Ice dyeing, how to!

Check out part 1 of my ice dyeing blog posts here: Ice dyeing equipment & soaking.

After soaking my fabrics for 20-minutes (more info on that here), I cracked on with the next steps!

Set up the equipment

It helped to have everything set up so that once the soaking was done, I was ready to go.

The corrugated cardboard collars needed to be taped to stay in its circular form and it would have been more useful if I had cut them higher so that they acted as a barrier for even more ice.

I used 1 bag of ice, which I had crushed on the ground (still in the bag) to separate the ice cubes as much as possible. I could/should have used more to totally cover the fabrics. If you sprinkle the powdered dye directly onto the fabric then you get powder dye spots rather than the renaissance cloud texture of the ice dye.

Want easy to follow step-by-step instructions?

Check out my 2-page PDF which includes 1 pages of easy to follow instructions.

Note: I did not use gloves for any step because I’m a rebel, but the inside of my fingernails are still showing the dye colours… You should also use a mask while handling the dye powder.

The fun part: dyeing

Of course, the best part of this project is sprinkling the Procion MX powdered dye onto the ice!

Wearing a mask, sprinkle your Procion PX dye over the ice with a spoon. You can add multiple colours, but remember that neighbouring colours will blend together as they melt. That may or may not make colours that you enjoy.

Keep your colour-theory in mind when choosing colours to put onto the same fabric, as the blending of your colours could give you muddy browns which might not be what you were aiming for.

Colour splitting with the dye powder

Once of the luck-of-the-draw things about ice dyeing is the colour split that happens! You can see in the pictures below that there are spots of yellow and blue and pinks and burgundy- this is from a selection of colours that were all pinks and warm blacks and browns. Basically, each powdered dye is made up of lots of other colours of powder, and within a burgundy dye pot you might get specks of yellow and blue and other colours (you know, because of that whole primary colours making other colours thing)!

So, although I guessed some colour combos that I thought would be nice together, it was also quite nice to watch those sub-colours popping out as the dyes split. I think this happened more when the powder touched the fabric directly (instead of melting with the ice), so you can lean into it if you would like.

Time to wait!

Then you need to wait patiently for your ice to melt. Keep your ice out of the sun though as having it melt too quickly can change affect your results! I waited overnight for my ice to melt and came back the following morning to take the next steps- stay tuned!

Skip ahead?

Check out my 2-page PDF which rounds up places in NZ to purchase sodium carbonate and where in NZ sells the cheapest Procion MX dyes and also includes easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions!

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