Ice Dye DIY

Ally Parker | 20 January 2014 | 2 Comments

Move aside tie dye, there’s a new trend in town. Ice dyeing. Long gone are the days of fluorescent tie dye t-shirts and their unparalleled ability to destroy retinas and embarrass even the coolest of kids on their 21sts. Tie dye is enjoying a bit of a revival at the moment, but thankfully the colour palette is more muted; goodbye  ‘Rainbow Paddlepop’ and ‘Unicorn Vomit’ of our childhood, and hellooo soothing navy blue. For ice-dyeing though, the world is your oyster.

Dharma Trading Co. have invented this how-to as a new favourite weekend activity. We should probably note that the mid-way point in this DIY may look like big brown mess, but relax and channel your inner hippie because it all works out in the end. Once you’ve mastered the basics you can try ice-dyed pillows, macrame, bunting and wall hangings. We wouldn’t say no to an ice-dyed tote bag either, it would be perfect for this weekend’s drum circle.

What You’ll Need
White fabric/garment (cotton works best)
Soda ash or ‘Washing soda’ (you can get this at pool shops and some craft stores)
Rubber gloves
Cooling rack
Plastic tub (big enough for cooling rack)
Ice (you’ll need enough to cover garments/material)
Dust mask
Apron or old clothing
Plastic spoons
Dye powder (however many different colours you’d like. You can pick these up at some craft stores or online)
Old sheets or tarpaulin


1. Pre-wash fabric with detergent to eliminate dirt, oil or makeup etc.
2. Mix soda ash in bucket (1 cup per 3.5 litres of water). Put the fabric in and let it soak. After approximately 15-20 minutes take out the fabric and squeeze out excess solution (whilst wearing rubber gloves).
3. Scrunch up or plait fabric and place on cooling rack in tub.

4. Cover fabric with ice then put on dust mask.
5. Using a plastic spoon, sprinkle dust powder over the ice until your masterpiece is complete.
6. Cover with a tarpaulin or old sheet and leave for 24 hours.
7. After 24 hours take out the fabric and rinse in cold, running water before machine washing.

For the visual learner in us all, here’s a handy-dandy video.

Best done outside. For different patterns, vary the amount of scrunch in your fabric and the type of ice used, whole or crushed.

Image Credits: Patient Peony, Lisa Kerpoe, Bonnie L. Bowman, Kreo, The Mill, Soulgoodies.

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  • Ashe

    Ahhh, seriously need to do this now. Heading to stock up on supplies first thing in the am.
    A –

  • Patient Peony Designs

    thanks for featuring my textile art! so great to see ice-dying getting some love. you can check out more on my etsy page