Directory Image
This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using our website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

What is Ice Dyeing?

Author: Annette Browning
by Annette Browning
Posted: May 11, 2020
tie dye

Have you heard of Ice Dyeing??

It's the modern, younger cousin of everybody's favorite... Tie Dyeing!

Ice Dyeing (or Snow Dyeing) creates gorgeous, marbled patterns, much like tie dye. The main difference, however, is that tie dye tends to produce harsher more delineated patterns with. Ice Dye or snow dyeing, on the other hand, is more blended and subtle.

You can find the full step by step instructions at

If it is winter in your neck of the woods and you are lucky enough to have snow on the ground, go ahead and use snow. It's not necessary, however because ice works just as well.

Depending on how many pieces of fabric you wish to dye, you may want to go to a gas station and pick up a bag of ice. You can't use too much ice... but you don't want to use too little.

What are Fiber Reactive Dyes?

Fiber Reactive Dyes or MX Dyes or Procion Dyes are all dyes that are specially made to work on plant fiber fabrics. That means cotton, linen, bamboo, etc. They will not work on protein or animal fiber such as wool or silk. Also, the don't work on synthetic fabric such as nylon or polyester.

Also, Fiber Reactive Dyes are COLD WATER dyes unlike others which have to be heated to fix or set the dye to the fabric.

How Do You Ice Dye?

The process is super simple and you just need a few supplies:

    • Plant Fiber Fabric such as a Cotton T Shirt
    • Fiber Reactive or MX Dyes
    • Soda Ash
    • Old Bucket
    • Water
    • Ice or Snow
    • Large Waterproof Tub
    • Old Shoe box
    • Rack to raise the fabric above the ice
    • Plastic spoons
    • Dust Mask
    • Gloves

Begin by soaking your fabric in water and soda ash. (Follow the manufacturer's instructions).

While your fabric is soaking, set up your dye station by placing the rack inside the large tub. Cut the bottom out of the shoebox and place that on top of the rack.

When the fabric is finished soaking, remove it from the bucket and wring out any excess water. Fold or scrunch your fabric (s.a. tie dye folds) and place it inside the shoebox. (I dyed two different cotton tea towels so I divided the box).

Now, cover your cotton fabric with ice. As the ice melts, the dyes move and blend slowly, creating smooth transitions in the colors.

Put on your gloves and dust mask and then open your dye containers. Using the plastic spoons, carefully sprinkle the dye on top of your ice. You don't need a lot of dye, just enough to cover the ice.

Leave your ice to melt overnight or as long as it takes. This depends on the temperature of your room. The longer is takes, the more the dyes have a chance to blend.

Finally, you need to rinse out the excess dye, first under cold water and then warm, until the water runs clear.

Wash your newly dyed fabric in the washing machine, separately for the first one or two times. It should not continue to bleed dye after that.

We have many more fabric and yarn dyeing tutorials at



About the Author

Hey, I'm Annette, check out for lots more crafting tutorials

Rate this Article
Leave a Comment
Author Thumbnail
I Agree:
Author: Annette Browning

Annette Browning

Member since: Jan 23, 2020
Published articles: 7

Related Articles