More Ice Dyeing Q & A

It’s time for more ice dyeing Q & A. To see my previous Q & A last July, check out this post.  


Information about my class, Icy Delights,  is at the bottom of the post.

Let’s get to the questions.

Q: I’ve been ice dyeing for awhile now, and I just can’t seem to get the colors as bright as yours. What am I doing wrong?

That’s a difficult question without seeing your piece. There are so many variables with ice dyeing. Here are just a few of the reasons you might be getting paler results:

  • Fabric is not 100% cotton. Also, if it is 100% cotton be sure to wash before dyeing, and check to make sure there is no stain retardant on it. I had that problem with one of Dave’s shirts. See my post about that here.
  • Fabric was not soaked in soda ash. Be sure to soak at least 15 minutes in the soda ash solution before dyeing.
  • You are not using enough dye. In my class I provide a dye calculator so you can see exactly how much I am using in my sample. You, of course, can use more or less depending on your project.
  • You are using more ice.
  • You are not allowing it to batch (rest) long enough. I recommend 24 hours.

I hope that helps.

Q. I’ve been watching you tube videos and reading other blog posts about ice dyeing. Why would I want or need to take your class?

First of all, I am so glad you are interested in ice dyeing. It is a great way to get into all types of dyeing. If you check out my tutorial tab above, you will see several links to articles about ice dyeing. As for wanting or needing to take my class, I developed this class to save my students money. Since dyes split out into different colors, it’s hard to know which ones to buy. For instance, below is Jacquard’s Teal. I would have never thought it would look like that.


So what I did was ice dyed 45 different colors so my students could avoid those they didn’t like, and choose the ones they do like. Of course, there are more than 45 colors, but that gives students a great place to start.

Another advantage of taking my class is that I have a dye calculator which takes away the guesswork of how much dye to use. That saves students money on dye and time on the washout process.  And there is a lot of other information, plus some designs too like this one!


However, you definitely don’t need my class to ice dye. I just wanted to provide information to make the process easier, and hopefully more successful.

Q. What do you use ice dyed fabric for?

You can use this fabric for all the things you’d create with other fabric. I love making bags using my fabric. I also use the fabric for bag lining.

However, you can also dye ready-made items that are 100% cotton including clothing and home decor items. I like going to thrift store where I find all kinds of shirts, hankies, and other cotton items.

Q. I’ve been told to use PFD fabric? What is it and can’t I just dye regular cotton fabric?

PFD stands for Prepared for Dyeing. This fabric has no whiteners, sizing, or finishes that could interfere with the dye. Supposedly, you can go ahead and dye it without washing, but I really recommend washing all fabric before dyeing.

Yes, you can use regular 100% cotton fabric to dye. When I started dyeing back in 2010 I used the cheapest muslin I could find. It’s great to practice on before you bring out the nice fabric.

Q. Why do I need soda ash when using these fiber reactive dyes? What about when using PFD fabric?

Soda ash is the mordant used to adhere the dye to the fabric. If you don’t use it, most, if not all of the dye will wash out. PFD fabric does not have any mordant in it, so again soda ash is necessary.

Thanks for emailing me the questions. If you have an ice dyeing question, email me at and I’ll be happy to answer it.

Now to the information about my class, Icy Delights.

  • You will learn 3 different ways to ice dye.
  • You will learn dyeing safety precautions and the complete ice dyeing process including my dye calculator, to take the guesswork out of figuring out how much dye to use.
  • I’ve included pictures of how 45 different colors split in ice dyeing. This list will save you from buying colors that may not give you the results you want.
  • You will immediately be able to combine pleasing colors with my favorite color combos list. But with the master list of 45 colors, you’ll be able to create your own easily too.
  • You will received detailed information about the supplies I use and a supply checklist, making it easier for you to get started.
  • To keep your organized, I’ve included a downloadable worksheet to keep notes on your dyeing sessions.
  • Lastly. in the patterns section you will learn 11 different folding and clamping techniques to really show off your ice dyeing skills.

For additional information on my class, or to register,  click HERE.

Thanks for dropping by. I’ve been playing a bit with fabric in the sun. Hope to have something to show you later this week. Have a good week. And for some inspiration, check out Off The Wall Friday links.