Sunday, January 6, 2013

How to dye wool with Kool Aid

We all know Kool Aid has got to be good for something besides being laden with sugars and dyes that color a child's upper lip semi permanently. Here's a way to use the massive amount of dye in a kool aid packet to your advantage. Use it as an inexpensive wool dye!

Be sure to tease out the locks and maybe even card your wool before dyeing.  This way, the dye will reach the fibers uniformly.  Washing is not necessary, though recommended because it helps the dye get to the fiber more easily.
Here’s what you need to do.  

*Soak the wool in warm water.   Make sure it is saturated. Drain, rinse in water of same temperature, being careful not to agitate the fiber.  This can lead to felting.
*Pour enough water of the same temperature into a microwavable dish or a pan if you plan to do this on the stove.
*Add about 3 or 4 tablespoons of vinegar to the water. This will make the solution acidic, and will help to open up the wool fibers to accept the dye.

*Pour all 3 Kool-Aid packets in the vinegar-water solution.  

*Add the wool to the vinegar water solution, gently pressing down with a metal spoon or rubber spatula.  If you use your fingers, you will dye your fingers.

*The next part MUST be done very carefully.  No questions about it.  The water gets very hot and can burn you.

Put your bowl in the microwave or pan on the stove top.  Microwave or bring to simmer for 5 minutes.  Check to see if the water is getting clearer.  This means the wool is soaking up the Kool Aid dye.  Check the color of your wool by lifting with a spoon or fork and draining.  If you like the color, you may remove from the solution and cool a little, then rinse with warm water.  

You can see that the wool has taken up the dye from the water
and all that is left is the dirt from the fiber.
If the wool is not dark enough microwave 5 minutes more, or simmer 5 minutes longer.  Keep this up till the wool is the color you like.  You will get pastel colors.  You should not cook longer than 15 minutes, and you should always be careful not to agitate your wool, because this can lead to felting.  Also, be sure the temperature of your rinse water is always the same as the solution you are removing your wool from.

Allow your wool to dry in a well ventilated place on a cookie cooling rack or other non-rusting item until dry, then use for spinning felting or whatever your plan it. Kool Aid can also be used to dye wool yarn as well!

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