Detail from "Rain Dance," an original quilt by Sherrie Spangler

Monday, June 12, 2017

Dyeing wool with Kool-Aid

Pam and her wool dyed with Kool-Aid.
Today at our Woolies meeting, our fearless leader, Pam, dyed up a batch of wool with Kool-Aid in her kitchen. The colors were so luscious they made our mouths water, and it was so quick and simple!

Here's how:

1. Soak 100% wool (or silk or other animal fibers) in hot water until saturated.

2. Dissolve a package of unsweetened Kool-Aid in hot water either on the stove or in a crock pot. (You can experiment with different amounts and combinations of colors.)

3. Squeeze out fabric (we used about a quarter of a yard or less at a time) and immerse it in the hot Kool-Aid mixture. Stir intermittently until the fabric has absorbed all of the dye and the water is clear or milky -- depends on the color. The more you stir, the more even the color will be. Stir less for a mottled look.

4. Remove wool from hot water and plunge into a bowl of cold water. 

5. Rinse in cold water with one drop of dish detergent until rinse water is clear. 

6. Squeeze out and toss in hot dryer with an old towel. It's okay to dry several different colors together without worrying about the color bleeding.

Here are the results, shown with the Kool-Aid colors that were used.

Dyed first with blue, then a little lemon-lime was added.

Ideally, you can find light-colored wool garments for cheap at thrift stores. Cut them apart, wash in hot water and dry on high and then go to town with the Kool-Aid! 

If you're interested in seeing what other fiber artists are up to this week, check out Nina Marie's Off-the-Wall Friday: interconnected-off-wall-friday.html

Have a colorful day!


JudyC said...

Great writeup and pictures. Thanks for documenting for us. Might be a nice article if newsletter if you wouldn't mind sharing. We can talk about it.

ES said...

I'm English so I've got an idea of what these packets of kool-aid are for (making a drink?!) but it realy makes my mind bogle that people drink this stuff that can dye fabric such vivid colours! Does it taste nice?!!

Sherrie Spangler said...

ES -- In answer to your question: You have to add tons of sugar to the Kool-Aid mix and then it tastes sort of fruity. It's an awful thing to put in your body, but great for dyeing fabric!

Robbie said...

You are correct...the colors are delicious!!!

Donna said...

This was a super fun day. Pam is a great teacher. This is a wonderful way to get some vibrant colored wool at a reasonable price.

Kaja said...

Well I wouldn't want to drink it, but the colours are fantastic! Will they fade, do you think?

The Inside Stori said...

Gosh, I had no idea one could achieve such great color with Kool-Aid.....thank you for such a comprehensive post!

Norma Schlager said...

Yummy colors! Thanks for sharing.

Laura McGrath said...

The koolaid colors fade, they don't last. Lots of people who dye wool for rug hooking have found this out the hard way.

Madalene Axford Murphy said...

What bright, happy colors! Too bad they fade but they are great eye candy while they last.

Jan Roys said...

The colors are beautiful. Was your intent to make felted wool? That is what happens when you go directly from hot water to cold water with wool; it shocks the fibers and shrink the wool.

Sherrie Spangler said...

Jan -- It was already felted. Since I'm using it for wool appliqué the felting is desired.