Saturday, January 28, 2012


You might think that I'm crazy, well that might be another blog someday, but at the end of last winter I read an article about snow dyeing fabric.  Since it was the end of winter and we had a record snowfall last year, I was pretty tired of snow by then.  I decided that I would tuck the article away and try next winter.  Well next winter is here.  While watching the snow falling last week, I remembered the article.  I began searching for all the dyes, soda ash and urea that I would need on line.  Well my dyes and supplies arrived on Thursday and this afternoon I set off for our garage with fabric and supplies in hand to try my first encounter with snow dyeing! 

If you're interested here is the supplies list. 
  • Dust mask (I bought mine at the hardware store)
  • Rubber gloves like the dishwashing type (again the hardware store)
  • Laundry sink or large plastic tote (Got my tote at the Dollar General)
  • non metallic screen or mesh (Tulle or nylon net, I used a double layer of tulle)
  • Large binder clips or small spring clamps
  • PFD (prepared for dyeing fabric)
  • Soda ash (sodium carbonate, not sodium bicarbonate)
  • Gallon bottle with lid (use a leftover milk jug)
  • Large funnel (Dollar Store or Dollar General)
  • Procion MX dyes (I found an autumn sampler of 6 fall color dyes at Pro Chemical Dye, also got my soda ash there)
  • Urea (nitrogen fertilizer, Pro Chemical has it also)
  • 12 or 16 oz bottle with tight fitting lids or squirt tops, one for each color you'll be using)
  • Large bucket
  • Rags and sponges (to clean up any messes!)
  • Old clothes and shoes or boots (again in case of a mess or spills)
  • SNOW!!!!!
  • Synthrapol textile detergent or liquid dish soap (The Synthrapol came in my sampler set from Pro Chemical and Dye)
Wearing a dust mask measure 1/2 c. soda ash into the gallon jug with a funnel.  Fill the jug halfway up with warm water, close tightly and shake.  Continue filling the rest with the warm water and shake more.  Put the fabric into a small tote or dishpan and pour the soda ash mixture over the fabric.  Make sure you have your rubber gloves on and squeeze through the fabric and let sit about 20 minutes while you prepare your dyes.  Here's my fabric soaking!
Now in your squirt bottles, mix 1 tablespoon of the dye and the urea with warm water.  Put the lid on and shake until all lumps are dissolved.  By the way, use your funnel to do this.  It's a lot less mess.  And make sure you have your dust mask and gloves on too!!  Let the dyes cool off a bit so the snow doesn't melt too fast!

 Next prepare your large tote for the fabric.  Place your double layer of tulle or your screen on the top of the tote and clamp with the large binder clips.  Use plenty, the fabric and snow are going to be heavy and better to have too many than not enough!  Now wearing your gloves squeeze out the fabric and arrange on the screen topped tote.  You can save the excess soda solution and reuse it again later.  Crumple the fabric up into hills and valleys but make sure you leave room around the outside of the screen for extra snow.  Rumor has it the more tightly crumpled fabric will give you more undyed white areas.  

Now it's time to play in the snow.  It doesn't have to be free of dirt and stick.  You're fabric is going to get rinsed anyway, but stay away from the yellow snow!!!  In a bucket, bring the snow in and cover the fabric about 2 inches thick.  Make sure the edges and corners are well covered.

It's time to dye!  You can squirt, pour, drizzle or drip or all of them!  Whatever floats your boat.  I used 3 color, turkey red, tangerine and loden.  I had no idea what color loden was.  Found out that it's green!!
For the darker colors, use more dye.  Here's what my dye covered snow looked like.....
I know it looks kinda gross.  This was taken right after I did it.  I just checked on the fabric and it's been about 1 1/2 hours since I applied the dyes and it has lightened up considerably.  I was a little worried that it would be UGLY when it was finished, but I feel better about the colors after just this amount of time.  Now I just have to continue waiting.  Guess you're supposed to wait about 6 hours. 

I'll play the waiting game and show the results and how to finish off the dyeing process in a blog tomorrow.  We'll see if this little science experiment is a success then!!  Fingers crossed!!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I can't wait to see how the fabric turns out! So exciting!