Learning Objectives:

  • Students will learn about the process of mixing colors to create new colors 
  • Students will gain an understanding of how dyes work on the materials they were intended for  
  • Students will learn about upcycling and how they can give old clothes a new spin!  


  • Cotton Top (tank, t-shirt, an old blouse or polo) 
  • Lots of ice cubes 
  • Powdered fabric dye 


  • Draining rack (you can use a cookie cooling rack or something from the dollar store) 
  • Tray or pan 
  • Plastic gloves 
  • Plastic spoons 


  1. Wet your top and scrunch it up. Place your top on the rack inside the try. Cover it with lots of ice. Put on plastic gloves and use a spoon to sprinkle dye on the ice. The more you use, the stronger the colors will be. 
  2. Leave the ice to melt. Leave your top for 6-8 hours until the ice has completely melted. Put on plastic gloves before taking the top out of the tray. Using cold water, rinse the top in the sink until the water is clear. 
  3. Wash your top in the washing machine alone. Once it’s dry, you’re ready to wear it.   
  4. Say “ciao” to your new ice dyed top! 


  • Try mixing the powder dyes together before sprinkling them on to see what colors you can create. Use primary colors (red, yellow, blue) to create an array of options! 
  • Make sure the dye and the fabric you are using work together. If your top is 100% cotton use a dye for natural fabrics. Synthetic (man-made) fabrics need special dyes. 
  • Try this project in the winter using SNOW! 
  • Get permission before starting this project since the dye is permanent. 
  • Make one for your BFF. 

Activity from "How to Be a Fashion Designer" by Lesley Ware