We live in a sweet, sweet neighborhood. Old homes, old trees, and mostly old(er) retired residents. We’re like the adopted pets on our street: young (ish) parents and three young kids. On top of the fact that we have plenty of watchful eyes overlooking the girls as they play outside (in a benevolent way of course) or ride to school, they’re also all quite cool. There is the potter down the street, the retired female electrical engineer who sews and reworks antiques, the retired airplane trainers (couple) who sew and paint and cook, there are authors and gardeners… you name it. Also our next, next door neighbor who rescues dogs and manages the toy store in down- guess who hands out samples to the kids? She’s favorite. They’re also all really indulgent with the 9 year old for her flower selling business- I’m SURE you can picture how well that goes down around here! She has to alternate where she starts because she sells out before she can get to even four houses EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
And a couple of times a year we have neighborhood parties. A year ago at a party we all realized there are a lot of artists and crafts folks around, so we decided to have a craft show before Christmas, with a pre-sale invite only wine party the night before. I didn’t have anything, but helped the older girls with their wildflower seeds and acorn crafts. (pom poms glued in acorn caps and made into Christmas ornaments and garlands) They, of course, cleaned up.
We all had so much fun, and honestly it was a really successful show. We’re going to do it again this year… and I’m INTENT on participating this time.
But what to make? I was going to paint… but the second I do it for profit my talent shrivels up into a wadded up ball in the corner… so that’s out. So this year I’m trying scarves. I have a complete and total scarf addiction, so I figured if I did what I loved I couldn’t really go wrong. Sell a craft you’re a total novice at? Why the hell not! Now, I really am not a fan of tie dye, but the process of dying stuff intrigued me, so i tried ice dying.
Or… kinda. So the ACTUAL technique for ice dying is you completely cover the fabric with ice or snow, sprinkle dry dye powder on top, and as it melts it pulls the dye into the fabric. The way I did it is a hybrid of ice dying and speckle dying. (dusting dye powder straight onto fabric.)
First I washed the two polyester/cotton blend scarves I bought on Amazon with dishsoap and rinsed them out well. I wrung them out so they were wet but not sopping.
Second I put them in an old dish rack placed on top of a large piece of cardboard on the grass at the back of the yard. I then sprinkled the scarves with dry powder. A little goes a LONG way.
Then I sprinkled some rock salt (supposed to help fix the dye) and some sodium alginate in spots. The sodium alginate is food grade (makes those gel like balls of liquid) and I’d read it can make more concentrated colors when dying)
On top of all of it all I then dotted around some ice because we didn’t have a ton and the dye onto the wet scarf was kinda making a cool pattern without it.
I then resolved to let it sit out there all day… which means of course that I rinsed it out after 2 hours of waiting that almost killed me.
So… how’d it work out? So the ONLY places the tan and black dye took on the scarves is where there was a concentration of salt- so that’s good to know. I’m not sure what percentage cotton to polyester the scarves are, but the black and tan dyes are not supposed to work at all on poly fabrics, so good to know I can hedge my bets there. And weirdly they are a really denim-y blue… even though the poly dye was supposed to be turquoise.
The sodium alginate gelling agent didn’t work AT ALL, and took some light scrubbing to wash off… but when I did get it off it took all the dye with it. I’ll try it again on a cotton or silk scarf, but I’m not holding my breathe on that one.
So, after my initial success I bought 30 scarves for $0.99 each on Thredup clearance with an extra 4th of July coupon… so $0.80 each and $5.95 shipping. And bought another $25 worth of poly dye. Since I’m buying so many scarves second hand I won’t know fiber content, so I’ll do like I did this time and go heavy on the salt and use both kinds of dye every time. And then I bough like 20 cotton bandanas on Ebay… lord help me to sell more than 1 of these things at the show…
I’ll need some more dish racks as well. I COULD just do it on the grass, but I don’t want them sitting in a puddle of dye, I want that more marblesque effect so the dye needs to drain off freely. I’ll hit up some thrift stores for those.
And I should really break down the cost here:
$57 on 12 packs of dye (natural and poly, various colors)
$16 on 2 poly blend scarves from Amazon
$20 20 cotton bandanas from Ebay
$30 for 30 scarves (similar to ones from Amazon and pashminas, about half and half)
Salt, had on hand
Dish drainer- given to me free from the neighbor at her garage sale- I would have paid the marked price of a quarter for it though…
$8 for worthless Sodium Alginate. Nothing ventured, nothing…
So… that’s $131 when i’m supposed to be saving money. Takes money to make money though… right? That’s the ticket.