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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Snow & Ice Dying

In this month's Dharma Trading newsletter there was an article on dying fabric using ice or snow.  Well, this is right up my alley and I had all the supplies so I just had to get creative today. 
The recipe called for soaking the fabrics (t-shirts in my case), in a pre-soak of soda ash & water.  Let me tell you, the fabric dyes are so strong, they will react to fabric even without the soda ash, but you should pre-wash all fabrics to remove any manufacturers chemicals used in their factories. (Caution-if using soda ash, be sure to wear rubber gloves as this stuff will really dry out your hands.  It seems to strip the oils right out of your skin.) 
I happened to have some Dylon Cold Water and Rit Color Water fabric dyes too, so I have used those on one of the t-shirts as an experiment.  (Keeping my fingers crossed that the combination works-midnight blue and tea stain!  What a wonderful result this will produce-if it works!)
After the fabric has pre-soaked, wring it out and scrunch it up on a surface that is raised inside a plastic bucket or in my case, a turkey baking pan.  I used an inverted plastic container because I didn't have any cooling racks. (Never use utensils or cooking dishes that you intend to use for food!  Once you use fabric dyes with them, throw them out or save them to use with fabric dyes again-they should never be used with food again!) 
Pile up as much ice as you can.  I even stuffed some inside the shirts and under the shirts so that when they melted, they would thin out the dyes a little more.  I then sprinkled my fabric dyes using combinations that I knew would look good together.  I used from 2 to 4 colors per shirt.  Once I had the dyes on each ice covered shirt, I covered the whole thing with snow.  Packed it on like a giant snowball.  This trapped the dyes between the ice cubes and the snow, which hopeful will allow the ice longer to melt, allowing the dyes to work longer on the fabric.  (Maybe-I'll see)  Once this was all done, I covered each pan with a dry cleaner bag and left it to melt away.  Tomorrow I should be able to reveal the results.  Stay tuned!

UPDATE: Major disaster avoided!  I went into the kitchen to check the progress of the dying process late last night and found a mess from either a pinhole in one of the baking pans, or the dye wicked off the plastic cover!  Thank goodness I had the counter top covered in plastic!  I cleaned up the mess and put the T-shirts into the inverted plastic trays, then covered them with the baking pans.  Once the dye has processed, I will throw the pans away.  Wouldn't want this to happen again.  I also will not be using plastic again, if it will touch the dye covered snow!  Lesson learned!

1 comment:

Carolyn S said...

Can't wait to see your results, Cindy. I spent my day cleaning the upstairs, changing beds and so on. I love football and the Fiesta Bowl will be on this evening to finish up my day.