How to Ice Dye

June 29 2021

Ditch the squeeze bottles and let the ice do all the work. 🧊🧊🧊 Ice dyeing creates beautiful organic watercolor effects with our All-Purpose Powder Dyes. Simply leave it out on a warm summer day and let the sun do all the work while you relax.

Fun fact: our powder dyes are made up of different colors and dissolves in water to create the final color. So by not dissolving it, the dyes split to reveal an unexpected surprise. For example, purple is a secondary color made of blues and reds–that’s why you can see bit of blue and red throughout the fabric. How cool is that? 🥶

Supplies
Time
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Difficulty
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Instructions
  1. Prewash fabric in warm, soapy water without any fabric softener. This helps to remove any finishes that may interfere with dye absorption.
  2. Gather supplies.
  3. Cover work area with plastic table cover and have paper towels handy to protect against any possible spills.
  4. Wear rubber gloves to protect hands from getting stained.
  5. Wet fabric and randomly scrunch into a small, flat ball.
  6. Place damp scrunched fabric on top of wire rack, over the plastic tub to catch excess dye.
  7. Cover fabric completely with ice. Different ice sizes will yield different patterns.
  8. Open dye packages and sprinkle dye onto the ice. Keep in mind that more powder will yield darker results. For more white space, sprinkle dye on as you might sprinkle salt on food. Use very little dye. You will probably think you aren’t using enough, but you are!
  9. Let the ice melt completely through the fabric.
  10. To set the dye, do the following while fabric is still wet:
    1. Optional: Apply Rit ColorStay Dye Fixative with a spray bottle, which will enhance the colors and reduce bleeding. Mix 2 tablespoons of well-shaken ColorStay Dye Fixative with water and spray liberally to both sides of the fabric.
    2. We strongly recommend setting the dye with a microwave. Our dyes need heat to loosen the fabric to accept the dye and because ice is being used, heat hasn’t been used. This can be done as long as the fabric does not have any metal parts on it. After applying ColorStay Dye Fixative, wrap the fabric in plastic wrap and seal the edges. Place the wrapped fabric on a paper towel in the microwave and heat for 2 minutes. Plastic will puff up, creating a heat chamber that helps bond the dye with the fabric. Once the microwave is done, remove the fabric and open the plastic, letting it cool down. If a microwave is not available or feasible to use and it is a hot sunny day, lay the wrapped fabric out in the sun for an hour.
  11. Rinse fabric in cool water until rinse water begins to run clear. This is very important to prevent unabsorbed dye from bleeding into any white areas. If possible, rinse the fabric flat to prevent unabsorbed dye from running into your white areas.
  12. Wash in cold water with a mild detergent, rinse and dry.
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