What a day for snow dyeing!

I’ve been reading posts on my art quilter list about a technique for dyeing fabric using snow. Contrary to all I’ve read and heard about procion dyes, the process does not need to be done at 70 degrees. Obviously the snow is cold, yet the dyes set just fine.

I tried two techniques. With the first, I elevated the fabric above a plastic storage box so the liquids could drain away. Soak the fabric with soda ash and arrange in a “scrunch”. Then pack 3-5″ of snow all over and around the fabric. Pour the dyes over the snow/fabric.

Fabrics in boxes

Dye poured over snow

This resulted in some gorgeous yardage!

yellow, red and blue dyes

teal and bronze

safari gray and black

Another way of snow dyeing described by another artist involved soaking the fabric in soda ash water and freezing the fabric. Then it’s packed with snow and dyes applied. This didn’t work so well for me. Since it was supposed to snow that night, I just soaked and arranged the fabric and set it out on the deck.

Lo and behold! Next morning Mother Nature had frozen that fabric and covered it in 5″ of snow! Again I poured dyes over each box. I left it in the garage to melt slowly. It was the next day by the time the snow had disappeared. When I rinsed the fabrics, there was a lot of undyed, white fabric still. Apparently the soda ice didn’t allow the dyes to migrate through the fibers as it did when the fabric was only wet.

After ironing and photographing these fabrics, I realize that it would have worked fine if I had used only one yard or less. My fabrics were each 1 1/2 yards and that was too much “scrunch” for the dye to penetrate. Lesson learned!

Article written by