Snow Dyeing – A tutorial

Snow makes beautiful patterns in fabric. Below is a tutorial on how I use snow to dye fabric.

First, place at least one yard of prepared for dyeing fabric (PFD) in a dishpan or other type of tub. Fold it or scrunch it for more interesting patterns. Next pour one cup per yard, of prepared dye activated water to moisten the cloth. (To make dye activator add 1/2 c salt and 1/3 cup soda ash to 1 gallon of warm water.) You must use safety precautions when mixing powders, by wearing a dust mask or respirator.

Pack the pan with snow. I fill it up and pack it down.

Pour or squirt dye concentrate onto the snow. This time I put the dye concentrate into a squirt bottle (not spray bottle) and squirted different colors on the snow.  I use Procion MX Dye powders. (When mixing the dye concentrate, always use safety precautions by wearing a dust mask. Nothing is worth risking your  health.)

As the snow melts, the dye hits the fabric at different levels and at different concentrations.

Once the snow has melted, you can rinse the fabric in warm water until the water runs clear. Then wash your fabric in the washing machine with hot water and 1 tsp synthrapol.

Each yard is unique and beautiful. For more intense color, use more dye, although the fabric does have a point where it reaches saturation and will accept no more color.

Have fun. Let me know how yours turns out!

15 comments to Snow Dyeing – A tutorial

  • Betty Tyree

    I read your quilting arts artical and was fascinated . I always wanted to try. Got supplies together, and waited and waited. . It’s March and we had a big snow. Almost melted before I found everything. I loved the results. Thank you so much for the information . Question? How fast do you want the snow to melt? With in four hours? More than eight? Does it make a difference? Wish I had more snow to do it again.

  • Hi, I would like to try this with natural dyes. Any suggestions…other than “try it and see”.

  • Sonya Anderson

    For those that don’t have any snow or don’t get snow, you can use crushed ice to snow dye. It gives a slightly different result, but looks beautiful just the same.

  • Marylee drake

    We just finished squirting dye on our fabric. We added a little water to the bottles and used the dilute dye to make our newly made snowman colorful. Check out my face book page: marylee drake

  • Jill Ellis

    I wish I’d known this 3 days ago: the Seattle area had a ton of snow, but it’s melted this morning. Maybe next time!

  • faithnjoy2

    Awesome idea! Don’t have the supplies this time but you bet we will next time. With squirt dyes and proper safety I bet my 8 year old would love this!!! And then to turn it into something how wonderful! Thank you!

  • Karin – glad you enjoyed the technique.

  • Check out the recent update on my blog… I snow dyed with a group of friends we had fun but some areas/fabrics were not as effective as others. I really enjoyed this technique. Thanks

  • Amy, I put the pans on my basement floor. It’s not the warmest spot in the house, but not cold either. I really do want the snow to melt :-) Let me know how yours turn out.

  • Amy

    These are some of the best directions I have seen but I do have a question. Where do you put the bins with the fabric and packed snow — outside cold, inside warm, somewhere inbetween?

  • Thank you Judi. I’ll try that and see how things turn out. It really is fun, isn’t it?

  • Judi

    Your pieces turned out well. If you presoak you fabric in soda ash and then wring it out before you put it in a container that will help also try to raise your fabrics up so the snow/dye can drip into a pan below and the fabric doesn’t sit in it. I wrote the article on snowdyes for the Quilting Arts Oct/Nov 2009 magazine. Check my blog for ones I just did using the mandala fold. I never get tired of seeing snowdyed pieces.

  • Debi Bright

    Thanks Becks, good directions. I’ll let you know how mine turns out!!! Great webpage and blog!

  • Rebecca Kemble

    Glad you missed this one, but do try it when the next snow comes you way. Then let me know how it turns out!

  • Becky- I want to do this- but will have to wait till the next snow. Washington DC missed this hit. Raining and 50degress today.
    Judy Gula

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