How To Ice Dye – A New Tie Dye Trend

1 Year ago by

Tie-dyeing has been around for ages! I’ve always loved it. Call me a hippie, but there’s just something about those brightly twisted swirls of color that make me so happy! In honor of National Tie-Dye Day, I wanted to share a lesser-known but equally as radical method of tie-dyeing – the Ice Dye technique. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

I picked up some plain white kids t-shirts and a few Tulip® One-Step Tie-Dye Kits. You’ll also need to get a couple of pans and racks that you don’t mind getting messy.

What’s awesome about the Tulip One-Step kit is that it has pretty much everything you need in it! A lot of tutorials will tell you to do a soda ash wash on your fabrics first, but these kits come with that all built in. So easy!

Let’s get started!

1. Wash Your Fabric

I recommend you running your clothing items through a regular wash cycle to get rid of sizing and any chemicals that may have been used on them during manufacturing. Do not dry! We want the fabrics nice and wet for dyeing.

2. Scrunch and Fold

Tie Dye Trays

Here’s where you can get creative. There are tons of tie-dye folding techniques out there, so try out a few. For ice-dyes, I happen to love the good ol’ crumple method. The one-step kits come with rubber bands, but I have omitted using them for this tutorial. I didn’t want the hard lines that they can sometimes create. Once you’ve got your desired fold, place your fabric on top of a rack that is resting on a foil pan. The pans will catch your dye water. Try not to let your fabrics touch or you may get some color run like mine did… Although, I think it turned out pretty great regardless.

3. Cover with Ice

Add Ice

Next, you want to completely cover your fabric with ice. Pile it on until every inch is covered. The more ice you use, the greater effects you will see in your dye.

4. Sprinkle Dye

Sprinkle Dye

STOP. Put on the gloves that came in the kit. This step is very important if you do not want blue and purple hands tomorrow. Now that you’re protective gloves are on, open a few bottles of dye. Tulip makes selecting color combos easy with these kits. They make sure to provide you with colors that won’t muddy up and turn dark brown when they blend.  For the ice-dyeing method, we won’t actually mix up the dye with water to make a liquid. We want to use just the powder!

Covered in Dye

Carefully sprinkle the powdered dye over your ice making sure to cover it all. Be generous here. Lots of dye = lots of vibrant colors.

5. Let it Melt

Depending on which part of the country you live in and the time of year, this could take anywhere from an hour to overnight. It’s best to do an ice-dye on a sunny day and let it set for 6-8 hours. Some people even use snow for this method. How fun!

Melted

Once it’s all melted, your fabrics will look like this. Don’t worry if you see chunky, powdered dye leftover. It will rinse off soon.

6. Rinse

Rinse

Rinse all of your pieces in cool water until the water runs clear. Don’t forget to keep your gloves on for this part!

7. Wash

This final step is important in making sure that your dye sets. Fill your washer to a large load setting with hottest water suitable for the fabric and a small amount of laundry soap. Wash and dry your fabric separately. I also recommend washing these pieces separately the first few washes.

I think they came out pretty awesome!

Final Ice Dyed Tees

Are you jumping on the tie-dye bandwagon? Share your creations with us on Instagram using #MadeWithMichaels!

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  • Mimi Drozdetski

    Is there a tutorial on the striped pattern?

  • Erin Woods

    I just ice dyed sheets and all the white parts turned purple in the washer :( I soaked in soda ash for 20 mins, wrung them out, scrunched them, iced them, dyed them, rinsed them (at this point still had white on them) then washed them in machine and when I pulled them out all the white parts were purple. What did I do wrong? HELP!

    • Tiff

      Did you let it sit for 24 hours?

      • Erin Woods

        I did. It’s so strange. I’ve done lots of tie dying with liquid dye and never had this happen. This is my first ice dye and first time using powder dye. :(

      • Tiff

        Was it RIT? I was using RIT and it bleeds so much! All of my dyes were so faded and I was following all if the directions! I finally invested in some fiber reactuve dyes from dharma trading co. And the difference is amazing! And they are the same price!

      • Erin Woods

        Yep, RIT. :(
        That must be it. They came out faded and bled all over.

      • Erin Woods

        If I attempt again I’ll try those dyes. Thanks so much for your replies :)

      • Tiff

        Definitely try again and do get dharma dyes! They have like 200 colors to choose from too. I’m going to an ice dye today. I will post a pic tomorrow 😀 you are welcome ☺ its definitely a learning process.

      • Erin Woods

        I would love to see your results! Thanks!

    • George