A Primer on Dyeing with Kool-Aid

Dyeing with Kool-Aid is a really fun and safe project for kids of all ages.  All you need is a few ingredients that can be found in your kitchen.  

       

you will need:

 1 or more 2 oz. skeins of natural ‘un-dyed’ wool yarn ~ or ~ 2 oz. roving (nearly white or light gray is best) ~ or ~ fat quarter wool fabric, water, white vinegar, a cooking pot (I prefer a large white enamel pot) and Kool-Aid unsweetened powder drink mix.  For the ‘sun method’, you’ll need a heat-resistant glass jar. You can mix 2 or more flavors and create unique colors, or you can use just 1 flavor, like cherry powder, for a bright red color.  The more Kool-Aid packets you use → the higher dye concentrate, the darker {more intense}  the final color.  To begin, use 2 – 4 packets of Kool-Aid for every 2 ounces of wool yarn or roving you want to dye. You can adjust the color by adding more or less packets ~ or ~ more or less fiber. You may also PLAY with special effects, by just sprinkling a packet over the fiber.

CAUTION:  Never use your cooking and eating utensils when dyeing with commercial dyes. Just like soapmaking, keep your dye ‘supplies’ separate from your kitchen-ware!

materials:  

2 ounce skein of wool yarn or roving, loosely tied in 4 places

2 – 4 (0.14 ounce) packages unsweetened Kool-Aid powder drink mix for every 2 ounces of wool; use more Kool-Aid for a darker color

¼ cup white vinegar for every 2 ounces of wool

directions:             

Before you begin, wind your yarn or roving into a coil (or hank). To keep it from tangling during the dyeing process, loosely tie the coil in 4 places with a piece of cotton string.

stove method:

1. Place the yarn or roving in a bowl of cold water and just let it soak for at least 30 minutes. Do not agitate or you will FELT your wool.

2. Stir together the Kool-Aid, ½ gallon of water for each 2 ounces of wool, and the vinegar in a pot large enough to cover the wool with water. Place the pre-soaked wool in the pot.

3. Now, bring the mixture to a low simmer for 15 to 30 minutes, until the water is clear. ‘Clear’ water means that the  wool has absorbed the color (dye). Turn off the pot and let it sit until it comes to room temperature.

4. Gently rinse the wool with room-temperature water until the water stays clear. Remember, do not agitate or you will felt the wool!

5. Hang the wool to air-dry.

sun method:

1. Place the yarn or roving in a bowl of cold water and let it soak for at least 30 minutes.

2. Stir together the Kool-Aid, ½ gallon of water for each 2 ounces of wool, and the vinegar in a glass jar large enough to cover the wool with water. Place the pre-soaked wool in the jar and screw on the lid.

3. Place the jar in a warm sunny spot and let it sit until the water is clear. Clear water means the wool has absorbed the color (dye).

4. Gently rinse the wool with room-temperature water until the water stays clear. Remember, do not agitate or you will felt the wool!

5. Hang the wool to air-dry.

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