Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ice Dyeing Adventure

Since Spring has turned to Summer, I have been waiting for a chance to do some Ice Dyeing, but we had an unusually cool June, so I finally got my chance. The temps were supposed to be in the 90's, so I got up early to get things set up. I had prepared some fabric with Shibori stitching, to make a snowflake design, I had seen some on a blog a while ago. I folded the fabric first, and took 1/4" stitches thru all the layers, and pulled it tight and knotted the thread. I also had some 1/3 yard pieces of white fabric and two T-shirts. I soaked all the fabric in soda ash, from an old gallon jug that I had. Mistake #1. After all the work, the color came out in the wash, even with Synthrapol. So I learned the hard way, to use fresh soda ash, even tho some of the books say it can be stored and saved. When I undid the stitching, there was no white line, the dye had worked it's way into all the fabric. There was some design from the folding, but I over dyed every thing, so no stitch lines any more.
So the next day I got to play again! I have small "berry baskets" from the dollar store. They are different from a lot of the plastics, in that they have holes in the bottom for the dye to drain. They are great to hold your fabric and a pile of ice. Then they are placed on metal shelf racks, to drain on the ground. Don't do this on cement or a patio, the dye needs to runs through or you end up with muddy colors. I tried using just the shelf racks only, but it was hard to pile up the ice and keep it in place. The berry baskets can even be clipped to a clothes line to drip. After piling on the ice, I used a Popsicle stick to scoop up dry dye powder and sprinkle it on top of the ice. You need about a 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of dye powder for each T-shirt or half yard of fabric. I use several colors on each piece, so use your judgment as to the amount of dye powder. Everything was covered in plastic and left to "batch," it sits for 24 hours, to set the dye, and it needs to get over 70', that's why I waited for a hot day.
The next morning I rinsed each piece of fabric until the water ran almost clear, then put it all in the washing machine with a capful of "Synthrapol." I can't wait to see the results, after the fabric comes out of the drier. The drier heat sets the colors, so no need to iron the fabric to heat set.
Three squares of fabric, the two with concentric patterns were folded and put on the rack, under the t-shirt to catch drips, the other was just scrunched up in a basket.
I used Procion MX dyes, the first has fuchsia, red, deep purple, maybe some blue. The second has red, orange, golden yellow and bronze. I ripped about 12" strips off of a bolt of good quality white cotton.
Bright green, bronze, black and a little turquoise. Then fuchsia, red, deep purple and violet purple.
The 3 squares of folded and stitched fabric, were dyed with turquoise, medium blue, navy blue and black. Since they were over dyed, after I pulled out the stitching, no pattern is apparent, but I like the stormy sky effect that I got.
Another drip piece of fabric placed under the upper rack to catch the dye that drips down. And me in my T-shirt, I love the way it came out. I wish I had more green like the sleeve has. Most of the blue mixed with the reds to make purple, and the yellow made orange, instead of being clear areas of color. I used all my dyes, in small bits, to make this multicolor extravaganza.
The first t-shirt had some embroidery around the collar which did not dye, because it was polyester thread. I really like how the design shows up, you could not see it white on white. The 2nd T was scrunched in a tray, and I put jet black, then navy blue, and working my way up I added medium blue and turquoise. Then I added a little bit of violet purple on the top area. I really like how this turned out darker at the bottom, with the color at the top, I did this "on purpose" ha ha ha. Things don't often happen as I plan them. I had a great time, even tho I had to do it twice. I have two T-shirts left and another 2 yards of white fabric begging to have color on them. And it's going to get HOT again!

I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click on the badge in the right hand column to see what other wonderful textile artists are doing this week.


  1. I've done a fair amount if ice dyeing, but have never tried using Shibori folds. I like your results.! BTW I have used old soda ash solutions with great results. Some of the color will always wash out.

  2. wowie. I likee those shirts. Looks good on you! "Oh, this?? why yes I did make it"
    LeeAnna Paylor

  3. There was a BIG difference with the 1st dyeing and the 2nd, yes a lot of color did rinse out of both batches, but the 2nd kept the vibrant colors after washing. Check out our Fyber Cafe blog to see some other folding techniques with the ice dye. See the blog list in the right hand column.