If you’re looking to give ice dyeing a whirl, look no further! This no-fuss tutorial using silk brick and powder acid dye will have you creating beautiful rainbows in no time! This recipe was featured in our June 2021 Fiber Club package with a decadent Mulberry Silk Brick and our new mixable Acid Dyes.

Dyeing with silk bricks is a breeze due to their wide surface area and excellent dye absorption. This bright, cheerful, and simple-to-follow tutorial is worthy of a dye day with friends and family, though it is so easy, you’ll make it a regular on your dye days.

When dyeing, acid dyes should, of course, be handled with the normal care that you would handle any concentrated powdered dye or craft chemical, which is to wear a dust mask when handling the powders, wear gloves, and use utensils that will never be used for food.

Level: Easy

Total: 30 minutes to set up + a couple of hours for the ice to melt, depending on the surrounding temperature.

Yield: approximately 4.2 oz of dyed fiber with dye water left over

Materials Needed: 

  • Approximately ½ teaspoon (1g) of our new acid dye powder in three mixable colors. For this tutorial, we used the shades Turquoise, Magenta, and Yellow.
  • One silk brick – approximately 4.2 oz.
  • Gloves
  • Dust mask
  • ¼ cup white vinegar 
  • A container for the ice to melt into
  • A baking rack/shelving rack to set on top of the container to lay the fiber out onto
  • 1 bag of ice

Directions:

Mordanting:

Please note, always wear a dust mask, gloves, and utensils not intended for food when handling acid dye powders. 

  1. Fill a basin with warm water and add in 1/4 of a cup of vinegar per 4 oz. of fiber/yarn.
  2. Gently place your fiber/yarn into the water and push down until thoroughly saturated. Silk bricks can take up to 48 hours to fully soak. We recommend weighing down the silk brick with a heavy object as it helps the silk absorb the vinegar water much more effectively.
  3. Remove the fully saturated fiber from water and place it onto the baking rack set on top of your container.

Please note: Do not let your fiber/yarn dry out as moisture is required in order for the materials to properly soak up the dye powder. The dryer the silk the more moisture-repellent it will be.

Dyeing:

For best results, set up your container outside in direct sunlight. If you cannot, indoors by a window with sunlight or a source of heat will work too. 

  1. Place the baking rack on top of the container. You’ll need a big enough baking rack to fit the entire silk brick, and a big enough container for the rack to fit on top of without falling inside.
  2. Using gloves, spread out your silk brick over the surface area of the baking rack. 
  3. Spread out as many ice cubes as you can over the surface area of your silk brick.
  4. Sprinkle your dye powder on top of the ice cubes in any pattern/design you desire. We did 3 wide stripes of Turquoise, Magenta, and Yellow. Keep in mind that as the ice melts these colors will mix to create new colors. 
  5. Allow the sun to do the rest. As it sits, the ice will melt and create swirls of color along the surface area of the fiber. Any excess dye will run off with the water and be collected below in the container.
  6. Once all the ice has melted, remove the fiber and rinse under warm water until the water runs clear. 
  7. Let the fiber air dry.

Dyer’s Note:

After you’ve finished dyeing, save any leftover dye water in a container and use it for future dye baths.

Fun facts: Silk bricks are just one of the many forms produced from the silk industry. The silk is harvested from the cocoons of the Bombyx Mori Silk Moths. Just one cocoon consists of a continuous thread that is over 1 mile long. This is the purest of silks as the moths are not allowed to graze on just anything, like the Tussah Silk Moths, instead, the Bombyx Mori Moths feed on a strict diet of only Mulberry leaves. The resulting fiber is pure white, lustrous, and incredibly strong. The silk brick is essentially a wider version of a combed top produced from silk cocoons.

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