Confetti Dyed Clothing

We all know about the great comeback of tie dye in 2020, right? Well, I’ve been super into ice dyeing for a few years now and personally I prefer the organic look of ice dye over classic tie-dye. BUT… I’ve experimented a bit on how I could achieve an even more unique hand dyed look and I wanted to share this technique with you! This is more of a confetti style, you still have to give up quite a bit of control but I really like the results of this technique.

Thank you to ShirtSpace for providing the clothing items for this project. ShirtSpace is a great place to find wholesale blanks for a variety of projects and I really love that there is no minimum to order from them! Ordering was easy and shipping was fast. You can find out more here ShirtSpace.

supply list:

  • Cotton clothing items, 100% cotton is preferred but a blend of at least 60% cotton or more should also work, your results just might not be as bright. My shirts and sweatshirt were provided by ShirtSpace
  • 5 Gallon bucket for the Soda Ash Soak
  • Soda Ash Soak- 1 Cup soda ash to 1 gallon of water (I usually have 3-5 gallons prepared, this can be reused) 
  • Tarp or Drop Cloth for your work surface
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Face or Dust Mask for working with loose dye especially if you are working indoors
  • Fiber Reactive Dyes on your choice of colors – I use these from Dharma Trading Company 
  • Mesh Strainer- a variety of sizes if you have them. OR you can sprinkle with your fingers or a plastic spoon, I went with just a plastic spoon. 
  • Spray Bottle of Water (optional)
  • Synthrapol for washing (optional- This helps keep the white parts of the fabric white during the wash process)

A few tips before we start!

  •  When you are choosing the dyes you want to use here, note that if you choose a primary color, like yellow, you probably won’t get any variation in the color of that dye. However if you choose a color in the gray family, these colors are comprised of many different colors to make that specific color gray. Meaning with this technique, you will get a variety of colors that show up on your clothing item, even if you are just using 1 gray. It might sound a little science-y and confusing but once you see photos of the process I think it will make a bit more sense! 
  •  I like to let my fabric sit until it’s mostly dry. You can let it sit overnight but that gives it more time for the dye to mingle and possibly spread. So if you really just want that speckled confetti look, I would wash it sooner, about 45 mins-1hour after applying the dye. 
  • This technique is considered a ‘dry dye’ even though you need to soak your item in the soda ash. We aren’t adding any more water or ice, just using the dry powder dye on top of the damp fabric.
  • If you find that the fabric is too dry while you are applying the dye, you can use your spray bottle with water to dampen it again. You can also use the spray bottle on top of the dye to move it around a bit and make it spread if that’s a look you want to achieve. 
  • Some fabric/clothing has a film on it called ‘sizing’, it could affect the outcome of the dye and you can wash your clothes/fabric with Synthrapol to make sure they are dye ready. 
    • This technique is considered a ‘dry dye’ even though you need to soak your item in the soda ash. We aren’t adding any more water or ice, just using the dry powder dye on top of the damp fabric.

step one:

Soak your items in the soda ash mixture for 15-20 minutes. I know this is the boring part but the soda ash is how your dye will actually stick to the fabric. While you’re doing that you can choose your colors and prep your workspace. If you look closely at most of the colors you can see the variety in which make up that specific color. 


After your item is done soaking, wring it out until it’s just damp and lay it on your work surface (tarp or dropcloth). Get your colors out and start sprinkling! I chose the plastic spoon method because I felt like I had the most control with this. I held it up about a foot or 2 above my shirt to get a lighter dusting. For this first shirt I went with 2 different blacks to see how varied the results would be. I used Better Black and Raven. You can see the primary colors pop here too, it’s so cool to me! Once I sprinkled to my liking I set my shirt aside to dry a little. 

For the 2nd shirt I used the same process but with primary colors: Light Red, Turquoise, Lemon Yellow.  Each of these dyes are made up of only 1 singular color so any color variation is coming from the overlap of colors onto the fabric. I wanted to show the difference between the primary colors and colors that are comprised of many other colors, like the Better Black and Raven. These primary colors still have a cool result, they are just more one dimensional. While I let those dry in the sun for a bit I moved onto the hoodie. 


For the hoodie I used the colors Mist Gray, Powder Pink, Amethyst & Orchid. I used the same basic technique however when I had sprinkled all of the colors to my liking, I actually hung it up outside to dry for a bit. Hanging it caused the dye to streak downward & I love this result the best! It looks like watercolor brush strokes to me. 

I let all of these items sit out for about 45 minutes – 1 hour and then I rinsed them well and threw them all in the washer/dryer together. I did wash them with Synthrapol which isn’t necessary but it does help keep the colors from bleeding together or bleeding onto the white of your garment. If you rinsed your items well enough this shouldn’t be too much of an issue though.

And you’re done! Now try not to dye every white piece of clothing you own, I dare you! 🙂



Nik is a maker, day dreamer & potty mouth who loves cats, coffee and craft beer. She is a self taught hand embroiderer and will DIY pretty much anything she can get her hands on. You can see her work on Instagram  @wastingthyme & @nikvphotography. She lives in Long Beach with her husband and her three awesome cats (that she can’t shut up about).

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