How to Make Fabric Dye With Kool-Aid

Kool-Aid can be used to dye a variety of natural fibers.
Kool-Aid can be used to dye a variety of natural fibers. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Kool-Aid is a powdered beverage developed by Edwin Perkins in 1927 and purchased by General Foods in 1953. Kool-Aid is available in a wide range of flavors, each with a unique and vivid coloring. These colors appeal to children (and adults) when selecting a beverage, but the appeal doesn't end there. The vibrant colors contained in Kool-Aid can also be used to naturally dye fabric, yarn and other natural fibers.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric or natural fibers
  • Unsweetened powdered Kool-Aid
  • Vinegar

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Pour 4 cups of water into a pot and bring it to a boil on a stove.

Reduce the heat until the water reaches a steady simmer.

Add one to three packets of non-sweetened Kool-Aid. One packet will result in a light pastel color, two packets will result in a medium shade, and three packets will result in a darker hue.

Stir the Kool-Aid and water mixture until the Kool-Aid granules are completely dissolved.

Add 1/4 cup white vinegar to the mixture and stir.

Remove the dye mixture from the stove and place on a heat-resistant surface.

Use the Kool-Aid dye immediately. Once cooled, the dye loses its potency.

Tips & Warnings

  • Kool-Aid dye works best on natural fibers (wool, silk, pure cotton) and works poorly on artificial fibers (polyester, rayon, blends).
  • Soak fibers for 30 minutes in warm water and a tablespoon of dish-washing detergent to better prepare them to accept the dye.
  • Immerse your fibers completely in the Kool-Aid dye and stir often for an even distribution of color.
  • Modify the steps according to your dying needs. For example, if you require 8 cups of dye (rather than 4), use 8 cups of water, 1/2 cup of vinegar and two to six packets of Kool-Aid.
  • Use oven mitts when removing a pot of dye from the stove. The dye will be extremely hot and can cause burns.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area; vinegar fumes can be harsh and cause respiratory irritation.
  • Avoid getting Kool-Aid dye on your clothing, fingertips or work surfaces. Kool-Aid can leave stains.

References

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