Hew & Sew

Dyeing with Snow

I wanted to dye small batches of fabric in our apartment without having to deal with large pots of hot water or the harsh chemicals… our space is just too small to wrestle all those bits! Plus I needed something I could wander away from for an hour or two and not worry about it.  So, I grabbed some packets of Kool-Aid I have stashed in our cupboard, scooped some snow into a bowl and set to work! This project is great because it is kid-safe, takes only 20 minutes of actual work and you never know what you’ll wind up with in the end!

The Steps Steps Steps

I used 100% cotton fabric that I cut into two rough 6” squares and soaked in warm water while I gathered my other supplies. The trickiest part about the whole process is finding a container that will hold your snow while you’re dying but will allow the water to drain while the snow melts through your fabric. I have a plastic bin with a hole in one of the corners… you could also just do it in your kitchen sink. While your fabric is soaking grab a bowl full of snow, the lighter and fluffier the better. Compacted snow won’t cover your fabric evenly or melt nicely.


Take your pieces of fabric and scrunch or lightly twist them into small mountains. Keep in mind that the dye will be lightest on the ridges and darkest in the valleys of your “mountains”. How you scrunch your fabric determines the end pattern. Once your fabric is appropriately scrunched, sprinkle about three inches of snow over the fabric and an additional inch around the base of your fabric.

Open your packet(s) of Kool-Aid (I used Blue + Green on one test and Black Cherry on the other). Sprinkle directly from the packet onto the snow, making sure to cover any white spots… especially at the peak of your snow. Now? You step back and wait! The snow took about 1 hour to melt completely.

Rinse your fabric in warm water, iron and voila! New, happy fabric.

Project Type

Time

  • Total: 2 hours
  • Working: 20 minutes
  • Before gifting: 2 hours

Materials

  • Fabric
  • Kool-Aid
  • Plastic Bin
  • Snow

Tools

  • Plastic Bin

Notes

Now, I'm not sure how colorfast this technique is. So far I've washed the fabric a few times and the colors have stayed strong but I haven't done any long-term colorfast tests. If you do or have in the past leave a comment and tell me all about it!

4 Comments

  1. chris
    Posted February 16, 2011 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    Fun! I see a little blue bunny or bear in the swatch on the right— embroider it?

  2. Kathy
    Posted February 21, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Love this.

  3. Posted February 21, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Eep! Dyeing has an e in it to delineate it from approaching death <3

  4. hammy
    Posted February 27, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    You are infinitely correct m’dear… fixed!

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