Give Ice Dying a Try This Summer

Plain tie-dye is so last summer, this year beat the heat with ice dying.  This new spin on a DIY classic uses all the same supplies as traditional tie-dye PLUS ice.  Melting ice distributes the powdered fabric dye in a different way than liquid dye.  Your new wardrobe will be just as colorful and fun to make.

Kids T-shirt made with an ice dying technique.

Before you Begin be sure to not only gather all your supplies, but pre-wash your T-shirts.  Brand new clothing has something called sizing in it which makes it harder for dye to take to.  Wash and rinse your shirts before you begin or better yet use an older shirt that needs a makeover!

T-shirts, rubberbands and powdered fabric dye for ice dying

Ice Dying Supplies

  • Pre-Washed 100% Cotton T-shirts
  • Rubberbands
  • Ice
  • Cookie Cooling Rack
  • Tin Tray
  • Powdered Tie-Dye

This is the exact same powdered dye you would use for traditional tie-dye you just don’t add any water to the bottles.  You want the dye to remain in powdered form for ice dying T-shirts.

T-shirts wrapped with rubber bands for ice dying.

Bind T-Shirts Using Tie-Dye Patterns

Using the exact same variations you would for regular tie-dye bind your shirts with rubber bands.  Experiment with designs, twists and tools.  

A Few of My Favorite DIY Tie-Dye Projects

Ice dying T-shirts on a tray and cookie sheet

How to Ice Dye T-Shirts

Once you have your T-shirts bound with rubber bands place on a cookie cooling wrack over a bin or container to catch the melting ice dye water.

You can dye your shirt one of two ways: wet or dry.  I experimented with using a wet T-shirt and a dry T-shirt.  Either way you sprinkle the DRY powder onto the T-shirt then cover with ice.  As the ice melts it activates the dye.

Be sure once one side is melted to flip to the other side and repeat.

Closeup of T-shirt with colorful ice dying

You’re Almost Done!

Allow the dye to sit overnight on the T-shirts (you can also try tote bags, sheets, pillow covers – anything cotton).  The next day remove the rubber bands and wash and dry.

Hanging DIY ice dyed T-shirts

Enjoy Your New Ice Dyed T-Shirts

How fun was that and how cute do those shirts look!  Not too different than regular tie-dye but a little bit COOLer.

These fun T-shirts were originally part of a post for HGTV called Crafty Ways to Celebrate Holi With Kids.

Easy DIY Shibori dyed onesie by Jennifer Perkins

Even More Ways to Play With Fabric Dye This Summer

Once you start playing with fabric dye, it is kinda hard to stop.  I know from personal experience.  Want to try your new skills and some different techniques?  Check these out!

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