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How Much Ice Do You Need for Ice Dye?

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Have you ever wondered how much ice to use for ice dyeing? I ran a little experiment to see how much of a difference ice really makes!

Four equal sized pieces of fabric (fat quarters) were prepared in the typical manner for ice dyeing.

See the chart below for the amount of ice used per piece of fabric.


Ounces of Ice

Approximate # of Cubes


5.0 7


11.3 16
#3 19.6


#4 50.3


As you can see in the picture below, piece #1 didn’t have enough ice to cover all the fabric. #2 had just enough to cover the entire piece. #3 was slightly mounded and #4 had so much ice I had to use a foil barrier to keep it in place above the fabric.

Various amounts of ice on fabric for ice dye

Each was sprinkled with ½ tsp of powdered dye. I specifically used a multi-pigmented dye so that I’d be able to see the differences in color separation.

After waiting 24 hours and the typical rinsing and washing, here are the results:

Comparison of ice dyed fabric

The most obvious difference is between #1 and #2. After that the differences become much more subtle.

Here is the same photo but in grayscale so that you can better see the resulting tones.

Comparison of ice dyed fabric in grayscale

Honestly I had expected to see a more dramatic difference between all the pieces. I was surprised at how similar they ended up being! Once you have a couple layers of ice it seems the results are going to be fairly consistent.

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