starts. You can embellish them with beads, sequins, and stitches.

Tip: A thimble is a definite necessity for this work. Use a metallic or fancy thread for even more interest.

Sound like fun? Check out the full article “Fun with Silk Rods, Cocoons, and Bark” by Stef Francis in Quilting Arts Magazine Spring 2005. In this article you’ll not only learn more about using silk cocoons, but how to combine them with silk rods and other materials to create stunning designs like this featured one.

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Categories

Embellishing, Glossary

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