The only experience I had of dyeing clothes before this all started was many moons ago at school. We had a t-shirt or piece of fabric, tied rubber bands around different areas and dunked it into a bucket of dye – one colour, that was it. I didn’t even know how to create the multi-colour t-shirt in my first blog post before looking it up online (thank you You-Tube). It wasn’t until I joined online dyeing groups that I came across the wonderful world of ice-dyeing and that was a game changer for me.
There are slightly different methods of ice dyeing depending on the individual’s preference, but the basics are getting your garment/fabric, soaking it in soda ash so that the dye bonds to it, tying the garment up in your preferred design, sprinkling over the dye, covering it in ice and then wait for the magic to happen. Others may tie the garment up before soaking in soda ash and you can also put the dye over the ice instead of under it. It’s really up to you and I can only suggest you experiment to find your preferred method. One important thing to mention is that when using powdered dye, you should have a good quality mask to avoid inhaling the tiny air-borne particles.
What are the differences in results? With liquid dyeing, you’re placing the dye in a particular area and getting one block of colour e.g. blue, yellow, red or maybe a combination if the colours mix on the garment e.g. blue and yellow making green.
With ice dyeing, the individual colour splits, unless it’s a primary colour like turquoise, fuschia or yellow. So that tangerine colour you’ve bought, could split into the variety of colours that went together to create the dye powder. The shirt on the top left was just one dye colour – black. It can be quite exciting waiting for the results to see what you get.
Both methods have their pros and cons, depending on what you’re wanting to create and the effect you want. The liquid dye method is probably a little quicker and more fun for kids, plus most importantly, you don’t want to allow little ones around the powdered dye. Have fun creating everyone.