Surprising Shibori Ice Dye

Summer time means more projects that love the heat & being outside so Ice-Dyeing is absolutely perfect. My love of blue and unpredictable design has prompted some Surprising Shibori Ice Dye!

Choose your fibre;

I am using Fibre reactive dyes so I need to use natural fibres like cotton, linen, rayon, etc. My latest fabric of choice is Rayon made from Bamboo. Did you know that bed sheets are sometimes made of Bamboo!? That means one sheet can be a lot of fabric, and if it’s up-cycled; even better!

If you are up-cycling you should scour the fabric to rid of any residual grime. I like to soak it in a solution of Washing soda and super hot water for a day or so. (heck, I like to occasionally do that to anything I think may be not so clean anymore!)

Prior to dyeing oak your fabric in a solution of 1 cup Washing soda to one gallon of water. It should soak at least 30 minutes. This readies the fibre for the dye to attach.

Wring it out as best you can. I plan to sew this into garments so I used yardage similar to fabric purchases. I like to fold accordion style along the long length and then ‘triangle’ fold that to get the smaller size designs. It is a bit tedious but it does not need to be perfect since it has charm no matter what. There are many ways to fold as I did the cushions in Shibori style as well.

To make some symmetry I folded it in half to make less work of folding as well. I am amazed how small a bundle this Bamboo Rayon ends up.

Keeping it in order:

Once you have your well secured & folded pieces it is best to have a way of keeping the ice (and dye) from being wasted and stay over the fabric. I like to use some inexpensive plastic from picture frames. The worked nicely to keep the shapes as well. Make sure you have a vessel to catch the excess dye.

It can even be fashioned for more than one stack. Elastics keep it in place.

Blue of course!

So far I have not tired of the colour ‘Navy’ (PR24) in Procion Dyes. Depending where you envision the colour I sprinkle the dye. I prefer the corners to be more like the traditional shibori method of dipping in indigo. But that is not a rule.

Add some ice and some more dye. The more you add the more will collect in the bottom to give you interesting effects from sitting in the ‘muck’. Don’t be afraid of that!

Now, let mother nature speed things up for you a bit! Fibre reactive dyes use heat, whether long times of low heat (24 hours) or quick higher heat (microwave or other way to warm)

I love seeing how the little rivers make their own decisions where they want to flow. That is what makes it surprising! Let it melt, and also let it sit ‘undisturbed‘ in the ‘muck’ at the bottom. It will be the most interesting part of the design. If it’s pretty warm 24 hours will do.

Wash wash wash:

Once it has ‘batched’ enough carefully remove it from the vessel and rinse with cold water. You do not want the excess dye to adhere to the white areas. Rinse until it runs clear and then undo the folding while still cool rinsing. Once all open wash with hot water to rid of any excess dye.

This was folding half before folding so it has a symmetry to the design repeat. I especially love the more dense blue areas and the transition from the light end.

I find that since the Bamboo rayon is thinner it also picks up more details in the dyeing. Hand dyed fabric should not look like it is mechanically made.

I never tire of looking at such designs, especially how it is a mirror image from the initial fold in half before the accordion shibori triangle folding.

You never really know:

Navy does sometimes ‘split’ into to some of the purples and pinks as well. Be prepared to embrace whatever you get. They really are ‘One of kind’! How amazing would some of the designs be of colours that ‘split’ even more?! The colour ‘Raven’ has given me some amazing splits!

Well, you need to show off your designs! What better way than to wear it! I keep the sewing simple, often just tracing a pattern from a favourite garment. Bamboo has a very soft feel and drapes nicely compared to just regular cotton weave or knit. This Shibori Ice dye is my new obsession and this fabric reminds me of silk.

Don’t tell anyone it used to be a bed sheet… Or tell everyone! Happy dyeing!

Maybe even use the remnants for making the most amazing masks! 😷 Stay safe!

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    1. Just wanted to take a moment to say I really appreciate your art and your perspectives. It’s beautiful the way you use and incorporate nature into your projects. Blessings to you now and always please be safe. You are a gifted creative. Pam

  1. Hi Barbara,
    I started following your posts when I was looking for a mask template. Big thank you to propose it for free.

    Actually, I’m experimenting Shibori, so I was pretty much amazed by your new post. The result is fabulous.

    Thank you for sharing all this. It is very much appreciated knowing that we are still blocked on our small island since March 😘

    Keep sharing and stay safe and healthy 🙏

    Cheers from Bali, Indonesia

  2. I originally found your blog when I was looking for tips about ice dyeing. I love seeing these new posts, and thanks for being inspiring! It looks like you sprinkled the dye directly on the fabric in addition to on the ice? I’m excited to try out this method.

  3. Barb, I am interested in using the rayon bamboo sheets. When I tried to find some – all I saw were rayon bamboo with a blend. (Such as Kohls) Will these dye since they are not all rayon? Could you share your source? Thanks!

    1. It depends on what the other fibre is. A polyester mix will mean the dye won’t take 100% and be lighter. I actually bought mine at thrift stores… I would stick to 100% bamboo rayon or even just rayon. There are other fibres made from tree pulp like lyocell and tencel that also dye well.

    1. There are 2 triangular methods. Start with an acordian fold and then start the triangle. Either the right angle one or the one with the same 60º angle one and then fold back and forth. This post may help. Practice on paper and unfold to see the shapes. The Duvet cover was the right angled triangle shape. Hope that helps!