Ice Dye vs Tie Dye

Ice Tie Dye or Ice Dye or Ice Dye Tie Dye is a newer version of the older tie dye technique. The difference is how the dyes are applied and flow through the fabric. Ice dye adds a cool watercolor effect.

In the 1960s tie dye was made with All Purpose dyes available in 3 primary colors because they were cheap and easy to get. Then Fiber Reactive dyes became cheaper and easier to get in 200+ colors and ice dye became an interesting new technique.

Tie Dye Technique

The picture is Joe Cocker wearing Tie Dye at Woodstock in 1969Woodstock Tie Dye 1969 Joe Cocker

Tie Dyeing starts by folding fabric to control how dye colors will flow through it. Then rubber bands are applied to control where dye colors will not flow. Then liquid dye colors are applied with squirt bottles to start each dye color flow.

The Final Product is the combined effect of how the fabric was folded, where and how tightly the rubber bands were applied, and how much and where each liquid dye color was applied to the fabric.

Ice Dye Technique

This is our Mystic Ice Dye created in 2017Ice Tie Dye Shirt

Ice Dyeing starts by folding fabric to control how dye colors will flow through it. Then ice pieces are applied on top of the fabric to add randomness to the dye flow. Then powdered dye colors are applied on top of the ice to start each dye color flow.

The Final Product is the combined effect of how the fabric was folded, the size and arrangement of the ice pieces, and how much and where each powdered dye color was applied on top of the ice.

How to Ice Dye

You can find many websites with tutorials on how to Ice dye. Most of them sell dyes and tie dye kits so they want to show you interesting ways to use them. Google Ice Dye and you'll see a long list.

If you're looking for a place to start, get a tie dye kit. A Jacquard tie dye kit from Michaels is a low cost way to start. Use one of their 50% off coupons. Experiment until you get it right. Learn more about hand dyeing anything at Paula Burch's site All About Hand Dyeing It's an older looking site, but it's an amazing resource.

Ice Dye basics

  1. Folds control how dye colors will flow through the fabric.
  2. Ice pieces control how dye colors will flow to the fabric.
  3. Powdered dyes let the ice control how the dye colors flow.
  4. Dye colors flow at different rates as the ice melts.

Dye Color basics

  1. Dyes flow after they are applied
  2. Separate dye colors change color when they flow together
  3. White space (no dye) is okay.
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