The Free Motion Quilting Project: Snow Fabric Dyeing!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snow Fabric Dyeing!

We have another round of snow days with around 4 inches of snow on the ground. After a round of sledding and snowman-making, I headed straight for my dyeing room to do some snow dyeing!

This is really simple if you're already into dyeing fabric. Just wash and soak your fabric in soda ash as normal (I do 1 cup of soda ash to 1 gallon of water), then spread it out in a bin like so:

Next, top with snow! I added a layer around an inch thick so I couldn't see the fabric below. It's was kinda tricky to place the snow on the fabric without grabbing a fistful and compacting it in my hand. I ended up with some big hard ice balls in there along with some more powdery, fluffy snow. I honestly don't know if this matters or not.
With the layer of snow in place, I sprinkled on power Procion MX dyes from Dharma Trading Co. This is my preferred dye, but it is a dangerous chemical so I always wear gloves, a respirator, and covered the bins immediately after adding the powder dye.

I have NO idea how this will turn out, but I'm excited to see the results! I'm going to leave the bins to batch for 24 hours and then rinse out the fabric to see what it looks like. Crossing my fingers it's going to be pretty!

Let's go dye,

Leah Day


  1. Very interesting. It is something I would love to play with more. I look forward to see your results.

  2. Great idea! Any chance Rit Dye would work? I'd like to try and have enough snow to share if anyone wants to come get it for free...

    1. I'm sure RIT will work...though I'm not sure if you need to use soda ash with it or not. Just read the package to see how the fabric is pretreated before dyeing and follow those steps before layering on the snow and dye.

  3. Would love to do this, but the idea of using powdered Procion dyes scare me to death. I'd go with Rit, although I don't think it's as intense or as durable, from what I've heard. I also don't think you have to use soda ash with it.

  4. Love the look as well as creativity for even thinking of trying it. There is no way I will ever do something I need a respirator for but may try dyes eventually.

  5. What would be the best kind of fabric to use if I wanted to try this?

  6. I have used Rit dye. You will need to use a product called Retain or it will keep bleeding. After having too many projects with a bleeding spot on them (I have to applique over the spot) I decided to bite the bullet & use Retain on every piece of fabric I own. Yes, it took a long time, 8 months & 20 bottles of Retain, but for me it was worth it.

  7. A respirator is not necessary - a face mask will do fine. As soon as the powdered dye hits the snow it dissolves after a very short period of time, unless you are working outside in below freezing temps. Or you can mix up a concentrated amount and squirt it on from a bottle. It must be concentrated, more than if you were doing a low immersion dye bath. The cold of the snow lessens the amount of dye the fabric absorbs, so the dye needs to be strong.

  8. If you put a rack or screen over your container, you can put another fabric in the bottom of the pan to catch the dye that trickles thru the snow covered fabric. It's a two for one kind of thing.


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