Freeze Dyeing part 2

We couldn’t wait – last night Wendy and I got the dyeing stuff out and had at ‘er! The reason we’re dyeing with the freezer is:  a) there’s no snow around Flagstaff in June, b) snow dilutes the dye – this will be more intense, and c) to see what happens! We’re hoping for some ice crystal action, but it’s all an experiment, so who knows? A lot has to do with ambient temperature, how long it takes to thaw.

The first part – always be safe.  We are working with Procion dyes, and they are hazardous to inhale the very fine particles while mixing the dyes.  So….

The mad chemists!

Wendy has all the gear, having collected plastic tubs, bins, cutlery, measuring spoons, cups and baggies from various and sundry dollar stores. The dye is from Dharma Trading.  Two days ago we cut up some PFD fabric and soaked it in soda ash water, folded it up in various ways, and put it in the freezer.  They are all frozen solid now.

We begin with mixing the dyes.  Wendy tells me that if we mix with urea water, the results will be brighter.  I’m all for bright (as is Wendy), so we’ve added one teaspoon of Urea per cup of warm water.

Mixing the urea water.

We made a paste with the dye and water, then filled up the cup – depending on the dye, between one and two teaspoons for a cup of water.

Mixing the dyes

Now, the fun part.  We took out our frozen fabric and started applying dye!

The syringes are very handy for putting the dye where you want it.

I can’t wait to see this piece when it’s over!

We have covered everything up with plastic so it doesn’t dry out while it’s thawing.  Some are still in the baggies we used to freeze the fabric, some in larger bins and some just packaged up tightly in plastic wrap.

Tomorrow we’ll see the results of our work!



6 Responses to “Freeze Dyeing part 2”

  1. Kelly Smith Says:

    What a cool idea. I can’t wait to see how it turns out! I love dyeing my own fabric, but in a tiny apartment I just don’t have the space now. :/

  2. Kelly Smith Says:

    Thanks Cathy. I’m afraid I’d spill it on the carpet though. If it was my own carpet I’d wouldn’t necessarily care, but in an apartment I’d have to replace it.

    I will check out her blog!

  3. Katie Wiseman Says:

    Well. . . I have ALL the space a quilter could ask for ! 3,000 sq ft 1- bedroom!! and I LOOVVEEEE it! So do we know WHY you freeze it first? Is it to keep the creases in the fabric fairly stiff?
    I like the syringe idea – I have 3 that my VET gave me, so I was already planning on using those for my next dyeing session. VERY INTERESTING!!! Can’t wait to see the results!
    Soo… you’re only letting them sit for 24 hours eh?

    • singingquilter Says:

      It might only be 22 hours, Katie – we can’t wait!!!!!
      We’re freezing it because we are hoping crystals form. Freezing acts as a resist – as it thaws, the dye should migrate at different speeds. We’ll see. SOOOOOOON!

  4. Mary in Oregon Says:

    What a fascinating concept for dyeing! I too am anxious to see the results. I can visualize an incredible Cathy project with the gorgeous fabrics in the future. 🙂

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