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Thursday, September 8, 2016

How to Ice Dye Fabric

Hey everyone! Have you ever wanted to learn how to ice dye? If you just said no, then why not? Ice dying is amazing and fun and we have a free tutorial for you so you can learn how! Seriously, you can turn a fabric you love that is mostly white into something even more fantastic! And we all know how white attracts stains so maybe you can even salvage your favorite white clothing items.

 Hopefully this intrigues you and you have to try it because it is so fun and easy and addicting! You can even use the same color combinations and the fabric will turn out different every time. You can also change the amount of dye that you use to make it less or more colorful.

Today we're going to teach you the steps for ice dying, share a fun time lapse video we made, and then we even have a giveaway for you! Does it get any better than that?  First, the tutorial: 

Supplies you will need:

Fabric to dye, soda ash, fiber reactive Procion dyes (I use tulip brand found at Walmart and Dharma dyes) gloves, ice, a bucket to use to soak in the soda ash, a tote and a small rack or screen with a stand. 

Let’s break this down for you. 
Step 1: Wash your fabric. Washing will help remove chemicals that may prevent the dye from penetrating the fabric. You can use laundry detergent or wash with Dawn. Dawn works great.

Step 2: Soak the fabric in Soda Ash for 30 min to 1 hour. Soda ash changes the ph levels of the fabric to make a more permanent connection that holds the dye to the fibers.

Once the soak is done ring out as much liquid as you can from the fabric. You can put it in your washer on the spin cycle if you prefer. Some people prefer to let the fabric dry but I don’t, I dye with the fabric wet. You can do whichever way you prefer. 

Step 3: Set a rack that has holes in it in a tote. (I use a tote and a metal shelf made with bars so there is a way for the liquid to fall through.) The tray needs to be up so the liquid can drip through the fabric into the tote and the fabric won’t rest in the liquid below. You can get creative on how to make this set up; literally anything that holds the fabric up and lets the liquid fall below will work. Take your fabric and scrunch it up. You can lay it out and scrunch up a little at a time or you can just slowly lay the fabric scrunching as you go. I usually scrunch mine as I go on the tray I am dying on. 

Step 4: Cover the fabric with ice. You will want the fabric completely covered with the ice. You can use aluminum foil around the fabric to make a barrier to hold the ice, if you prefer (I used cardboard boxes).

Step 5: Now sprinkle the powder dye on top of the ice. Remember that anywhere the dye touches will blend colors. Keep your color wheel in mind for this. 

Step 6: Wait for the ice to melt. This can take anywhere from 6-24 hours depending on the temperature where you are melting. Just be patient and wait. If there are spots with a lot of extra dye that is not dissolved you can add more ice or water to those areas and then wait for it to melt too. 

Step 7: More waiting. This does not start until the ice is completely melted. After the ice has completely melted we will cover the tray and the fabric and let it sit for 12-24 hours. This will allow the dye to set and the fabric to reach a warmer temperature. I dye in a tote so I can just put the lid on it after the ice melts and just leave it sitting for 24 hours. If you do not dye in a tote you can put the tray with the fabric on it in a trash bag and tie it up for 24 hours. 

Step 8: Rinse, Rinse, Rinse. Rinse the fabric in cold water. There could be a lot of color runoff in this step. Don’t freak it will be ok. Just rinse the fabric and wring it out. 

Step 9: Wash the fabric in hot water. I usually wash in the laundry detergent that I plan to wash it in regularly. 

Once it is washed, dry it and you are ready to use and enjoy your new ice dyed fabric! 

Other than all of the waiting it’s not too bad, is it? Dying fabric does take some patience but it is so worth it in the end. 

When you're comfortable with the process, you can also start playing around with different amounts and the placements of colors. Your dyed fabric will be truly one-of-a-kind!

Just for fun, we took a time lapse video of the fabric while we waited for the ice to melt. Don't worry, we sped it up a LOT.  Here's what it looks like, if you want to watch:

Now how about even more fun? Want some fabric to practice dying? Enter our giveaway below for your chance to win two FREE yards of this white colorway Poe Raven's fabric from Paris Bebe! You can see the gorgeous results I got with mine above. Now it's your turn to do it with any color you choose!  (The fabric is on sale for $8.99 per yard through Sunday night too, if you want a sure deal.)  Here's the giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for coming!  We hope you try out ice dying on your next project. The results are definitely worth it.

~  Nikki


  1. YAY!! Thank you, Nikki!! I've been wanting to do this! :)

  2. I really want to try this. What is the water to soda ash ratio in step 2?

    1. The package for the soda ash will tell you but I usually use 1/2 cup soda ash per gallon

  3. What is soda ash? And where do you get it?

    1. Walmart and hobby lobby have it. It is by the dye. :)

  4. What is soda ash? And where do you get it?

  5. Thanks for this post! I've been scared to try this but really want to!

  6. Hi Nikki, I've always wanted to learn how to ice dye. Thank you for the tutorial! I've got a few plain white shirts to experiment on.

    Thanks for the post!
    - Leanna