Ice Dyeing – Way too Cool!

by Debby Bowles

We arrived at Fiber Frolics Art Studio in our grubbiest paint clothes, with our prewashed fabric, ready to learn a whole new way of dyeing – Using ice.  Martha, the studio owner, walked us through the process step – by – step.

First, we presoaked our fabric (about two yards worth, except for one – she brought her hoodie to dye!) We soaked the fabric in soda ash water for about 20 minutes.  Soda ash helps adhere the dye to the fabric. 

Martha had already set up our stations of large roasting pans set above another pan for dripping.  She lined each pan with paper to keep the pan grids from marking the fabric.  We placed our damp fabric gently in the pan, spreading it around as we preferred.  We considered folding the fabric, banding the fabric, or just fluffing the fabric evenly throughout the pan.

Next step was to cover the entire cloth with crushed ice, making sure the whole fabric was covered with ice.

Then we picked our dye colors.  Martha was a great help through her examples of what colors we wanted and how to mix them.  We chose two-five different colors, depending on the effect we wanted.

Sprinkling gently with little spoons, we distributed the dye onto the ice, varying the colors and sequence as desired.  Whew!   Finished for the first day.

The next day we returned to see our creations.  Wow!  Each fabric piece was so unique.  Everyone picked different dye colors and sequences.  All of us were amazed with the varying results.

We did one more cold water rinse of the fabric, then we used a Synthrapol wash in hot water.  After rinsing and squeezing out the excess water, we unrolled the fabric and admired our creations.  Look at the pictures below and you can see the whole process, from beginning to end.  Now to take home the fabric, wash again, and decide what to create!

by Debby Bowles

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4 thoughts on “Ice Dyeing – Way too Cool!”

  1. Great write-up. I especially love the pink samples and would like to try ice dyeing! Is the dye for natural fibers only or does it work for synthetics such as polyester?

  2. Oh my stars! Each of the designs/color combinations are amazing.

    I was sorry to have missed this one/wonderful class. My vote is . . . let’s schedule another one.

    The dyed-fabric yardages shown are all gorgeous. Job well done, ladies.

    Joanne Jensen

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