How to Dye Wool Yarn with Kool-Aid

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How to Dye Wool Yarn with Kool-Aid
Dave Johnson

Why dye yarn with Kool-Aid? Because you can. And because Kool-Aid is inexpensive, non-toxic, and easy to find. Plus, the colors are so pretty. Kids love to help with projects like this, and when you're using Kool-Aid, there's no reason they shouldn't join the fun.

Materials & Supplies
Dave Johnson

Materials & Supplies

You need unsweetened Kool-Aid, boiling water, and wool yarn – preferably undyed, 100% wool, but at least 70% wool. This dyeing method does not work with cotton or acrylic yarn. When buying Kool-Aid, remember that the color of the package does not always match the color of the powder. Refer to the color in the glass the Kool-Aid Man is holding. That's the color in the package.

Make Loose Hanks
Dave Johnson

Make Loose Hanks

Wind the yarn into loose hanks and tie them very loosely with small pieces of yarn. Make your ties tight enough to hold the hank in place, but leave plenty of room for dye to surround the yarn. We used cotton yarn to tie the hank so you could see the difference between wool and cotton yarn. Check out Slide 7 to see how little dye cotton yarn absorbed.

Soak the Yarn
Dave Johnson

Soak the Yarn

Add 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap to several cups of warm water. To dye solid colors, soak the yarn for 20 minutes. If you want to create variegated yarn (yarn with a variety of shades), soak the yarn for 5 to 10 minutes. (The more thoroughly soaked the yarn is, the more consistently it will absorb the dye.) When the time is up, gently squeeze excess water from the yarn. It should be very wet but not dripping.

Make Kool-Aid Solution
Dave Johnson

Make Kool-Aid Solution

Pour the Kool-Aid into a glass baking dish; add about 1 cup of boiling water.

Place Yarn in Solution
Dave Johnson

Place Yarn in Solution

Place the yarn in the dish. To create a solid color, submerge all the yarn in the Kool-Aid solution. If you want variegated color, leave part of the yarn uncovered and spoon a little bit of solution over the exposed yarn. Using tongs, turn the yarn over after a minute or two.

Rinse and Dry
Dave Johnson

Rinse and Dry

Let the yarn sit until it is cool enough to handle. It should absorb most of the dye, leaving the remaining water almost clear. Rinse the yarn in warm water and roll in a towel to squeeze out the excess water. Set the yarn out to dry.

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