I don’t know what the impetus was for me wanting to dye yarn, but once I got the idea in my head, it happened. I bought some undyed yarn and first wanted to try Kool-Aid as a dye. I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to buying a whole bunch of yarn dye if the whole process sucked (it didn’t). I’m designing a hat based on the Legend of Zelda video game for my husband and figured I could use those colors to try out some dyeing. From my limited research, it seemed like about 4 packets of Kool-Aid per 100g skein of yarn would do the trick.
I bought the 9 colors of Kool-Aid packets that my grocery store had, dissolved them in some water, and let a piece of yarn soak in them overnight to get an idea of the colors.
I was a bit fooled by my scrap of yarn overnight soak, and expected relatively vibrant colors. So, I attempted 4 solid colors:
- Yellow – 3 packets of Lemonade and 1/2 of a packet of Orange.
- Green – 3 packets of Lemonade and 1/2 of a packet of Mixed Berry.
- Blue – 3 packets of Mixed Berry and 1/2 of a packet of Grape.
- Red – 1 packet each of Hawaiian Punch, Black Cherry, Cherry, and Orange.
Once I decided which colors I would use & blend, I bought more and got to work. First, the yarn took a bath in some Dr. Bronner’s soap to get any excess oils out of it, and to make sure it was soaked throughout to guide dye-laden water into the fibers.
Yarn was rinsed and added to a pot with enough water to cover it and the 4 packets of Kool-Aid. Brought to a temperature below simmering until the water turned clear. Let cool. Rinse.
I did this process with the other colors. I was lulled into a false sense of vibrancy from doing the red first.
As you can see above, the yellow turned out pale creamsicle orange, and the blue & green turned out very pale.
The red, however, turned out adequately saturated!
I honestly was mostly just curious if this would work, and it did. I had already decided that I wanted to get a small starter pack of heavy metal-free acid dyes once I dyed the first one, so I wasn’t concerned about re-dyeing those pale skeins.
I also bought some extra packets for Scottie to play with. We did 2 experiments:
- We used some damp yarn in a casserole dish with some paper towel paint brushes.
2. Then we did a speckle experiment. Damp yarn, Kool-Aid powder, a glass of water, and a fork. We wrapped it up in cling wrap and steamed it in a pot for 30-45 min.
So obviously, you can get some really cool yarn from Kool-Aid, but it for the most part needs to be kind of a lot of packets.
The skeins below are the first 4 that I tried to dye with Kool-Aid. I re-dyed all but the red one with acid dye.
I think you’ll be seeing a lot more dyeing from me in the future. I am having WAY TOO MUCH FUN OMG.