How to Dye a Tshirt, Fiber or Yarn with Snow
A Fiberartsy.com Tutorial
I’ve been wanting to try snow dyeing for a while but totally forgot about it until a friend posted something on Facebook. Well, since we still have a boatload of snow out there, why not try it now?
This is my first attempt at snow dyeing but I do know a few things: First off, you have to use fiber reactive dyes. Acid dye will not work because it needs heat to set. Also, fiber reactive dyes require soda ash as a fixative. The rest seems to be up to the dyer. Some like to lay their fiber or tshirt on a screen to catch the liquid as the snow melts, others just pile it all in a pan.
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Step 1: Supplies:
-Fiber, Yarn, Roving, Tshirt or other material to dye. (Can’t be synthetic s.a. acrylic)
-Large pot or roasting pan*
-Fiber Reactive Dyes*
-Soda Ash (available at art supply stores)
Always use a dust mask when mixing dye powder. Never dye anything in your kitchen pots and pans, unless you are dyeing with kool aid or food coloring.
Step 2: Soaking:
First, you need to soak your materials in the soda ash. Fill a bucket with enough water to cover your materials. Add appr. 1/4 cup of soda ash. Swish it around to mix, then add your tshirt, yarn or whatever materials you wish to dye. Let it soak for about 30 minutes then squeeze out the excess liquid. Don’t rinse!
Next, lay your materials out in the pot or pan, spreading it out as much as the container allows. I used a very large stockpot with a grate thingy in the bottom. This way, the melted snow can drip to the bottom, away from your materials. Like I said before, some folks prefer to just set their things at the bottom. Now, pile on the snow all the way to the top of the container. About 4-5 inches of snow should be plenty.
Step 3: Add Snow & Dye:
You can pre-mix your dyes but I chose to use the dry dye powder….. with a dust mask on my face! Carefully, sprinkle the dye powder on the snow, covering the entire surface.
Set it in a cool place. I put mine in the basement which is about 65 degrees right now. Check it every few hours to see how the snow is melting.
Step 4: Finish:
Once the snow has melted, just rinse everything until the water runs clear. Hang to dry.
The t-shirt turned out great! There was a small pool of dye under everything which blended the colors a bit too much. Probably the reason that the yarn is mostly pink. A pretty pink, though! The suri fiber didn’t fare so well. It didn’t take up much dye. This could be because I put it in some mesh fabric to keep it together.
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