Musings from the mind of a modern day Sue.

Posts tagged ‘Rit Dye’

Snow Dyeing Fabric

Last Winter, I read a little about dyeing fabric with snow. The idea sounded interesting, but I was planning to try my hand at other types of fabric dyeing. So, I spent a few days in the summer trying some resist dyeing techniques, namely low water immersion and shibori. You can read about these attempts HERE.

With so much snow this Winter, I decided I needed to take advantage of it and try out the resist dye technique of snow dyeing. After the idea settled in my head, I passed by some powdered Rit Dye on clearance at Meijer. I picked up some Soda Ash at Hobby Lobby and watched a couple of You-Tube videos on the topic.

I use muslin at a low cost to try out these dyeing techniques.  After learning the technique, I may choose to purchase fabric and dyes of a higher quality to prepare more fabric. To begin the snow dye process, I soaked the muslin in a Soda Ash solution for 20 minutes. This allows the dye to take to the fabric better. After wringing out the excess solution, the fabric was bunched up and place on a slotted surface over a tub. I made do with a plastic shoe rack from my closet and placed it over two tubs. The entire setup was placed inside the bathtub for ease in rinsing the fabric and cleaning up. I gathered snow from the back deck and placed it on top of the fabric. Powdered dye was sprinkled across the snow, which acts as a resist until melted. The dye colors I used were Fushia, Golden Yellow, and Dark Green. My choices were based upon the selection on the clearance shelf.

Snow Dyeing Setup

Snow Dyeing Setup #1

Snow Dyeing Setup #2

Snow Dyeing Setup #2

Fabric after snow melted

Fabric after snow melted

After the snow melts, the fabric is rinsed until clear. I didn’t get the results that I was hoping for. Maybe the fabric pieces were too large, but the dye did not penetrate through the pieces. Large areas of white muslin remained untouched by the dye. I chose to re-dye one of the pieces. Another piece was flipped over part way through the melting and the snow added to the other side to finish melting. Here are the three samples I created.

Re-dyed Fabric #1

Re-dyed Fabric #1

Fabric #2

Fabric #2

Fabric #3

Fabric #3

I probably won’t be trying snow dyeing again anytime soon, although there is plenty of snow outside. The technique was time consuming and the results were less than satisfying. I would really like to try Batik dyeing and additional attempts of Shibori dyeing.

Happy Dyeing!


Shibori Fabric Dyeing

Here is the follow-up with the results from my second day of fabric dyeing. I was interested in trying a Japanese technique called Shibori. This is a resist dye technique that uses string or thread to create areas where the dye is not able to penetrate. The result leaves a unique design in the fabric. I tried two types of resist – string wrapped around a tin can, and basting lines of thread across fabric. My results matched the samples that came with the directions I followed at the Rit Dye website and on Quilting Arts TV.


Here are the results of the dyeing. The fabrics in the first picture were dyed using the string & tin can method, while the fabrics in the second picture were dyed using the hand stitched method. The third picture shows the purple hand stitched fabric as it was drying on the grass outdoors. I will review the two techniques below, with pictures taken during the process.

The first technique called for a large tin can. To begin, I folded a fat quarter size piece of muslin around a tin can. Then, a piece of string was wrapped around the center of the can and knotted, leaving about a 3″ tail. The string was tightly wound around the can from the center to the bottom of one side of the can. After winding the string around the can a few times, the fabric was scrunched toward the center of the can, then more windiing and scrunching, until the end of the fabric. The string was wound a couple times around the can to get back to the center, then the entire process was repeated with the other side of the can. Finally, the string was wound back to the center and the end knotted together with the initial 3″ tail. I neglected to take pictures of the wrapped tin can before it was dyes, but the following are pictures of the tin cans after the fabrics were dyed.


Here is one of the fabrics created from this process. You can see that the dye did not penetrate through all the fabric.  I tried using less string, thinking that the string was not allowing enough dye to penetrate to the extra fabric, but there was not enough string to create the design. Each of my fabrics created this same look, so the folds in the fabric were the real issue. I plan to use a larger tin can the next time that I do this, so that the fabric does not have to be folded.


The second technique used thread to create areas of resist. I tried this process following the instructions that follow, but modified the stitching process for further fabrics. Instructions indicated drawing chalk lines 1-1/2 inches apart on the long side of the fabric. Then, basting stitches were sewn along each chalk line. Last, the basting stitches were pulled up, creating a fan fold affect, and the threads were knotted. Here are pictures of this process.


The fan fold created by the stitching creates creases in the fabric that do not take the dye, causing the resist. The preparation process is tedious, so I decided to try it by fan folding the fabric without the basting stitches, then using a large upholstery needle to pull thread through the layers. It took a lot less time and the effect was the same. Check out these photos of the fabric being dyed.


All the fabrics are placed in water and the excess squeezed out, before applying the dye. In this technique, the dye is squirted from a bottle along the folds. The fabric is turned over and dyed on the other side, as well. Then, a second dye is squirted along folds. Different effects are obtained depending on how much dye is used and the area of crossover where the two colors meet, creating a secondary color. There can be many combinations within the cloth. One of the fabrics that I dyed was made by using up all the extra dye in the squirt bottles, so that a rainbow of colors was created.

So, there is the process for creating your own Japanese Shibori resist dyed fabrics. I really enjoyed the process of making the different designs in the fabric, and learned a lot about using dyes. I hope to make this into a regular event, creating fabric to use in my quilts. Maybe you will consider trying this technique, as well.

Happy Dyeing!

Fabric Dyeing

I spent two days last week dyeing fabric. It was a lot of fun, but tiring standing on my feet so much. In the end, I created about four yards of brightly colored fabrics.

This was my first attempt at dyeing fabric. I have done some tie-dyeing in my younger days. But, this venture was planned to acquire a basic understanding of how dye interacts with fabric. I wanted to understand the concepts I had been reading and see the results for myself. I could also decide if I enjoyed this enough to invest in better supplies. For this project, ;I purchased basic supplies and pre-washed muslin fabric I had on hand, rather than purchasing PFD fabrics; PFD=Prepared For Dyeing. I chose to use Rit liquid dyes in three basic colors: Fushia, Aquamarine, and Lemon Yellow. These were a good choice because of the ease of use, low cost, and convenience in purchasing. I prepared an area for my dyeing area and dressed appropriately. Here are the results of my first dyeing attempts, along with my table set-up.

Low Immersion Dyed Fabrics
Table left side Table right side

I chose to do low-water immersion for my first day of dyeing. Since the muslin fabric that I had on hand was 54″ wide, the sample pieces that I cut were larger than traditional fat quarters. I did not use an adequate amount of dye to obtain a bright color. The volume of dye to the weight of the fabric determines the depth of the color. From this dyeing experience, I determined that the amount of water added to the container did not make a difference in the depth of color, only the weight of the fabric.

Purple shades

Here’s a look at the table with the dye containers, and some of the fabrics after removing them from the dye. The fabric on the right was dyed using a different mix of colors and more dye than the fabric on the left, giving a darker shade.

Second dyeing

Here are more samples of my second dyeing attempts using the correct volume of dye for the weight of the fabric. I used recipes from a Quilting Arts TV project on fabric dyeing. See how much brighter my aquamarine and lime green samples appear next to the first attempts. The mottled look is achieved by the low-water immersion technique. I tried Japanese Shibori dyeing techniques for my second day of dyeing. I will follow-up with those samples in another post.

Happy Dyeing!

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