Introduction: Snow Dyed Fabric
Want to make some cool fabric? It's as easy as just adding snow and fiber reactive dyes to material.
Here are the supplies needed to complete this project:
• natural fiber material – I used cheap muslin and canvas
• Dharma Textile Detergent or Synthrapol
• bucket for soda ash water
• soda ash
• cup and teaspoon – only used for crafts
• dust mask, goggles, gloves
• rubber bands
• containers to dye material in (plastic shoe boxes, kitty litter boxes, etc.)
• Procion MX dyes
• bucket for snow and scoop or your hands
• plastic bags to cover dyed containers
• towels to clean up
• warm area to leave dyed material containers overnight
Step 1: Cut and Wash Fabric
To get started cut fabric into yard-sized pieces. Since I only bought a yard of canvas I cut it into two half-yards pieces.
After the fabric is cut, it needs to be washed in hot water with Dharma Textile Detergent or Synthrapol to remove any sizing, oil, or dirt.
If planning on dyeing right away, you can proceed to the next step. However, if you plan to dye another day, go ahead and dry the fabric. Now the fabric will be ready for the next step.
Step 2: Mix Up Soda Ash Water
Mix one cup of soda ash per one gallon of hot water. (Soda ash is necessary to bind dyes to the fiber.)
This stuff is kind of nasty, so wear gloves, goggles, and a dust mask.
Step 3: Add Fabric to Soda Ash Water
After the soda ash is mixed with the water, add fabric and soak for at least 30 minutes.
Step 4: Prepare Dyeing Pans and Surface
While the fabric is soaking, it’s a good time to get all of the dyeing pans lined up.
Cover dyeing area. I used a cheap vinyl tablecloth covered with a towel.
This is a good surface for folding material before it’s placed in the container. Folding is not necessary, but creates interesting patterns on the fabric.
Step 5: Remove Fabric From Soda Ash Water and Fold
Now let’s get to the fun part!
With gloves on, remove fabric from the soda ash water, squeezing out excess water.
Place fabric on work surface and fold. After folding place rubber bands on each end of the fabric before placing it in the container. Or you can just scrunch the fabric and place it in the dye container.
Step 6: Place Folded Material in Dye Containers
Then place the folded material in the containers.
Step 7: Go Get That Snow!
Now it’s time to go outside and get some snow.
(If snow is over for the season, ice can be made into snow with a snow cone machine for this technique.
Step 8: Place Snow Onto Fabric and Add Dye
Place snow on top of the fabric in the container.
Wearing mask and gloves, sprinkled 1/2 teaspoon of Procion MX dye power per color over the snow. It’s very important to wear protective gear when with these dry dyes.Dye powder is very fine and can become airborne. Also work in an area with no wind.
This picture shows forest green and golden yellow dyes.
Step 9: Cover and Wait
Cover the containers with plastic or a blanket and leave them undisturbed for 24 hours. This is the most difficult part of the process - waiting!
Step 10: Rinse, Wash, Dry and Iron New Dyed Fabric
After 24 hours, put on your gloves and rinse the fabric (Don't rinse them together) in cool water, increasing the temperature to warm. When the rinse water is almost clear, prepare a soap soak.
In 2 to 3 gallons of very hot tap water mix 1.5 teaspoons of Dharma Professional Textile Detergent or Synthrapol. Add the fabric and let soak for 10 minutes.
After the 10 minutes rinse again with warm water. After that rinse put the fabric in the washing machine on a hot water short cycle to ensure that the dye is set and then put into the dryer. These directions are for cotton. If you use other fibers the rinsing is a bit different.
Once the fabric is ironed, it's ready to use in your project.
Step 11: And the Results!
Here are the results and the dye colors I used. You will notice that some of the colors split. For example, this first picture shows blue, but the only dyes I used were Forest Green and Golden Yellow.
The second picture I used Cobalt Blue and Golden Yellow.
The third is dyed with Golden Yellow
The last two are the canvas pieces. They were just scrunched into the containers, not folded or tied. They are much brighter than the other fabric, because I was using the same amount of dye for those half-yard pieces that I did for the yards of muslin.
On the first canvas I used Golden Yellow, Cobalt Blue, and Forest Green. The second one I dyed with Forest Green and Raspberry, and just a tad of Golden Yellow.
This is really fun and opening the fabrics is like opening presents. Every piece of fabric is different and always a surprise. And this technique is easy. I’m just a novice fabric dyer so if I can do it, you can too.