Ice Painting – Camp Sewing With Boys


Today we have Katie from Stitchbox here on Camp Sewing With Boys. Have you checked out Stitchbox yet? It is a monthly subscription where you get everything you need to sew a project each month. Katie is showing us how to Ice Paint, his is something you will definitely want to do.

I decided a few weeks ago I wanted to try some ice dyeing with my son, and thought we should do pillowcases for when our family goes camping. I hate taking the regular pillows and pillowcases and having them come home smelling like campfire smoke, and I figured if they had cool new pillowcases, it might convince my kids to actually sleep on the pillows when we go camping, instead of trying to stay up all night!  It’s worth a shot, right? It’s summer in Texas, and the heat is typically somewhere between unbearable and completely ridiculous. But, of course, when it was time to start our project, we’re in the middle of some crazy rain every day for nearly a week (Tropical Storm Bill, anyone?)!


So we improvised, and did the project under our patio. The ice melted a little slower, but we still had fun!


 So here’s what we started with:  a set of 100% cotton white pillowcases, a tie dye kit (although regular fabric dye packets will work for this, too, I liked the colors offered in this kit and knew we could do several projects this summer with it), a bucket or plastic tub, metal cooling rack or tray to keep the fabric elevated so the dye will drain from the fabric, and a pitcher of ice!

I followed the pretreat instructions on the tie dye kit for our fabric, which said to wash the pillowcases in hot water and then make sure they’re still wet when you’re ready to dye them.  I filled four of the little tie dye kit bottles with the powdered dye in the colors my son wanted to use: lime green, red, orange, and blue.  You can choose to leave them in the plastic packages, or even put them into bowls, but working with my 4-year-old and his little sister, who is 3, I knew I didn’t want them having open access to the dye!  If you’re doing regular tie dye, now is when you’d add water to those bottles, but for ice dyeing, leave them dry.


Take your supplies outside (in the sun if possible), and set the metal rack on top of the tub. Arrange your pillowcases on the rack however you’d like.  My son chose to roll his up a little and then just plop it down, but my daughter let me leave hers mostly flat and just scrunch it smaller, making little wrinkles and hills all over.  Next, cover them completely with ice.  We used a mix of regular ice and crushed ice, and I think the crushed ice was easier for them to get onto the fabric and make it stay without it trying to fall off like the bigger pieces.


Once your pillowcases are covered with ice, use the bottles of powdered dye to squeeze little puffs of dye onto the ice.  Try to convince the kiddos not to touch the ice, which will be saturated with very concentrated dye!  Completely cover the ice with dye, and let the ice melt and drip into the tub below.



When the ice is melted, the pillowcases need to stay damp for 5-6 hours so the dye can really soak in, so I covered ours with plastic wrap to keep the moisture in.


After several hours, bring the tub inside and rinse the pillowcases in cold water until the water runs mostly clear. Then wash them twice in the washing machine – the first time with no detergent, and the second time with detergent, both times using warm water.  Dry the pillowcases on low heat in the dryer (or hang them to dry, if you prefer, but know that the dye will set more permanently if you go ahead and dry them).

There you go! Perfect camping pillowcases!  My son loves how his colors all ran together and made an almost camo effect, and my daughter’s favorite part is the big section of red on her pillowcase!

The more colors you layer on top of one another on the ice, the more color mixing you’ll get (like my son’s).  On my daughter’s, I convinced her to not add other colors on top of one another so we could see them stay mostly separate and get a different look.  I wish the colors had stayed brighter all over instead of just in spots, but I think next time we’ll be more generous with the dye and see if that helps!



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