Let’s try some Ice Dyeing

One of my favourite techniques is Ice Dyeing. You don’t need a lot of different materials to try Ice Dyeing, most are readily available.

Glen and I always take a break to go to our country property and get away from the demands of the city. Often I take advantage of this time to experiment with fabric dyeing.

The fun part is you never know what will be result….


This is my basic material list:

  • Plastic buckets,
  • A lot of ice cubes – I bought mine!,
  • Suitable fabric,
  • Soda Ash,
  • Dye powder  in assorted colours,
  • And plenty of water.

Here are a few of the steps…

First, I put my Prepared for Dyeing (PFD) fabric into a soda ash/water mixture to soak. While it soaked, I went into my local town to buy some ice and also had breakfast…
Soaking the fabric in Soda Ash water

Soaking the fabric in Soda Ash water

After a good long soak, I wrung out a piece of fabric, scrunched it up in the bottom of a bucket, then poured ice on top.
Layers of fabric, dye and ice

Layers of fabric, dye and ice

Now for the fun part… I sprinkled dry dye powder onto the ice. I used a variety of colours. My dye was Procion cold water reactive dye powder. I continued to layer fabric, ice and dye.
More "buckets" of ice dyed fabric

More “buckets” of ice dyed fabric

I then placed a large plastic bag over the bucket and let it sit in the garage for 24 hours for the ice to melt.
Rinsing out

Rinsing out

The following day was the unveiling! I love the results.
I was getting excited!!

I was getting excited!!

Here is another fabric piece after washing out. Great colours!
The melting ice produces some great visual effects...

The melting ice produces some great visual effects…

I also did a colour spectrum dye adding black to my base colours to get richer tones.

While not as dramatic as the ice dyeing, I learned a lot about adding black:

  • A little goes a long way!
  • It does provide a richer colour.
  • Reds require a lot of rinsing.
Glen placed all the rinsed fabrics out to dry on the grass.
The days work drying in the sun

The days work drying in the sun

Dry, pressed and ready to include in a new project.
I approve!!!

I approve!!!

This view minus the cat!
The finished fabric pieces

The finished fabric pieces

This was great fun!

There is a lot of good information and tips on the internet about Ice Dyeing.  Try searching for “fabric ice dyeing”

Like to try ice dyeing but not confident to begin. Throughout the year, I run regular fabric dyeing workshops, click here to find out more ->> Fabric Dyeing Workshops with Leslie

Until next time.


Posted by Leslie Edwards

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