This technique must be done with Rit All-Purpose Powder Dye. Accordingly: (1) you cannot use liquid dye; and (2) you can only ice dye natural fabrics (such as cotton, linen, wool, silk and ramie) and also rayon and nylon.
Due to the cold temperature during this process, select colors may have lighter results.
- Before dyeing, remove any visible stains on the fabric. This will help achieve uniform color results when dyeing. Prewash item in warm, soapy water without any fabric softener. This helps to remove any finishes that may interfere with dye absorption.
- Gather supplies.
- Cover work area with plastic table cover and have paper towels handy to protect against any possible spills.
- Wear rubber gloves to protect hands from getting stained.
- Wet fabric and crumple into a small, flat ball.
- Place damp crumpled fabric on top of drying rack, over the plastic tub (to catch dripping dye).
- Cover fabric completely with ice. Different ice sizes will yield different patterns.
- Open dye packages. Use spoon to sprinkle dye on the ice.
- 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!
- Adding color in sections will yield more of an ombre effect.
- Let the ice melt completely through the fabric.
- To set the dye, do the following while fabric is still wet:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Wash in cold water with a mild detergent, rinse and dry.