The Happy Pigment

colour you life!

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The Balancing Act.

Oh I have been neglectful of this space! Safe to say I’m not very good at keeping up with technology. Don’t get me wrong I love technology! But between parenting, partnering, running my house hold and trying to run this little dye shop on the side, all on next to no sleep, I’m finding it increasingly hard to keep up with everything, and to top it all off my espresso machine broke yesterday! But I vow here and now to be more active on my blog!

So lets get up to date. I have had some great successes with tie dyeing and ice dyeing of late and a few flops, but lets focus on the positives.

I recently had the privilege of  dyeing a couple of dresses, something I haven’t done much of previously. I had grand ideas for these dresses and luckily the results were just as grand. I couldn’t have been happier.

The first was for a little girl, the idea was create a dress like a spiral dyed rainbow dress she had when she was younger, But little girls grow up rather quick, and her tastes had grown with her so it ended up being a darker colours, and a bit more grown up style. She requested an ice dyed spiral and it turned out amazingly well! The only pity is that the white dresses suitable for dyeing are really hard to come by at a decent price in Australia.

ava's spiral

I love this. It’s gorgeous. If it was my size I would wear it!

The next dress was made for a wonderful friend, unlike the first it was tie dyed instead of ice dyed. Mostly because the cotton it was made of was quite a lot thicker than the first. I chose the ‘V’ shape for the folding pattern because I love the way it flatters the contours of a womans body. This was one of the biggest pieces I’ve dyed so far and folding it was a bit of a mission, but one I thoroughly enjoyed.

cl dress folded

My friend had requested a dress in blues and greens so I used royal blue, turquoise, mermaids dream and black to give some sharp definition. The finished product is just about my favourite thing ever! I need to make myself a dress like this!

coral-lees dress

The only problem I found with these dresses is that I had to order them from America. Now that would be fine except the shipping is only worth while if you order in bulk. I don’t quite have the funds to order so many just yet and I can’t find any dresses quite like these in Australia that are a decent price and therefore worth my while to buy and dye. Which is fairly disappointing because they are both so gorgeous!

Last week I also had the pleasure of creating a family set of rainbow shirts for a The Indian Festival of Colour – Holi. I felt so happy that my friend liked my work so much that she wanted something special made just for this day. And the shirts turned out fantastic. Each one unique but still a rainbow of colours.

happy Holi.jpg

Now after all this I need to once again get my house in order after having family over most of the weekend and letting the kids run wild as usual. So until next week!

Always Love xx





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Rainbows and Diamonds

I enjoy rainbows as much as the next person. They are stunningly beautiful in nature, whimsical even. But I don’t like over doing the rainbow theme when I’m dyeing things. That said, I have been doing some rainbows spiral dyes lately. It’s an irresistible pattern for baby clothes and blankets. Which even though my baby doesn’t need anymore I still love doing them.


I recently ordered a pair of haemostats with my last lot of dyes, just to see how they would work when folding spirals. Muslin is such a soft and pliable fabric, and I didn’t take that into account when I was using the haemostats. They didn’t wreck the fabric but rather altered the design slightly. And thats where the diamond comes into the story. Because of the shape of the haemostats  point, the usually circular spiral turned out more like a diamond which I actually really enjoyed!

One of my favourite methods of dyeing is ice dyeing, aka snow dyeing. I don’t know much about the history of it, thats probably something I should look into! But I do know there are a few different ways to do it and each way yields a different result. The way I choose to do spirals is to apply the dye powder directly to the fabric. I use a soft dry paint brush to apply the dye powder. Its really important to note that when ice dyeing you should always where gloves and a dust mask! These dyes are hard to get off skin and the powder is so fine that it’s just too easy to inhale it.


Because this was a smaller piece I was able to use rubber bands to hold it all together. On a larger piece I would use sinew as rubber bands will just bend it instead of keeping it flat. I also use the rubber bands or sinew to mark out the sections when doing a spiral, it just makes it easier for someone like me who is not usually very visually or mathematically minded. As usual I soak all items in soda ash (sodium carbonate) which I buy in crystal form from the supermarket to fix the dye. I use Procion Mx fibre reactive dyes for all my dyeing. The colours that I used in this one were Chinese red, daffodil, mermaids dream, cerulean blue and grape. After the dry dye is applied then it is covered with ice.


I get 4kg bags of ice from our local service station or supermarket for around $1 a kg. Using more or less ice will also yield different results. After it’s covered with ice it’s left to melt and once the ice is all melted it’s left to kind of cure for a minimum of 6hrs or preferably overnight. I most often do all my dyeing at night after the kids have gone to bed then I rinse them out sometime in the morning. That way there are no interruptions and for safety sake I don’t like have the kids close by. J who is 7 can watch if he’s wearing a dust mask.


After the item, in this case muslin wrap has been left to cure it’s time to rinse it out. Starting with cold water I rinse with the rubber bands or sinew still in place and as more of the dye particles come away I make the water warmer and remove the bands. The warmer water help to remove any of the dye particles that haven’t bonded to the fibres. Once the water runs clear the item can be washed on a warm machine wash. I use a gentle spin cycle just incase. And the result is …..



Until next time,

Always Love xx


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Ok Go!

This  is it! So I had this idea, upon a New Years Eve, to start selling some of my ice dyed and tie dyed creations! Needless to say its a favourite past time and something I love doing, and with 3 boys under 7 we really needed another form of income and I really need a creative outlet. So The Happy Pigment was born!

Everything about this endevour has been a massive learning curve. When my partner and I first got one of those tie dye kits I was so hesitant to have a go! Afraid that I would stuff it up or it would look no good, especially next to my partners. Lets call him K. K is an artist in his own right. One of those people who can look at something then draw it in such great detail. In high school I use to sit next to him in class and just watch him draw these amazing things! But I have never been particularly visually creative, until now. Then came learning how to set up a Facebook page for The Happy Pigment, and an Etsy shop, and marketing those and getting people to see what I have to offer. It’s no easy feat!

Since that first Tie dye kit I invested in a whole heap Procion Mx dyes and some soda ash to fix the dye and the results are so much better than the over priced kits from Spotlight.

And now I have found WordPress, which has/is becoming another outlet for my creativity. The Joy of it all!

The picture below is of one of the first Mandala tie dyes that I made. The satisfaction when we revealed it was awesome! It was another learning curve.

So on this blog you will find info on ice dyeing, a little bit of tie dyeing, links to other places and of course my Facebook and Etsy pages. I hope you enjoy this colourful journey with me!

Always Love x


First sky fold mandala ever!