Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ice Dyeing: Marvelous or Meh?

The June/July issue of Quilting Arts has an article on ice dyeing.  It involves sprinkling dye powder on ice cubes which are on top of fabric so that the ice acts as a resist and the color melts down over the fabric.  It's a lot like snow dyeing -- but with chunks.  I've known a few people who don't mind messing with the powdered dyes and have achieved really good results with the powder-sprinkling technique.

I have to admit I hate messing with the dye powders.  On dye day I put on my mask, measure everything out, mix it up, put it in bottles, and clean it up as quickly as possible so that I can whip off the mask and breathe.  And get on with the dyeing portion of my program.  But I was just enough intrigued by the fabric pictured in the magazine to try it.

I purchased a small bag of ice at the grocery store, ran home, and set up at the art table on the front porch.  Of course a breeze blew up and I had to move everything inside to the dye studio (AKA the northeast corner of the garage).  

I always set everything out on damp paper towels when I'm mixing up the dyes and this is mentioned as a good idea in the magazine story.  It's pretty hard to do this without some spillage of dye powder.

I didn't have any fancy tall containers so I made do with these paint containers.  I was able to get two or three layers in each.

I've included photos of the best fabrics from this.  Was it worth the trouble of having to work wearing the mask?  Well, I got more "meh" fabrics than great ones.  And it looks a lot like the results I can get pouring dyes on fabric on plastic -- or any of the LWI (low water immersion) techniques.  Or on snow.  It seemed to work best on fat quarters rather than half yards (fat quarters were recommended in the magazine story).

Would I do it again?  Maybe.  I might try it with snow.  Or maybe not.  Usually I just pour the dyes over the snow.  I like the results I get with that.  Of course, we didn't get much snow last winter.  And the grocery store always has ice -- even in winter.


Beth said...

OK.... for the most part, you're right -meh. I do
Ike the first one. More like that might be worth the trouble!

Quilt Rat said...

Well....I dunno.....I really like the first one and the others all have some terrific effects....perhaps they are just the beginning.....maybe add another surface design technique...or two...or three. The fun is in the exploration. :-)

Kit Lang said...

I've tried snow dyeing and found the results "meh" - Lisa Kerpoe has had some really great results though - I think often it's the colours you choose to put together too. :)

Robbie said...

I think they all show some great flow and you might be surprised where you end up using them. Some friends also used a shaker bottle to disperse the dye powder directly ontop of wet, soda ash soaked fabric. Just another idea to try (in your spare time!).

Hillbilly Tonya said...

I like the idea. We didn't get any snow at all last year. Never happened in my life...but it just happened to be the winter I discovered snow dying.

Might have to try ice. If I ever buy dyes again. I want to. I really do. But I have a toddler that is always so very helpful.

Lynne said...

Wow! I must try that!

The Vegetarian Hunter said...

I think they have their place in the sweet pile, just depends what you want to make with them. I like them. Have you tried smashing the ice into smaller chunks/flakes? It may give you something closer to the snow effect you do like - if you leave some ice a little more chunky - I dont know, you are the expert in this, but it could be really interesting. Either way it will be fun =)

Anonymous said...

I have to say, I LOVE snow dyeing, but I would not put up with the trouble and mess with the sprinkling of Procion powder. I read the article, but did not do it.

When you snow dye, make sure to use a "mixed" color (vs. pure). Also, put the fabric and snow on top of something so the fabric is not sitting in its melted "muck" of colors. I use a 28qt, rectangle Sterlite bin with an old oven rack over the top. Fabric and snow on top, pour dye concentrate over and come back the next day. Candy Glendening also has a technique where she stretches door screening material over a plastic washtub, and puts the fabric on that. She clamps the screening around and under the lip of the wash bin with bankers clips. Thank you for sharing your fabric.
Johanna Fritz
Menomonee Falls, WI