The Least Messy Tie-Dye Project You'll Ever Do

This simple tie-dye trick eliminates much of the mess!
This simple tie-dye trick eliminates much of the mess!
7/30/20 - By Ally Noel

Has your kid been begging to tie-dye all summer? I know, I know: It's one of those messy projects on par with homemade slime. But, I've got a secret trick for how to tie-dye shirts, and all sorts of items, in a pretty mess-free way.

It's called ice tie-dye, and I have to say, tie-dye items always seem to bring that cool kid chic (what's old is new again, right?), but ice tie-dye brings cool to a whole new level. As the ice melts with the dye, it creates a unique watercolor effect. Also, the dye melts into a container, containing the mess and making it easy to toss. Read on for a fun new trick on how to tie-dye with the kids and create your own wearable works of art.


It's a lot less messy than it looks!

Materials for Tie-Dye Shirts and More

Dye (powdered or liquid) 
(I typically purchase Rit Dye Powder or Tulip One-Step dye kits, often one color at a time.)

White clothing (socks, pillowcases, t-shirts, shorts, etc...) 100% cotton works the best


Cooling Rack 

Plastic Bin 

Latex gloves (It isn't completely mess-free!)

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Load up liquid dye in bottles, or you can just sprinkle on powder dye.

Step 1

Soak your white clothing in water for about 20 minutes. Ring out the excess water. 

Gather up t-shirts and other white clothing items for tie-dyeing.

Step 2 

Set the cooling rack inside the plastic bin and arrange your piece of clothing on top. You can scrunch it up a bit to create unique patterns. 

Step 3 

Cover the entire garment with ice. 

The ice helps create a cool tie-dye pattern.

Step 4 

With gloves on, either sprinkle the powder dye or squirt the liquid dye on top of the ice.

Scrunch the items up, and it adds dimension to your tie-dye pattern.

Step 5 

Let the ice melt completely. Depending on how hot it is, this can take a while. 

Beautiful, wearable works of art!

Step 6

Let your garment dry, then open it up to reveal the unique pattern. 

Step 7

Wash the garment according to tie-dye packet instructions, and there you go: that's how to tie-dye a shirt in just a few easy steps!

Find more fun activities in our Boredom Busters Guide for Kids, from recipes to crafts.
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