I think that I’ve probably tie dyed twice in my life. I was never really attracted to the process, and the two times that I did it, I ended up covered in dye. Recently, my mom sent me a tutorial for something called “ice dying.” The picture looked complicated, but I went ahead and read through it anyway.

Model Ice Dye-1

It actually sounded pretty simple, and the results on Pinterest were amazing so we decided to give it a try. For this fun project, you’ll need.

  • Shirts (we dyed five shirts with eight boxes of dye)
  • Powdered Fabric Dye (we used Rit)
  • Soda Ash
  • Soaking Bucket
  • Strainer or Grate (we used cooling racks)
  • Tub (we used a baby pool)
  • Ice (we used 44 lbs total)

Ice Dying-1

Step 1

Ice Dying-2

Follow the package directions to determine the amount needed and soak your shirts in the soda ash for about 15 minutes.

Step 2 

Ice Dying-4

While your shirts are soaking, set up your draining station. We elevated cooling racks with bricks in a baby pool. Basically, you want the shirts to remain above all of the water once the ice melts. If the shirts sit in the melted ice dye, they will not turn out properly.

Step 3

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Wring the shirts out generously and arrange them in loose piles on the racks. You can wrap them up, crumple them or just wad it up – there isn’t a wrong way to do this. 

Step 4

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Pile the ice up on the shirts. You’ll want it fully covered.

Step 5 

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This is the fun part. First, put on some gloves. Then, choose which dyes you want to go onto your shirt. Remember, the colors will blend and move with this process. Sprinkle the powdered dye all over the ice in any way that you like. Make sure that the ice is fully covered with dye.

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Step 6

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Immediately add some more ice.

Step 7

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Now you wait. We waited about 2 hours for the ice to be almost melted.

Step 8

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Pile on more ice. You can add more dye if you like, but not as much as the first time around.

Step 9

Wait 24 hours.

Step 10

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Time for an arm workout – remove the shirts from the strainer and rinse them in cold water until the water runs clear. This can take some time.

Step 11

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Hang the shirts to dry somewhere that some extra dye runoff won’t be an issue. We opted for over some Rhododendron bushes.

Step 11

Model Ice Dye-2

Wash your shirts individually on cold with no detergent, and then again with detergent on warm. Enjoy your new shirt!

Liv is a W.Va. based wedding photographer consumed by wanderlust and seeing the beauty of those in love. She believes that to create beautiful images, she has to see beauty in everything she photographs. Liv is a teacher, wife, daughter, indulger of all things Disney and unabashedly obsessed with her fur-baby Henry.

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