Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How to Dye Wool with Kool-Aid

You can easily make your own hand dyed roving or yarn match any color combination you would like, without making a huge investment. Once you know how to dye and shape wool, you can use this technique to enhance jewelry,accessories, dolls, and toys. This dying technique will work on any type of wool or animal fiber, and will be familiar to anyone who has ever dyed Easter eggs!

  • Natural wool roving (non-superwash)
  • Package of Unsweetened Kool-Aid in your preferred color
  • Water
  • White Vinegar
  • Equipment:
  • Measuring cup
  • Large glass microwave safe bowl or baking dish
  • Rubber gloves
  • Plastic wrap
  • Plastic spoon
1.    Soak the wool in hot water for 20 minutes so it will accept the dye. Tear it
into smaller pieces before soaking if you want to make different colors. If you are dying yarn, it will need to be in skeins to accept the dye evenly.

2.    Dissolve the Kool-Aid in ¾ cup of water, and stir with plastic spoon. Add ¼
cup vinegar, and stir. You can adjust this for darker or lighter colors by
using more water—or less Kool-Aid.

3.    Remove the wool from the hot water and squeeze out (don’t wring out) as
much water as you can. Place the wool on a piece of plastic wrap.

4.    Slowly pour the Kool-Aid over the wool, until it is saturated. Wrap the
plastic around the wool, and secure with string.

5.    Place in the pyrex container, and microwave for 2 minutes. Check the wool,
and microwave again if needed. You will know the wool is ready when all of
the liquid is colorless—and the wool is tinted. Be careful—it will be very hot.

6.    Remove the fiber from the plastic and rinse.

7. Hang to dry, then use as desired.

Project Notes:
  • You can make several different colors at one time—just use a different piece of plastic wrap for each, and cook them all at the same time.
  • Wear plastic gloves when working on this project—the dye will stick to your hands.
  • Kool-Aid is meant to be consumed, so you can use your regular household items for this project.
  • This technique will work on any animal fiber—but it won’t work on cotton or manmade ones. Wool roving is perfect for this project, but you could also dye yarn or fabric using the same technique.
  • To make the beads shown here, use Kool-Aid in different strengths and colors, then wet felt to form beads.

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