A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

My Try at Ice Dyeing

I finally had a chance to try some ice dyeing.

Here is my set up--I used two small containers (I only show one in the picture.) in which to scrunch fabric and one big container covered with a grid. I placed two fabrics in the big container under the grid and placed the remaining fabrics on top of the grid. Then, I covered the fabrics with ice I purchased at the store and sprinkled the ice with powdered dyes. Here's the setup...
Here are two of the fabrics before dyeing. The piece on the left is a "wipe-up" rag. The fabric on the right is an OLD calico fabric that I really hated. I thought any kind of dyeing could only help this poor "dog."
Here is what they looked like after ice dyeing. The fabric on the right was one of the fabrics placed under the grid for dyeing.
These are some commercial fabrics I wanted to experiment with.
After dyeing...
This is a flour-paste resist piece before dyeing.
This is after dyeing. This fabric was in one of the small round containers. I used fire engine red, rust orange, and bronze dyes.
Another piece of flour-paste resist before...
And after... This fabric was in one of the small round containers. I used rust, bronze, pumpkin spice, and golden yellow dyes.
This is the only "plain" piece I dyed. It was one of the fabrics under the grid.
I like the results, but I didn't get that "crystal" effect I like so much. I think there are a couple of reasons for that. I wanted to see what difference it would make to use dry fabric to start with, so I used fabric I had preciously soda soaked and dried. The other reason might be that the ice I used was not really small. There were big chunks of ice rather than small cubes. (I think I read somewhere that that might make a difference.)


  1. I love the dye over the flour paste resist fabrics, but I am not clear on the effect you were seeking. Wouldn't have just dropping the dye onto the fabric with, say, a pipette have given the same result?

  2. This is exactly what experimentation is all about. What if? I like a sense of adventure.

  3. The fabric being dry may have been the factor. I've always ice dyed with wet. Not sure about the ice size since I've usually use regular ice cubes from my freezer. Your pieces did come out lovely though. I love the flour paste resist yellow one. So much fun to experiment.

  4. Interesting results! I have not tried ice dyeing on dry fabric. I imagine that it would act as a resist to the dye wicking over the fabric. As for not getting the crystal effect, it's hard to say whether it is because of the size of the ice, the dry vs wet of the fabric, or serendipity. But like Beth B says, that's part of the fun of experimenting! How about if you try again, only with wet soda soaked fabric and replicating all other factors just to see if you get more of the crystal effect? Then maybe try one with larger ice cubes instead of crushed ice? It's the 'what if' concept that got me to do the series on various scrunch methods in the first place, so now you have my curiosity going!

  5. I am new to dyeing.....but what intrigues me is the "not" knowing for certain what your results will be. These are all wonderful. Isn't the experimentation a large part of the FUN?!!!!
    I suppose if you want specific colour/pattern/bleeding.....well, isn't that what paint is for? :-)

  6. @living to work - working to live, this WAS an experiment for me. I wasn't trying to get any specific effect. I just wanted to see what would happen if I used the dry fabric. I have already done snow dyeing with wet fabric and had seen what the other resident artists had done with wet fabric. As Beth said, it is the "what if" I was going for. You will usually get crystal-looking bursts of color when ice/snow dyeing. With the dry fabric, I got more soft "blobs" of color rather than sharp "bursts" of color.

  7. I have been doing ice dyeing recently and my ice cubes are rather large but it gives great effects. I think it had more to do with the fabric being dry.

    Love the flour paste resist

  8. I have snow dyed, not tried ice yet. I do love the results of the pieces that were flour paste resisted, esp the golden brown one.


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