Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Ice Dyeing (or the dyeing you can do during hot flash season)

In the current issue of Quilting Arts magazine (Aug/Sept 2011, #52) there's an article by Lynda Heines about "ice dyeing."  When I read the issue, I read the article and thought, "That looks fun, I'll have to try that some day."  And I promptly forgot all about it.

But then about a week later, I went to my monthly Practical Design group, and two of the women there showed fabric they'd dyed using the Ice Dyeing technique.  It was gorgeous, just gorgeous.  And they bubbled on about how easy it was -- so I was inspired to go home and get it going the very next day.

Here's the thing about this method:  you don't have to mix dye solution ahead of time.  Now, I know that's not a huge task, and of course once you mix the dyes they keep for a while.  Still, when I'm in the mood to play with dyeing, I want to get to the dyeing and having to do all that advance preparation discourages me some.  Silly, I know, but there you have it.

At any rate, the beauty of this method is that you don't pre-mix dyes. (It also means that you have to be MORE careful about wearing a mask and not exposing yourself to dye powder carelessly.)  But basically, the method is this:  You set up a rack over a tray or tub, put soda-soaked fabric in a flattened wad (or folded bundle) on the rack, put ice cubes on the fabric, and then sprinkle a bit of dye powder onto the ice.  As the ice melts, the dye powder dissolves and contacts the fabric.  You let it sit for 24 hours, then wash it all out. The specific details and instructions are illustrated beautifully Lynda Heines' article.

So away I went.  And the results have been exciting and very fun.

In fact, this is so fun and easy it's hard to stop.

So far I've dyed half-yard pieces.  Today I'm going to try a bigger piece and see what happens.  But I highly recommend experimenting with this -- it's very  fun.


  1. These are gorgeous. I might have to try this during our hot weather week.

  2. I don't think it matters whether you do this in hot weather or cool weather, just so it's warm enough for the ice to melt eventually!

  3. What great effects. I have several dye containers with just a smidgem inthe bottom that would be perfect for this technique.t

  4. Hey now that is the simplicity of dyeing that I have been looking for! Will have to get out me QA mag and read the article.

  5. wonderful patterning!!!

  6. It must just be time to dye.
    Gina,Beverly, and janet have been dyeing. I have been dyeing and you too. But your results are gorgeous. Unfortunately too cold here for that and no sun for sun dyeing. I did rust dyeing,instead.

  7. Anonymous9:28 PM

    Sounds PERFECT for any time of the year BRISBANE weather. I get so envious when I read of US gals doing snow dyeing, but this sounds as though it will work a treat in sub tropical Queensland.
    I just love your results!

  8. stunning results! i might give this a go in a week or so.

  9. Diane, I just ran across you post referencing my ice dyed article in QA back in 2011. So glad you found it a fun technique. And thanks for the mention.