February 15, 2023
What Is Ice Dye?
EVER WONDERED WHAT ICE DYE IS AND HOW IT'S DONE? READ ON ...... I'LL SPILL THE BEANS.
Ice dye is just one of many techniques used when tie dying. Who would have thought that ice dye was originally thought of by quilters. They wanted to dye their fabrics in the winter months and had to get creative. Snow and ice can be used for this dying process. I am literally obsessed and love how each garment always comes out different than the one before. Even when you use the same dye.
For ice dying you want to use procion fiber reactive dyes. Some people use RIT dye, but RIT dye is a stain. It is not meant to permanently dye the fabric. There are lots of tie dyers in the market that use RIT dye and swear by it! I have used it and tested it. I will not use it in my process due to the dye fading with every wash and dry. If you don't dry it. Then the fading is slower and more subtle. However, who am I to tell a customer they can't dry their top. Procion fiber reactive dyes will provide a permanent long lasting dryer safe finished product.
Another tip is fabric content. Tie dye is the brightest color when the garment is higher in cotton fibers. Tie dye is mostly for natural fibers. However, there is a line of dye for synthetics. This is why you will find that tie dye clothes cost more. The higher the cotton percentage the higher the price even at a wholesale warehouse. If you want a more watercolor or muted look 50/50 cotton/polyester works great. It is also a cheaper alternative to the mostly cotton tops. Some places I find my blanks for tie dye are wholesale warehouses, second hand shops (epicycle and recycle to help Mother Earth), and clearance racks at Old Navy are amazing!
Steps to Ice Dye if you are interested. Let me know in the comments if you would be interested in a class!
Step #1: PREP FABRIC
Once you have your item picked for tie dying. You need to soak it in a soda ash mixture. Technically, you only have to soak it for 15 - 20 minutes. I like to soak mine longer. Everybody's process is different and what makes each item so unique. After soaking, ring out shirt really well. I use the spin cycle in my washer for this step. It rings out the solution really well and leaves me with a damp tee to work with.
Step #2: TIE YOUR ITEM
Once you have your shirt or whatever you have chosen to make awesome with tie dye rung out. Figure out which technique you want to use. There are many to choose from. There are some traditional techniques and some new techniques that are taking the tie dying community by storm. My favorite and easiest technique is the scrunch! That's right! Get your dish pan and put your shirt in it and scrunc it up. Tight or loose will give different results.
Step #3: LAYER THE TOP WITH ICE
Once you have your item placed and ready to go. Put a nice layer of ice over the item. You want ice to cover the top of the item. You should not be able to see any fabric underneath the layer of ice. YES!! We spend a lot of money on ice! An ice machine for my garage is on my wish list as my business grows. Definitely will be helpful instead of buying my local gas station out of ice. Next, we finally get to choose out dyes! You can choose a variety or one. Keep reading for the secrets of how one color can split into many.
Step #4: PICK YOUR DYE
Make sure you are using Procion Fiber Reactive Dyes for best results. My two favorite places to get dyes are Dharma Trading and Grateful Dyes. No these are not affiliate links. I have just been pleased with their product and shipping. The color will split on the ice into many different colors when applied. It is very cool to watch. So pick one to three colors and lets get started applying the dye.
Step #5: APPLY DYE
A heavy hand is not the way for this step. Take a tablespoon. I use a plastic spoon that I can keep reusing and a sifter to apply my dye. The sifter breaks up the bigger clumps of dye. Helps with waste. You can apply the dye in strips or dots or even diagonal. Your creativity is the only thing that will hold you back on this part of the process. You will never know how something will turn out till you try. Add a light layer of soda ash after on top.
Step #6: WAIT 48 HOURS IN TEMPERATURE CONTROLLED ROOM
This part is the hardest part to do! The waiting absolutely kills me! I just want to rinse it out as soon as the ice melts. STOP!!!! STEP AWAY FROM THE TIE DYE! You will regret it if you don't. Rinse after 48 hours have passed the point of ice being completely melted. After 48 hours the dye stops reacting with the soda ash. I have been impatient and didn't wait. I thought my items turned out ok, but man when you wait!! Ahhhhhhhh....chef's kiss.
Step #7: RINSE & REPEAT RINSING FOR A REALLY LONG TIME
After the ice has melted and the 48 hourshave passed. You are going to dump the muck out from the pan your shirt is in. Then hit the shirt with cold water until the water rinses clean. After you water rinses clean you can start gradually warming up your water temperature and continue to rinse and squeeze until all the left over dye has washed out. Then we are finally ready for the washing machine.
Step #8: WASH WITH SPECIAL SOAP AND SOFTENER
Now we run the washer with hot water. We are going to add some synthropol. Synthropol is a professional washing detergent to make the colors stay where they are and not bleed. So, if you are having white spots left on the shirt and want them to stay that way. You will want this. After that cycle is done. Hang to dry or dry on low. Then wash in hot water again with a milsoft fabric softener. It isinodustrial strength It is used to put the softness back in the item that the process of tie dyeing sometimes takes out.
Step #9: PUT ON YOUR MASTERPIECE AND SHOW IT OFF
If you decide to try this at home. Please tag me! @wsboutiqueia I would love to see your creation. My favorite thing about tie dye Is no two pieces will ever be the same. Happy Creating!
Hope you liked this blog. Leave in the comments some topics you would like to know, learn, or hear about. I appreciate you more than you know.
As always! BE FEARLESSLY YOU