Dye Wool with Kool Aid for a Gradient Pattern

Posted by on


This tutorial will show you how to dye a 200-yard skein of plain wool to have a long, slow gradient. All materials are easy to find in stores and non-toxic.
You will need:
2-3 packets of Kool-Aid in your favorite color.
A skein of 100% wool (I use Paton's classic wool)
A pot
A stove
A spoon or tongs
Rubber gloves, unless you don't mind chromatic fingertips.

Step 1

Before you start, take a look at the fiber content of your yarn, it needs to be 100% wool for the Kool-Aid color to set.
Take your wool and roll it into a ball. Don't wrap loosely, make sure there is some tension on the yarn as you wrap.

Step 2

Put about 1.5" of water into your pot and add a packet of Kool-Aid. Heat the mixture on the stove until it is steaming.
Add the ball of yarn to the hot pot. Use the spoon or your hands to move the ball around and to cover all sides with dye. Don't burn yourself.
You'll know when to take the yarn out of the pot because the color will be sucked out of the liquid and into the fibers. The Kool-Aid water will be almost totally clear.

Step 3

Take the ball to the sink and run water over it until the entire ball is soaked.

Step 4

Fill the pot again, this time with 3" of water and 1 pack of kool aid. Heat the pot until the liquid begins to steam.
Put the wet ball of yarn into the pot. This time, because the ball is wet, the capillary action of the wet yarn will draw the dye deeper into the ball.
Make sure to roll the ball around and cover every side with dye. When you feel you are done, take the yarn out of the pot and rinse it under cold water.

Step 5

This time, when you rinse the yarn, you will notice that the color is much darker.
Let the ball sit for a while in cool water, it might feel cold on the outside, but the core takes a longer time to cool down.

Step 6

After 10-15 minutes you can wind the ball into a skein. As you get to the center of the ball, the color will gradually become lighter.
Take the skein and wrap it in a towel to take out some of the moisture.

Step 7

When the yarn is dry, you can use it to make whatever you want. The color will fade if you wash the yarn vigorously (as you would when felting) or if you leave it in direct sunlight for a long time.
If you're feeling adventurous, you can use the same process to dye other fibers by using Rit dye instead of Kool-Aid. It comes in a lot more colors, but is a little bit more toxic and requires an extra step: Before the final rinse, heat the ball of yarn in a microwave for 3 minutes. This extra step will heat set the dye.
There are a lot of projects that you can do with this yarn. One skein hats and scarves are especially good at showing the unusual color effect.

Log-in to Post a Comment: Craftfoxes shadow Google shadow


(1 comment)