Thursday, 24 May 2012

Ice Cube Fabric Painting

We been making of the most of some gorgeous hot and sunny weather and spending as much time as possible outside in the garden.  Today we had fun painting with ice cubes, using a mix of natural dyes and food colouring, painting onto fabric.  

Natural dyes are everywhere (if you know where to look) - made from plants in the garden, spices from the cupboard or left over food they can produce some amazing colours for painting or dyeing fabric.  I'd love to learn more about this and experiment with different dyes.  But as this was our first attempt we kept it simple with raspberries, onion skins and some blue and green food colouring.   

The raspberries were crushed up and cooked in a tiny amount of water and then put through a muslin to get the liquid.  For the onion skin dye I simmered a load of onion skins in water for about 30 minutes and allowed to stand overnight then used the drained liquid for the dye.  The blue and green ones were just food colouring with water (and I can't remember what I used to make the brown coloured ones!)  I then put them in an ice cube tray and looked forward to a sunny day!

With the gorgeous sunny weather today I thought it was be an ideal opportunity to try these paints out.  So we took the ice cubes out of the freezer and laid out a large piece of old white fabric on the lawn.

We did a bit of painting with them

And also a bit of watching them melt in the heat of the sun and watch the lovely patterns radiating out.  

This was a great opportunity to watch science in action with all the solid to liquid changes and the colour mixing as the fabric absorbed the dye.

Whilst the fabric was still wet.

As it was drying - so many beautiful colours. 

Once it had dried.  
I have no idea whether the dye needs fixing for it not to wash out, but it looks lovely at the moment and I don't plan to wash it any time soon.

Close up, you can see the beautiful patterns where the colours have mixed.

I'd love to experiment with some other dyes sometime and I also thought it would be fun to make some edible frozen paints for Shoeshine to enjoy, exploring taste and colour - a bit of licking and a bit of painting!  Let's hope for a long summer of lovely weather to try some of these out.


  1. How fun we did the same art project but with frozen water colors. I love that you used natural items to dye your ice cubes

    1. It's a great activity isn't it? I love the really bright colours you got using the liquid watercolours. Thanks for stopping by. Ellie

  2. That is really clever and we shall be having a go with that this week!

    Thanks for sharing on fun Sparks


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