Snow Dyeing for Quilts
How To Do Your Own Snow Dyeing
- Prepare all surfaces by covering with plastic (best) or several layers of newspaper. Powdered dye flies everywhere so don’t be afraid to really extend your work area protection.
- Thoroughly wet the cotton or cotton-blend fabric you’ll be dyeing. Squeeze out excess water until just damp; drape and arrange as required in plastic tub.
- Prepare your dye – mine is a simple “just add water” brand. Bear in mind that the more dilute you make the dye, the weaker the colour will be; the snow will make it even weaker. Choose colours with care or wild abandon. I’ve had success with using red/blue/purple and blue/green/yellow together but also using a single colour of varying dilutions. To use the latter start with a single bottle of strong dye, use until about half done, add water and repeat.
- Pack the bin that you’ve placed the fabric into with snow. No need to remove the fabric to add the snow. Just put it on top and cover the fabric.
- Apply dye as desired. Swirls, lines, it doesn’t matter as you can’t really control the results. Allow to sit in the protected work area for several hours (probably four to eight hours, depending on the temperature of the work area and how much snow you’ve used).
- I like to periodically drain the water and dye from the bottom of the bin every half hour or so. Alternatively you can leave it (which may affect the finished effect) OR you can set up a rack over a sink to allow it to drain itself. I don’t include this as more than an option to consider as it carries its own risks, advantages, challenges, and results.
- Once all snow has melted, or you’re happy with how the dye has saturated through the fabric (remembering the colour will appear darker when wet) carefully remove fabric from the bin and rinse. Wring out and wash without detergent separately from regular laundry or as directed on the package of the dye you used. Remove from washer and test for colourfastness – I like to wet the fabric and wring it over a white paper towel. If any colour appears (I’ve never had this happen) another rinse is in order, but if the water never runs clear the piece is not colourfast and not suitable for most quilts.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial for snow dyeing! It’s a fun, fantastic way to get some beautiful and unique fabric for your quilts using our frigid, annoying, fun, Canadian winter season as inspiration. Have fun! 🙂
Here are some of the results: