Thursday, 7 January 2010

Snow dyeing

Kevin, Lilly and Daisy in the snow

"Snow makes whiteness where it falls
The bushes look like popcorn balls
And places where I always play
Look like somewhere else today"

By Mary Allen

Today both boys made it to school (at least for some of the day) and then I had a call to say the school where I was due to go this afternoon was closing early so they wouldn't need me. What do you do on a snowy day with an hour or two spare........snow dyeing. I have been wanted to try this ever since Julie at Mixed Media shared her dyeing last February.

I started by soaking some cotton in soda ash. I wrung this out and put it in a cat litter tray but supported on some plastic trays, I did put some rusted fabric that I didn't like under the trays. I have read several blogs on how to snow dye, each having slightly different instructions. I decided to put the snow on top of the fabric and then pour dye on top. I'm not sure if it reflects my mood or not but I am in a red/black phase at the moment. I made the dyes quite strong but if the final colour is too intense I will just take some out with discharge paste. The second tray had fabric pushed to the bottom of a metal cutlery holder which had a wire bottom. I'm hoping this might give me a scrunched effect. This again had snow packed down on top before the dye was poured on.

The third tray was a "what if" moment. I soaked the fabric and then just sprinkled black procion dye powder over it. I tried to do this sparingly but the dark areas show just how hard this was in the cold. I put snow over the top and the poured more soda ash solution over the top. I have decided not to bring the trays inside but leave them outside overnight. It is snowing at the moment and will definitely freeze, I will bring them inside tomorrow morning and wait for things to defrost! I wish that I had put some threads into the trays but it had started to snow and my hands were so cold that my mind was focused on getting inside by the fire.

My aim is to have some fabric that I can use in my January 2010 journal quilt. If it defrosts I will share photos tomorrow. By the way we now have heat and a fully working Rayburn thanks to the very nice repair man.


  1. Yay! To having a working Rayburn :o) I have been procrstinating about snow dyeing but I intend to do some using the same method you've used. I've had to bring all my dye equipment into the conservatory cos it's too cold in my studio. I like the idea of sprinkling the dye directly onto the fabric.

  2. I should have said, I like the ideaof leaving the fabric out to freeze. I saw on a blog somebody did this with watercolour on paper and she got some lovely effects. Not sure I could stand painting outside tho, especially with this cough. Did you use salt in this dyeing? I get very confused about salt!

  3. thanks for the instructions - I didn't really know how to start - glad you are warm again - this really is a deep freeze


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