Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Ice Dyeing

I've been ice dyeing scarves to fill an order at the Folk Art Center where I sell my scarves. I love ice dyeing as the results are usually so pretty and a surprise. You also need a sunny day and we've had so much rain, it's been difficult to find a long stretch of sun.
 So I set up on my back deck, using new cat pans which are the perfect size. I cover the pans with screens to allow the ice and dye to drip through to the pan.
 I'm working with 2 kinds of silk - China (habotai) and crepe du Chine and a rayon. I really love the acid dyes which only work on animal fibers but they have to be boiled and I really wanted to try the procion mx on the silk. The rayons soak up everything like a sponge and give beautiful color. So after the scarves have been soaked in a solution of soda ash and water - around 10 mins...they are rung out and laid on top of the screen.
 Next a layer of ice is placed on top. I usually work with @ 3 procion mx dyes or it can get muddy. You also have to consider that using complimentary colors together will create the third color of some thought has to be put into color choices. I start with the lightest color on first. Using a spoon, I sprinkle the 1st dye in different places around the scarves. I make sure to allow room for the other 2 colors.
 Next comes the 2nd lightest and
 wind up with the third color which is the darkest. At this point, it's hard to tell where there are blank areas so I tend to err on the side of too much. Make sure you always wear a mask and gloves while doing this...and best to do it on a day that is not windy since dye powders are so fine, they migrate very quickly.

 I cover the tray with black plastic, clipped on the side with clothespins and then some old bathroom rugs to act as an insulation. I let them batch overnight although 4 hours or until the ice is well melted would probably work.
Pictures shown are just the rayons and they are quite bright. Whenever I use a different combination of colors, I make a small sample - @ 12 x 14 and label it. It's nice to have a reference when you're making them for a shop. You will never get the same thing twice but you can get the same feel using the same colors.

I like the one on the right and would have no clue what I used but luckily I do have the sample.

The one on the left was an Indigo from a couple of weeks ago but decided it needed some overdyeing...not sure I love it, but I'll include it anyway as many people really like Indigo.
The one above never had yellow used in the orginal dye combination. I must have been using yellow/gold nearby and some drifted over onto this scarf - a happy mistake. The name of this series (noted on hangtag) is called Impressionistic Garden as they do remind me of a colorful flower garden or painting.

Tomorrow is Fiber Junkies with a new skill...Can't wait and will report.


  1. So pretty! My ice dyeing experiments have not resulted in such lovely fabric. I need to try again!

  2. I've done a lot of ice and snow dyeing on cotton and linen and damask, but never on silk. I think I should ty it Your results are lovely!