Lots of people like the effect of snow dyed fabric. Some want to buy the fabrics but some people want to make it themselves instead. Yesterday’s post was for the buyers. Today’s post is for the makers. For those who want to do snow dyeing this is not a full tutorial but here are some tips from my sessions last week. If you need a full tutorial try this one from Dharma Trading.
Soda Soaked Fabric
The fabrics has to be soda soaked first. I tried working with it dry and wet and found no real difference. I did not iron the fabric but I settled on this process:
- Cut and fold the fabric into the shape. I spritzed it with a little water to help hold creases.
- Soda soak the fabric. It was much easier to handle the fabric if I folded it first and soda soaked it last. I let it sit in the soda solution a few hours to make sure it soaked through all layers.
- Drain the fabric. I set the fabric up on a grid of some sort over a bin so that the excess soda solution could drain out. I left my fabric overnight to dry out some. In the future I would consider prepping a lot of fabric ahead of time and letting it totally dry out. You can leave soda soaked fabric for months and it will be OK.
Fabrics arranged for soda soaking. Pour the soda solution over the fabrics and let sit for several hours before draining. Leftover soda solution is still good to use again.
Arranging the fabric
I have the best results when the fabric is elevated over a container so that as the melted snow drips through the fabric and the fabric doesn’t sit in the water. To be less wasteful you could scrunch soda soaked fabric in the bottom of the bin to collect the runoff dye. It would give some great texture too.
Experiment with different ways to fold and arrange the fabric.
In this example I used a opened cardboard box lined with a trash bag to create a tube so that I could wedge some fabrics on end.
The piece on the right is a mandala that’s been rolled and then set flat. Try every idea you come up with. The results will surprise you.
I got good results with 2 methods.
1. Using dye concentrate I applied the dye on top of about 4” of snow.
2. Using dye powders I spread a light layer of snow and then sprinkled on dye
and then added more snow on top of the dye powder.
Things I tried but didn’t like as much:
Dye powder on top of the snow. It seems to lose a lot of color when it has to melt through 4” of snow but I think the process does need about 4” of snow for the color to migrate through all layers of fabric so put the powder closer to the fabric.
Diluted dye just doesn’t work well at all.
Dye powder directly on the fabric and under the snow. This left behind some dye speckles that I didn’t care for but a lot of dyers have success with this method.
After the snow is applied just leave it until it melts and then wash out as you normally do. Following are some samples of fabrics with photos of how they were arranged and dye applied.