I have done snow (or ice) dyeing for a while now but I always used Procion MX Fiber Reactive Dyes. I did a quick how to post about it here. But I have never tried snow dyeing with acid dyes. My group did a session of snow dyeing a couple of weeks ago and we used fiber reactive dyes. I dyed 10 silk scarves to sell at the store. I had 10 more scarves left when I got home but I had left my dyeing supplies at my friend’s house. What to do? I decided to try it with acid dyes. I didn’t find much online information about using acid dyes with snow except several people who said you couldn’t use acid dyes because the items needed to be steamed. Well, I’m never one to take someone else’s word for it. I have to experiment and see for myself.
Here’s my set up on the kitchen floor next to the heat vent. I used aluminum baking pans and put a rack on the bottom of three of them. The rack keeps the scarf up out of the melted snow and dye. The dark blue one in the foreground didn’t have a rack. You can do it either way but the rack keeps the color separation a bit more evident in the end result. I soaked the scarves in vinegar water first and then scrunched them up and laid them on the rack or the bottom of the pan. I then covered the scarves with snow. We’ve had plenty of that this year! Then I sprinkled the acid dye powder on top. It’s important to think about your color choices on these if you don’t want to come up with a yucky brown mess. I tend to stick with colors that are closer together on the color wheel. When you use black, it tends to separate out into its component colors so it is a bit unpredictable sometimes.
Now you must have patience and let everything melt. It’s easiest if you do this in the afternoon and let it melt overnight. Once it was all melted, I just picked up the scarves and put them into a gallon bag keeping like colors together. I had 4 open topped bags that I then put in the steam pot and steamed for 30 minutes. It also works best if you let the bags cool down to room temperature but I was out of time because I was heading out of town in two days. So I rinsed them in the sink until no dye was coming out, soaked them in hot water plus textile detergent, rinsed again and ran them through a delicate cycle in the washing machine and ironed them dry.
And it worked! I was very pleased with the results. You can’t really tell much difference between the acid dyes and the fiber reactive dyes. I had a few more variations than the photos above but couldn’t get good photos of all of them. These photos are fairly representative of the colors and patterns that you can achieve with snow or ice dyeing.
Have you tried any snow or ice dyeing? We’d love to see your results. Come show us over on the forum.