Introduction: Galaxy Dyed Pants

About: I love DIY! I enjoy trying new projects, dyeing, weaving, cooking, crafting, and doing fun projects with my kids.

I love the stars, moon, night sky and beautiful pictures of outer space, so I wanted to do a dye project that would give me the beautiful melting of colors in outer space.
A Galaxy dye is done by using the Ice Dye Method, using Galaxy colors, then painting on stars.
Using the Ice Dye Method is fun because it creates unique shapes and color combinations. It also makes for a super fun surprise because it turns out different every time!
I did this project with my 5 year old daughter. The pants she used were some white leggings that were not so white anymore and were covered in stains. Now instead of a stained pair of leggings too stained to wear, she has an awesome pair of new galaxy pants.
For my pants I used some white yoga pants. I love my new one-of-a-kind galaxy pant.

So grab a pair of pants, (or a shirt, shoes, skirt, pillowcase, fabric, baby carrier, hat, etc.) and try out this great dyeing project.


Step 1: Gather Supplies

Supplies Needed:

-Pants- you can also use this same dyeing method on shoes, shirts, fabric or anything you want to galaxify. Whatever you use it should be a high percentage natural fiber. This dye works great on cotton, linen, hemp, and other natural fibers. The pants I used are 92% Cotton 8% Spandex yoga pants. The pants my daughter used are 95% Cotton 5% Spandex leggings.

-Fiber Reactive Procion powder dyes- we used Dark Black from Custom Colours, and the other colors from Dharma Trading Company, which are awesome dyes. You can also use Dylon or Tulip dyes which can be found at craft stores.

-Soda Ash or Washing Soda- this is the fixative that makes the dye fix to the fabric. Soda ash can be found with the pool chemicals and washing soda can be found with the laundry care products. They can also be ordered online.

-Soaking Container- you can use the same container you use for dyeing, or a separate container.

-Dyeing Container- we used a small tote with an old cooling rack inside it propped up on cut up plastic cups.




-Dust Mask

-Paper Towel

-Plastic Spoons- after using the spoons with the dye, they shouldn't be used on food again.

-Tulip Soft Fabric Paint- white, or other white fabric paint. This is used to paint on the stars.

-Paint Brush or Toothpick- for painting on the stars.

-Time- total time is about 27 hours. 24 hours of that your dye project will just be sitting without you doing anything with it.

-Optional- Blue Dawn dish soap or Textile Detergent used for dyeing. This is used to help wash out excess dye.

-Optional- Extra shirts to use up the dye that drips off.

Step 2: Prepare to Dye

-Wash and dry your pants (or other dyeable item).

-Mix 1 cup of Soda Ash (or 1 1/3 cups Washing Soda) with 1 gallon warm/hot water in your soaking container. Stir until all of the Soda Ash is dissolved.

-Add your pants to the Soda Ash water and let them soak for 15 minutes or more.

-Squeeze as much of the water as you can out of your pants after they are done soaking.

-Optional- If you want to use the dye that drips down during dyeing you can put some shirts under your project. If you decide to do this, soak your shirts for 15 minutes in the Soda Ash water then squeeze the water out.

Step 3: Dyeing Set-up

-Empty the Soda ash water out of the container if you are using the same container for dyeing that you used for soaking. You can keep the soda ash water and reuse it for other dyeing projects, or just dump it down the drain.

-Loosely scrunch your pants and put them in your dye container propped up so the water can drain underneath. I used an old cooling rack propped up on cut up plastic cups inside my dyeing container.

-Fold foil and put it around your pants to create a barrier/wall to keep the ice from falling off.

-Put ice on your pants in a single layer fully covering the surface.

-Optional- If you've decided to make shirts with the dye that drips off your pants, scrunch your shirt up and put it underneath your rack positioned under your pants on the bottom of your dyeing container. Don't put ice on this shirt, it will get the melt off from your pants. We put two shirts under our pants, one was scrunched up, and the other had been tied with rubber bands.
My shirts don't show up in my pictures until later because I forgot about them until after we had already put the dye on the ice. That's when I remembered and I held up the cooling rack with the pants/ice/dye on it while my daughter put the shirts underneath. It's much easier to put the shirts in while setting up, but if for some reason you forget, just hurry and put them underneath before the ice melts.

Step 4: It's Dye Time!

-Put on your Dust Mask and Gloves.

-Sprinkle the powder dye on top of the ice using the plastic spoons. Start with your light colors then fill in with the darker colors. Make sure to put colors next to each other that will blend well. Study a color wheel if you need help. The colors my daughter used on her pants were: hot pink, grape, turquoise, and dark black. The colors I used on my pants were: lemon curd, turquoise, robin's egg blue, cthulublue and dark black. (Tip- the powder for the black looks red in the powder form. In the pictures what looks like red is the black dye. So if your black dye looks red, don't worry, it will come out black.)

-Cover the ice with dye.

-Set your container in a warm place to let the ice melt.

-Make sure there aren't any white spots left once the ice has melted. If there are white spots add more ice and dye to that area (unless you want white spots, then great leave it as is).

-Cover your tote with a lid or plastic wrap once all the ice has melted and the dye looks good. This will keep your pants moist, which is what you want, you don't want them to dry out.

-Set the tote in a warm place and let it sit for 24-48 hours, this is called batching. The temperature should be 70 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The heat helps speed up the process. We set ours out in the sun in my backyard, then brought it into our garage during the night, then set it back in the sun the next morning. Ours batched for about 30 hours total. The high temperature outside was 98 degrees.

Step 5: Rinse Away

-Rinse out the excess dye after your dye has batch (sat for 24+ hours).

-Rinse your pants in cold water until the water runs clear.

-Wash them on hot in your washer or by hand with some extra rinse cycles.

-Optional-Adding a couple drops of Blue Dawn, or the recommended amount of Textile Detergent can help loosen excess dye.

-Dry your pants once the water runs clear and all the excess dye has been washed out.

-Optional- If you added the shirts, wash them following the same steps as above.

Step 6: Painting Stars

-Admire your awesome dye job! You can leave your pants as is, or to complete the galaxification you can paint on stars.

-Squirt a small amount of the Tulip Soft Fabric paint on a scrap.

-Paint stars on your pants using a fine paintbrush or a toothpick. I included lots of pictures in case anyone needs some ideas of how to paint stars. Though you really can paint them however you like, that's the fun part. I really liked painting on the stars. I found it relaxing and fun.

-Allow paint to dry, and follow the instructions on the bottle. Some fabric paints have you heat set the paint. Mine just said to let it dry.

Step 7: Wow, Look at Your Awesome Pants!

You're done!
Enjoy your awesome one-of-a-kind Galaxy pants!

We had fun taking pictures of our new Galaxy pants.
Included are the two shirts that we dyed with the drip off from our pants.

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