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Dye Startup Costs

Want to get into dyeing but wonder how expensive it is to start? I’ve put together a list of all the items you need to dye and their approximate costs!

Please note all prices are only a general estimate. Your actual costs will vary.

Dye Chemicals


Obviously you can’t dye without the actual dye! At the most basic you need three colors: lemon yellow, fuchsia and turquoise. Using these you can mix a large variety of colors.

Cost: $3-6 ea (pricing determined by color)

Soda Ash

This is the chemical that makes the dye permanent. You literally can’t dye without it.

Cost: $1.70/lb


It’s recommended you add urea to your dyes for two reasons: it can help dyes dissolve better and helps keep fabric wet longer. Tie dye only

Cost: $2.15/lb

Wondering where to purchase these supplies? See my post here.


Squeeze bottles

You need something to put your prepared dye in, right? Squeeze bottles with spouts are perfect for tie dye. You’ll need at least one per color. Tie dye only.

Cost: $1.30 ea


Bottle openings are small and you’ll make a big mess without one. Tie dye only.

Cost: $3.50


Needed to mix up the soda ash solution.

Cost: $4

Measuring Cups and Spoons

So you can measure your chemicals and dyes.

Cost: $5

Plastic Storage Bin

Bins are portable and easy to clean places to dye.

Cost: $6

Rubber Bands

A cheap and reusable way to tie items up prior to dyeing. Tie dye only.

Cost: $2

Draining Rack

When you don’t want your project to sit in a puddle you need some sort of rack to set on top of your plastic bin to allow drainage. Look for things like a baking cooling rack or a wire shelf. Mainly ice dye.

Cost: $11


If you’re ice dyeing, ice is necessary! Obviously not everyone will need to buy ice, but not everyone has an ice maker. Ice dye only.

Cost: $2

Never reuse items used for dyeing for food

Safety Supplies


You need to protect your hands from chemicals and dyes. Use rubber or latex gloves.

Cost: $4

Dust Mask

It’s not really a good idea to breathe in the fine dye particles, so wearing a dust mask is recommended.

Cost: $2.50

Total Startup Cost

Assuming you have none of the supplies already on hand and have to buy everything, here’s about what it would cost to get into dyeing:

Tie Dyeing

$50 + dyeables

Ice Dyeing

$50 + dyeables

Both Tie and Ice Dyeing

$60 + dyeables


After you have your dye supplies you’ll need something to dye! I didn’t include these in the cost above because these are going to vary a lot depending on what you want to do. I’ve listed two common items as examples.


Cost: $4 ea

Quilting Fabric

Cost: $6/yd

I’ll fully admit that dyeing isn’t a cheap hobby (but neither is quilting)! It is a lot of fun though. I love being able to create my own fabrics.

What do you think? Is dyeing something you’re eager to try or is it just too expensive?

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May 30, 2021 5:12 pm

Oh my heck, I am so excited! My first ice dye attempt is about to be seen and rinsed! I’ve been learning about ice dyeing online for about a year but haven’t allowed myself to buy the dyes yet. I was at a Joann’s store checking the clearance section and they had some tie dye kits so I grabbed them for this first attempt. Each box just had a tiny bit of 2 colors of Jacquard dye powder in squeeze bottles you could add water to for tie dye but I just used the powder for ice dyeing and of… Read more »

Sharon Harris
Sharon Harris
August 9, 2023 9:29 am

I like combining ice dye and quilting!

May 3, 2024 11:42 am

Do you have a template for costing or pricing ice dye shirts etc ?