Sunday, January 10, 2010

My Version of the Snow Dye Process

So, we've had a LOT of snow. What to do? What else, dye fabric in the snow!! This was really the perfect snow for dyeing - not too wet, not too dry, just right!

I grabbed some of my dye bins, soda ash soaked some PFD fabrics and wadded them up into the bins:

At this point, some people let the fabric freeze, but not me - too impatient! So I packed them all to the brim with snow. (NOTE: I have since found that freezing the fabric first does have an effect - you get much crisper lines in the finished fabric as you can see from my subsequent blogs where I did freeze the fabric.)

Then I brought them inside to my wet studio and squirted dye on the snow. I used 2 colors on each, mixing them up with the 5 colors of fiber reactive procion dye that I had mixed. The dyes were Lemon Yellow, Brilliant Blue, Pagoda Red, Ultra Violet and Forest Green. I tend to choose dyes that are mixtures of color, rather than what they call "primaries" so that the colors come apart on the fabric and give some really unique results. Here are the fabrics after I put dye on them:

And here they are melting . . .

You can see the dye start to wick down into the fabric:

And melting . . .

And more wicking . . .

Over half way - this takes probaby 6-8 hours to get it totally melted.

And I took these just before I went to bed. The snow is nearly gone. I thought this was going to be a rather ugly piece from looking at this, but it's NOT!!

Here they are totally melted. I let them sit like this till they're room temperature, (or 24 hours, whichever comes first!) then rinse them out by hand, then they go through 2 super hot washes, the first with synthrapol in my dye dedicated top loader and the second in my front loader with regular detergent and fabric softener on the sanitary cycle. They're in the wash now, so as soon as they're done and I can iron them, I'll post pictures of the results. Stay tuned!!

(Yes, that's the "ugly" one!)


  1. I can't wait to see how they turned out...

  2. I wish so much that I could try this technique but we don't get snow! Your results are spectacular... don't you love pulling beautiful fabrics out of the wash that you know YOU made? Addictive!

    - Judi (fellow hand dyer)

  3. Hi Beth, did you put any sort of thing at the bottom of the containers to keep the colours from pooling up? or did you just pack the fabric strait in the bottom?
    I am hoping to do some of this before our snow goes.
    Sandy in the UK

  4. Wonderful I love them. We've had some snow but I've been too busy doing other stuff to play with it. Nice to live vicariously through you :)

  5. Your pieces turned out great but my question is do you just let it sit in the liquid or do you siphon it out? I'm surprised you can get $30 for each piece.

  6. Great tutorial on snow dyeing. Do you let them sit overnight? I also looked at the finished pieces and they are gorgeous.
    I must try this today!

  7. Interesting, I live in Southern California and do the same process using the sun.

  8. This is simply amazing to me! Thanks for the turorial.

  9. Amazing technique. You are clever!

  10. I'm trying this and today will show the finished product. Thanks for the tutorial!

  11. Well, my dyeing with snow didn't work out so well. I used Pro MX Fiber Reactive dye and thought I followed all directions. I had used some dye I had left over from another dyeing session so this time I'll use "new" dye. Am I correct in assuming you rinse by hand in cold water once the fabric has reached room temp? Then on to the hot water washes? I hope my next try at this will be more successful. Thanks.

  12. My next time was successful! Love the process :)