Snow Dyeing with Acid Dyes

Snow Dyeing with Acid Dyes

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.

17 thoughts on “Snow Dyeing with Acid Dyes

  1. Interesting how some people claimed acid dyes couldn’t be used for snow dyeing – I’ve seen nothing but acid dyes being used in this technique!

    Have you tried ice dyeing? It’s the same but you use ice instead. It also lends to some pretty interesting results! I like the red and purple ones you made 🙂

    1. Thanks Leonor! I guess I looked in the wrong place for my information 😉 The first post that I referenced was about ice dyeing and yes, it gives a different look than the snow I think. But we had lots of snow so might as well use it up!

    2. That’s a good use for snow if I ever saw one! We might have another blizzard in a few days so I might try this 😬

  2. Great results Ruth! The idea for using the racks is good especially using snow. I’ve used acid dyes for ice dyeing and they do work well. I’m glad you tried it. Your customers will have a lot of beautiful choices.

    1. Thanks Marilyn, the racks do give the end result a cleaner look as the fabric doesn’t sit in the mixed residue of all the dyes. I hope my customers start buying soon 🙂

  3. Lovely to see your beautiful snow dieing. The colours are wonderful. Lovely to be out front of the pack. Pamela Shell

  4. Shows how received wisdom isn’t always! I like the black and green one – are the yellow and orange the result of the black separating out?

  5. Thanks Kim, yes, you can’t always believe what you read on the internet, fake news and all that 😉
    Yes, the black separating out causes the red and orange colors. I think that was a mix of yellow and black if I recall.

  6. Ooh, you got great results, Ruth! We get a lot of hailstone here, I wonder how that would turn out! 🙂

    1. Thanks Zed, hailstones would work for sure. Ice works great and that is what hailstones are. Give it a try 🙂

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