Saturday, February 4, 2012

Ice-cube dyeing

It has been a long time since I promised I would post an English version of my method of ice-cube dyeing that was published in the July edition of the Patchwork-Professinal magazine last year. Here it comes!
When you try this, you will get fantastic results in terms of color dispension and patterns –each one a unique piece. Don’t start with small pieces of fabric, as you will want to have more to work with!
I’m assuming that you know how to dye fabrics with ProcionMX dyes, the basics, security issues, materials and concentrations.
First, resoak your pfd-fabric in soda ash and let it dry on rack, hanging. That way you will get your fabric to be sufficiently flat.
Then mix your color. For a piece of fabric approx. 44 x 65 inch I mix a total of about three-fourths of a litre of colour. This solution is put into ice-cube trays (I have four trays, just enough for the amount of liquid) and these go into the freezer. Make plenty of room away from your food items in the freezer, and be careful when you put it in so you don’t spill anything. Because it will freeze right away and you don’t want to have to defrost your freezer to clean it all off. (Believe me, I learned the hard way...)

Cover a large table with plastic sheets so its surface is protected. I use cover sheets from operating rooms which I get from a friend who is a nurse.
When your ice-cubes are ready, spread the fabric onto the plastic covered table. I usually put it in at least three, sometimes even four layers. That way the lower layers will soak up melting water which a single layer would not be able to take in by itself. Noticeable results will be appearing unto as low as the third layer, perhaps even the fourth layer, anything below that will definitely require further treatment, but save you some mess...

Take the ice cubes out of the tray and spread them sort of evenly across the fabric.

When rinsing the ice-cube-trays, try to catch the water in a little bucket – you can either freeze it for another, lighter shade, or save it for a later step as described below.

Let the ice-cubes melt. Because the fabric has been soaked in soda ash a fixing is not needed anymore.

Check your result. If you find it has too many white spots, dry it on the rack and then put on another layer of ice-cubes, either a different color, or the ice cubes you made from the excess water when rinsing the trays as mentioned above. Or, if you did not freeze the leftover water, you could put the piece of fabric into the excess water in a bucket. Or you can paint into the white spots with foam brushes. ... Or... 

Different mixtures will show a different appearance after melting. Here is a comparison between 'orange' and 'bronze'.

These were the second and third layers under 'bronze' above, subsequently overdyed with yellow ice-cubes (probably layer 3 and 4, can't exactly remember).

In this following series you can see how a fabric will change with repeated applications. This is the result of a first application of blue ice-cubes.

This is the result of a second application, this time yellow ice-cubes. There were still a few white spots left.

So a third application took care of those. 

Have fun experimenting!

1 comment:

  1. I love ice dyeing ! I cover the fabric with ice cubes and then sprinkle dye powder on the ice. Your method looks very interesting.. I will be trying your way! Thank you for sharing!