How to Color & Paint Wool Hats

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Many people wear wool because of its warmth. Even when wet, wool holds in body heat and keeps the body somewhat dry. It is also durable, resisting rips and tears so long as it is cared for properly. Never machine-dry wool clothing to prevent shrinkage. You should also wear something underneath wool sweaters to prevent light skin irritation. Those severely allergic to wool should not wear it. Most wool today is factory-dyed. Those who spin their own yarn or purposely buy natural varieties have the option of white, black and brown wool. However, dyeing wool at home is a simple process that requires very few supplies. Most of the supplies are household items; those that aren’t are inexpensive and easy to find. You can even color and paint plain yarn already knitted into hats and other clothing.

Things You'll Need

  • Unsweetened Kool-Aid packets
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Wooden spoons
  • Wool hat
  • Bowls
  • Paintbrushes
  • Cellophane
  • Hair dryer
  • Tape

Gather enough bowls to mix all the colors you want and one to put inside the hat. When wool is wet, it should be laid out flat to dry or placed on something to shape it so it doesn’t shrink or change shape. Make sure the bowl inside the hat fits well but doesn’t stretch the hat, either; it may stay stretched and be too big.

Mix two to five colors by stirring together half a cup of water, a tablespoon of vinegar and one color of Kool-Aid per bowl. The more Kool-Aid you add to each bowl, the darker the color will be. Half to two-thirds of a packet should make vibrant primary colors.

Soak a stiff-bristled or sponge paintbrush in one color. Dab the color onto the hat, starting with the lowest part of the hat. Press the brush into the wool, soaking the fibers as much as you can. Work upward the same way, alternating colors as you go. To make bleeding colors look natural, choose colors that will blend, like red and yellow, yellow and blue, or blue and red. Any bleeding color will make stripes.

Lift the hat from the bowl, and turn it inside out. Brush any uncolored fibers with dye that matches the stripes on the outside of the hat. This will help brighten the outside colors. Turn the hat right-side out again and wrap it in cellophane, still on the bowl. Tape the cellophane down inside the bowl so the whole hat is covered.

Turn a hair dryer on medium heat, and heat the cellophane. Start at the top, and work your way to the bottom until all the wet droplets inside the cellophane evaporate. Remove the cellophane, and touch the hat; if it is dry to the touch, turn it inside out, and dry the inside, too. If not, put the cellophane back on, and heat it until it is dry. Leave it on the bowl until it is cool to the touch.

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