Some of my favorite pieces in my home, as simple as they may be, are the ones I had a hand in creating — like the cork board frame I painted sky blue and switch out every new year with our favorite Instagram prints from the past twelve months. My DIY skills are limited at best, so projects that make a big impact without requiring a big investment are what I’m looking for!
If I’m describing you, too, you will love Janet Crowther’s new book, A Well-Crafted Home! Janet holds a special place in our hearts because we featured her wedding to Collin a few years ago (which, unsurprisingly, was full of simple and chic DIY projects!). Janet and her wedding photographer, Julia Wade, have teamed up again for her second book, and the collaboration is a treat.
Janet is sharing her book’s easy tutorial for ice-dyeing today – enjoy!
From Janet: Ice-dyeing is seriously one of my favorite things to do and I hope you all will love it just as much! Once you have your completed fabric, you can use it to create several other projects in the book, like the blanket and ottoman pictured here.
Ice-dyeing is an easy technique using fiber-reactive dyes to make a colorful, almost crystalized pattern. As the ice melts over the fabric, it slowly disperses the dye and creates depth of color and multiple tones. Each dye session will yield stunning, one-of-a-kind results.
Gentle laundry detergent
1 pound dry, natural-fiber fabric like linen, silk, or cotton
3 gallons warm water
3 cups soda ash
5-pound bag of ice
1 tablespoon per color of fiber-reactive powder dye (see tip)
Protective gear (gloves, eye protection, and face mask)
Plastic sheeting, or drop cloth to protect work surface
Wide, plastic storage bin
Large, wire cooling rack (big enough to span the top of the bin, or you can overlap two or more on top of the bin)
Tip: Use as many colors as you want. I’ve made beautiful fabric using 5 colors, but even 1 color will produce outstanding results. For the blanket I used the following colors; rose red, jade green, rust brown, clear sky blue, and orange sherbet.
1. Prewash your fabric with detergent to remove any grease or conditioners. Put on your protective gear.
2. Add the fabric and water to the bucket. Stir in the soda ash until it dissolves, then let the fabric soak for at least 15 minutes. Pull out the fabric and squeeze out the excess liquid.
3. On a flat surface, place the plastic sheeting under the storage bin to protect the surface. Set the wire cooling rack on top of the bin.
4. Scrunch up and twist the fabric loosely while placing it on top of the cooling rack. Make sure all of the fabric is within the edges of the plastic bin to keep any mess inside the bucket. Place a mound of ice on top of the fabric, covering as much of the fabric surface as possible.
5. Using a spoon, sprinkle the dye on top of the ice, one color at a time. Try not to overlap colors too much or the finished color will look muddled. Allow the ice to melt completely and leave the fabric untouched for at least 12 hours, and up to 24 hours.
6. Carefully remove the fabric from the rack. Rinse the fabric under cold water until the water runs clear. To help set the fabric, let it dry in the sun or place it in the dryer on the appropriate setting for the fabric. Before using, wash the fabric in the washing machine, by itself with detergent, then place it in the dryer on the appropriate setting.
Notes on safety: Whenever you are working with chemicals, always take the necessary precautions. Wear rubber gloves and safety glasses to minimize contact with your skin. Always work outside or in a well-ventilated area. Utensils used for dyeing should never be used for food preparation.