This easy process results in the prettiest patterns!
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Read step by step instructions after the video.

Give plain cotton tea towels, clothing, or a piece of natural fabric a sophisticated upgrade with this fun and simple DIY. This ice dyeing technique makes it easy to create vibrant tie-dye patterns on fabrics and clothing. We’ll teach you how to combine your favorite material, ice, and powdered fabric dye packets to make an effortless tie-dye pattern. It’s as easy as topping crumpled fabric with crushed ice and letting it melt! With just a few inexpensive supplies, you can create ice tie-dye projects. The result is a pretty watercolor pattern that can be as bold or as subtle as you like.

  • Working time 30 mins
  • Difficulty Easy

What you need


How to do it

Part 1

shredded materials
Step 1

Prep Work Space

Wash fabric first, then soak in a solution of 1-gallon water and 1 cup soda ash (such as Tulip Soda Ash, $7, Joann) so the fabric will better accept the dye. Always wear gloves when working with soda ash, which can irritate the skin. To start dyeing, cover your work area with a plastic drop cloth and have paper towels handy to manage spills. Thoroughly moisten fabric, then crumple and place onto a baking cooling rack set on top of a glass baking pan (like this Pyrex 9x13 Deep Glass Bakeware, $14, Target).

Editor's Tip: Natural fabrics, such as cotton, muslin, and linen accept dye best. Experiment with fabric folding and rubber band techniques. Roll into a spiral for a traditional tie-dye look, gather into tufts for a bull's-eye effect, or fold into a square for a checkered pattern.

gloved hand pouring dye on ice
Credit: Carson Downing
ice with dye
Step 2

Cover with Ice Cubes

Completely cover the fabric with ice cubes. For greater coverage, use crushed or pulverized ice instead of regular cubes and place the project in a warm area. The more surface area covered by ice, the more fabric you'll dye. Wearing a pair of rubber gloves, open a small corner of a powder dye packet and distribute it across the ice as if you're sprinkling salt. Repeat with other colors (we used four different Rit Dye Powders, $2, Joann). 

materials dyed blue and green
Step 3

Let Ice Melt

Let the ice completely melt, then use a color fixative (such as Rit ColorStay Dye Fixative, $5, Michaels) to rinse the fabric to prevent bleeding or fading. Wash the dyed fabric in warm water with a mild detergent. Rinse, and air-dry away from heat or direct sunlight. Try using this ice-dyeing technique to create custom home decor like tea towels, linen napkins, or DIY curtains. It also works on cotton clothing like t-shirts and sweatshirts.

Related: How to Make Natural Fabric Dyes

    Comments (1)

    How difficult was this project?
    Better Homes & Gardens Member
    May 1, 2020
    Difficulty: Kind of Easy
    where are the pictures of the finished product.