Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Ice Dyeing

I'm taking a Textiles class at the local community college, and last week we tackled ice dyeing. I've done a variety of dyeing over the years, but I had missed this one. From my class notes:

Ice dyeing: Soak cotton fabric in soda ash water until saturated. (1 c soda ash to 1 gal water). Wring out your fabric, and then put it in a slotted plastic container like you get strawberries in at the grocery store. Put in the container in another plastic container to catch the drips. Cover your fabric with ice. Sprinkle small amounts of Procion dye onto the ice. Wait for the ice to melt, and carry the dye down in unpredictable ways onto the fabric. Let this all sit for 24 hours. Rinse out your fabric until the water runs clear, then wash in either Dawn or Synthropol.

I'm not entirely pleased with how my initial samples turned out, so I'm trying it again this week. But the class had their samples up on the board today, and most of them were quite gorgeous! I think I need to experiment more. (The pink and green vertical rectangles in the bottom right are mine. Boring. Do it again.)



  1. ooh, I love this idea........but how many strawberries do you have to eat to get enough containers??? Hmm.....I have to work on this. I have some Tussah silk, and some mulberry reeled silk that I want to dye. I have dyed cotton, tencel, bamboo.....but never silk. I'm a little intimidated.

    1. I'd love to see what you come up with! We were dyeing cotton in this batch. I think to do protein based fibers as opposed to the cellulose, you might have to use something like vinegar instead of the soda ash. But I'm not sure of the exact chemistry needed. I ought to figure that out though...this would be a spectacular technique on silk scarves.