Monday, February 14, 2011

I Had to Try It!

Heaven knows there has been enough snow around here this winter.  And I've been seeing so many posts about snow dyeing.  Well, I had to see if I can do it.

Keeping in mind that I am not really very skilled at things like mixing dyes and such.  In fact, I try to stay away from processes and materials that have CAUTION written in big letters all over the place!  Anything that requires doing some sort of pre-treatment and wearing a safety mask is automatically not my cup of tea!!!


So it's not surprising that the first effort went from the above . . .


. . . to this.  Actually, it's not a bad color of green, just not what I was going after.  For this attempt I used Dyna-Flo paints - which I've used in small pieces before - and a range of fabrics that were not pretreated.



The relative amount of cotton made a difference - with the darkest piece (right, above) coming out of unbleached muslin - but there are very subtle shadings in all the pieces and I do have something in mind for using them.

And no problem - there's still LOTS of snow!!

So during a trip to Michaels, I picked up some soda ash and packets of dye made by Tulip.  Honest to goodness fabric dye!  And I actually mixed up the soda ash and (are you ready for this?) pretreated the fabric!


Once again I used various fabrics.  The pieces above are (left to right) a piece of cotton knit undershirt, man's handkerchief, Shout Color Catcher (from the wash out), and a small piece of polyester blend.


Here is where things get interesting.  This is a yard of white muslin.  I believe it is 100% cotton, although I can't be sure.  These fabrics were pieces I "inherited" from either my Mom's stash when she downsized, or MIL's collection.


This one started out as unbleached muslin - about 2 yards.  These pictures are a little paler than the actual pieces, but not by a lot.  So, yes, the color variations are mostly subtle, but with some bright spots.  I know I can find uses for these fabrics!

So, this was something new for me and, yes, I learned a few things:

  • A gallon of water is a LOT of water and it makes a LOT of dye!  Yeeks!
  • No matter how hard I try to make it different, fiber content is very important to how the dye works.
  • The hotter the water, the more intense the color will be (I know this because it said so on the packet!), so the purpose of the snow is to interrupt the dye action so to speak.  I dipped a cloth in the warm dye and then laid it on top of the snow.  The dye wicked away from where it touched snow.  Interesting!
  • I am a total klutz around this type of project.  Snow all over the table . . . salt on the floor . . . red fingers even though I was wearing gloves!  Good grief!

I will probably try this again some time (I have another packet of soda ash and some blue dye), but the snow is melting now so it probably won't be soon.  Now, I need to come up with a project for pink!


Annie said...

This is completely new to me. It certainly makes pretty snow. You should build a snowman out of some of it!

Now I suspect you will be dying fabric right and left. I hear it's addicting. I'm too messy and live in too small a space to ever consider it.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Mandy said...

Wow, that really sounds such fun! Perhaps you could overdye some of the pink with another colour when you next have a go with this technique. You could do the same with the green too.

Kay said...

I laughed at your description of why you don't dye fabric much. It's so me! No face masks, please. Being married to a chemist has made me terribly conscious of toxic stuff, and I don't want to avoid it. Plus there's the dye everywhere as you described. Painting fabric is the same for me--no thanks.

(This is after I bought a bunch of paint...)