Saturday, January 19, 2008

Koolaid Dying 101

Hello boys and girls! Today I'm going to teach you everything I know about dying yarn with koolaid and other acid dyes! First things first, here are a few tips.

1. Start with quality wool or other animal fiber yarn. This dying technique won't work on any man-made products. (In the pics shown here, I used Lion Brand Wool and Fisherman's Wool)

2. Make sure the yarn you want to dye is not actually white. I know this sounds kinda crazy but the bleaches the companies use to make white yarn WHITE wont take these types of dyes we are trying today. Try to get off-white/natural/bare yarn.

3. The cheaper the koolaid, the better the color. Trust me on this....I've tried about a million kinds of koolaids and other food type dyes and it seems the cheapie stuff works the best and has the best colors overall. So break out tha Flavoraide!!

4. Make sure you have all your supplies in one place. Don't worry I'll tell you everything you need to start dying.

Supplies:

1. Latex Gloves (unless you like purple palms.)

2. Microwave safe bowls

3. One 5-gallon bucket

4. A swift (I've also used the back of a dining room chair to wind up yarn into 50gram-ish hanks.)

5. Koolaid (or any kind of acid drink mix like that. DO NOT use the kind with the sugar already added. So Crystal Lite won't work. I've also used Wilton's Food Coloring. You know the kind they use to dye icing on cakes? That kind. You can find it in most craft stores that sell cake supplies. More on that later.)

6. Yarn (Duh.)



Now in this picture you can see how I wound up the yarn into hanks. I just took half a skein of the Lion Brand and roughly measured 50 grams.




Now here I put the yarn into the 5-gallon bucket and covered it with lukewarm/cool water. (You don't want the water to be too warm and you don't want to play around with it too much either cause you might accidently felt it. Don't even ASK me how I know. LOL) It seems to me I read somewhere that the yarn will "bloom" when wet and I wanted the fibers to be as opened as possible to take in all the dye. The more "open" or "bloomed" the yarn the more saturated the colors will be. At least in my experience. If you want softer colors, you can skip this step.



In this picture, I've mixed the koolaid and put the yarn into the bowl to soak up the dye. Now if you are using koolaid, I recommend 1 package of koolaid for every 50 grams of yarn. If you wanna dye more than that, you gonna need alot more koolaid. Also, koolaid is already pretty acidic so you don't need to add anything to the koolaid except enough water to cover the yarn. However, if you are using food coloring such as Wilton's, you will want to add a splash of distilled white vinager to the dye bath (thats the liquid you mixed the koolaid/dye into) to make it more acidic. To tell the truth, I'm not sure why that works cause me no likey the science but it does, so do it. Anyway, once you have the bloomed yarn into the dye bath its time to head to the microwave because you will want to set the color into the yarn using heat. Now here comes the tricky part. You don't want to heat it so much you end up with felt but you also want to heat it enough to set the colors. You don't want to get your hand-dyed scarf wet and have koolaid colors running down your back. Right? Right. So head to the microwave and start off zapping your yarn at 2 minute intervals until the water around the yarn is clear. Once that happens, it's done. Repeat the steps with as many wacky colors of koolaid you can think of.







Hang the yarn up somewhere it can drip (I hung mine over the kitchen sink) dry and in about 24 hours you'll have hand dyed yarn. Wind the yarn into hanks and admire your beautiful creations!

Here are a few more pics of the yarn I've dyed.




This was dyed with Black Cherry Koolaid.




This was Wilton's Cornflower Blue dye.



Here are some finished skeins.

3 comments:

Kitty said...

Very cool! u make it sound so easy. but what do u mean by the water will b clear? so litterally it will suck up ALL the color? i think i need a before and after pic! i'm such a retard. lol

Kitty said...

oh and i had no idea u made all those pretty multicolored hanks! wow what talent! how'd u do that?

Sinn-no-men said...

The dye will be soaked up into the yarn and the water will be pretty much clear! I'll take more pics and show ya. I made the mutilcolored hanks by dipping one end of the yarn in one color and then the other in another color. Then I wrapped it in saran wrap (I wasnt sure if I just chucked it into the microwave if I would end up dying the microwave...LOL) and zapped it for a few minutes.