Printed Fabric Bee: Ice Dyeing with resists

In January I posted that The Printed Fabric Bee was taking a new direction. This year each of the “Bees” is taking a month, covering a topic, and having a giveaway. April is my month.

I’ll be posting here what I’ll be posting on The Printed Fabric Bee blog. Here is the first one.

Oh, how I love ice dyeing. This month I’ll be posting about adding resists to this fun technique. But first I’d like to give you a little history on ice dyeing.


Back in 2010 I was writing a column for our newspaper about local artists. I had always been into arts and crafts, but never dyed anything until after I interviewed Karen, a fabric artist. As soon as I walked into her studio, I fell in love with her bolts and bolts of snow dyed fabrics. Winter was approaching, so I ran out to our local Blick’s and bought several fiber reactive dyes, fabric, and other supplies. In January 2011, I snow dyed my first fabrics. I loved the results, but then the snow was gone. I remembered that Karen had made her snow with a snow machine when snow wasn’t available. I thought instead of making snow with ice, why not just use ice cubes.¬† I googled ice dyeing and dyeing with ice, but couldn’t find any information on it. I decided to go ahead and try it, and was so excited with my results. This is my very first ice-dyed piece, “Mayo’s Garden.” I mounted it on canvas and hung in my studio to remind me of what started me on this journey.


Mayo's Garden hung in front of my computer
Mayo’s Garden hung in front of my computer


After writing a blog post about my experiences, I queried Quilting Arts about writing an article about ice dyeing, and ended up writing the first article on the technique in the August/September 2011 issue. Since that time the technique has taken off and fabric artists all over are creating such lovely fabric. I definitely don’t consider myself “queen” of ice dyeing, but think of myself as “mother” of it!

If you have never ice dyed, I taped a webinar in 2013 for Quilting Arts that is still available. You can see it here. You can see my very first tutorial on my blog here. I’m also working right now on Icy Delights, my online class all about this wonderful technique. I’ll be talking more about the class later this month before it goes live.

So for this month, let’s talk about resists. The first one is clothes pins. I absolutely LOVE using clothes pins whether I’m ice dyeing, low immersion dyeing, or in my easy and fast silk scarf dyeing classes where we use instant set dyes.

For this piece I used Cerulean Blue, Fuchsia, and Golden Yellow.


It looks difficult, but it’s just fan folded and then clipped with clothes pins.


I also did an experiment with this folding and clipping and using the same dyes, but didn’t ice dye. I just put dye on the fabric without using ice and here is the result. It’s pretty, but doesn’t have the texture you get with ice.


Here is my thrift store shirt that I folded and clipped the same way.


I also dyed my hubby a shirt.



And a silk scarf.


This is just one type of resist. You could also use rubber bands or hemostats, to name a few. There are so many different ways to get more texture. Ice dyeing gives such beautiful results and adding resists just bumps up the beauty. Next week I’ll be posting another resist I like to use with ice dyeing.