Category Archives: ice dyeing

A Less Successful Method for Ice Dyeing Wool Prefelts

This is the other method I tried for ice-dyeing prefelts over the weekend, you might want to take a look at the results before giving this a go, I won’t bother with it again :o(

  • As before, I soaked my prefelts in water with 1/4 cup of vinegar and a drop of washing up liquid for every litre of water.
  • A wire cooling rack was suspended on some old glass jars in a washing up bowl and my wet prefelts were arranged on top.
  • Then a piece of nylon netting was stretched over the top using pegs to secure it.
  • Ice was tipped on top of the netting so that it covered the felt below.
  • Yellow, red and blue acid-fast dye powder was sprinkled over the ice, I used about twice as much yellow as red or blue.
  • I waited, and waited for the ice to melt, it looks really pretty at this stage:
  • The netting was removed and I put the icky brown mess into a zip lock bag.
  • Then I dropped it into my urn that was just bubbling and left it for 90 min.
These were the results, more than a bit disappointing…

Not one to waste anything I put another piece of prefelt into the dye run-off in the bottom of the washing up bowl and steamed that in its own zip-lock bag with the other piece, looks somewhat similar doesn’t it?

All is not lost though, one of the pieces from the ice dyeing did not receive much dye so I sprinkled some more dye powder directly onto the felt before putting it in a bag and steaming it. This was the result. I quite like this piece and it makes me want to try ice dyeing without the ice!

I also did another “jar of ice-dyeing” using the same primary colours used above, this is my favourite of the whole bunch… The jar method is definitely the winner! :o)

Linking up to nina-marie

Ice Dyeing Wool Prefelts

This post is an extension of Ruth Lane’s excellent tutorial on the Felting and Fiber Studio blog where she describes ice dyeing for plant based fibres (silk also works well in that method).

I have been trying out a couple of different methods to dye some sheets of merino prefelt (I’m sure the same method could be used for wool top but I can’t see the point as you will loose the beautiful patterns when you come to use the fibre). This is the first (and I think the most successful and least messy) method:

  • mix 1/4 cup of vinegar into each litre of warm water needed to cover your prefelt, add a drop of washing up liquid
  • thoroughly soak your prefelt in the mix, gently squeezing the wool to ensure it is saturated, I left mine for 10 min before the next step. I know most people leave it soaking for a lot longer but I am too impatient!!
  • cover the bottom of a large jar  (canning jars are great for this) with just enough ice to cover the bottom
  • sprinkle on your choice of acid-fast dye powder, I used a total of about half a teaspoon for each layer and 3 colours – black, blue and red
  • gently squeeze most of the water from your prefelt but not all, it should still feel heavy with water, and drop into your jar
  • cover with another layer of ice
  • keep repeating steps 4 to 6 until the jar is nearly full or you have used all your felt
  • finish with a layer of ice and more dye powder
  • set aside overnight or until all the ice has melted
  • to fix the dye it needs to be heated for 40-60 about minutes, as there is quite a lot of water in the jar from the ice, I put mine in a pan of gently simmering water for 90 min to ensure everything is heated for at least 40 min.
These are the results:

The colours are far more intense than I expected and I think that was largely due to using the black which becomes a deep purple at lower concentrations, sounds like the perfect excuse to have another go… ;o)