Tuesday, 28 April 2015

How to: ice dye fabric

Iced dyed cotton
I’m sure that like me, most of us just want to see summer and enjoy some sun.  We’ve had some bizarre weather here recently: last week it was warm, dry and sunny; this week it is sleeting and pretty miserable.  I was too busy taking the kids sledging when we had a small amount of snow this winter to do any snow dyeing and as I was teaching a dyeing class last week, I thought it would be fun to try ice dyeing.  I know – it would have been more optimistic to do sun printing!
Iced dyed cotton muslin
I found a little bit on the web about ice dyeing, but not a huge amount of detail, so I thought I would share my experiences with you to add to the general knowledge out there.
Iced dyed cotton
You need a container to hold the fabric and ice and then something underneath for the excess dye water to run into so it doesn’t muddy the fabric.  Most people use some kind of rack over a sink, but I didn’t have a rack, so I used a foil tray bake tray in which I punched some holes with a scalpel knife.  It worked really well.  I balanced it over an Ikea storage box.
Iced dyed cotton
First I soda-ashed the fabric and it seemed to work better if you left the fabric wet rather than using dried fabric.  I placed this in the bottom of the tray, all scrunched up.  I poured a bag of ice over the top, making sure that the fabric was covered.  Some people use crushed ice, but these were cubes and I didn’t break them down.  Finally, gently pour some concentrated dye liquid over the ice cubes.  For one of the experiments, I sprinkled dye powder directly onto the ice, but I’m not particularly comfortable with having the dye particles floating around my studio and even after the ice had dissolved there were still some lumps of powder left.  I also don’t think the result was that different, so it is better to use the safer method.
Iced dyed cotton muslin using dye powder
And that’s it!  You just leave it overnight until all the ice cubes have melted and the excess dye has dripped through.  Wash the fabric out in cold water.  The excess dye is still good for dipping another fabric in and it already has soda ash in it.  That’s what I used for my original shibori dyeing.
Iced dyed cotton

The students on Friday also had a go and some of their results were fantastic.  I can’t wait to show them.  The next couple of Friday classes are Screen Printing on 1 May and Gelli Plate Printing on 8 May.  There are still a couple of places left so if you are in the area and want to join, please drop me an email or leave a comment.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular Posts