Monday, February 21, 2011

Dye wool With Kool-Aid - Kids can do it!

Heavens to Betsy


Are the children home for Febuary break and

All Cooped Up With Nothing To Do?
When you go to the Grocery store be sure to pick up some
Kool-Aid can be used (safely) to dye wool.

Although you can use it to dye other fabrics such as cotton, Wool takes dyes easier.

This process is safe, eco friendly, requires no special equiptment and because Kool-Aid is a food dye, It will not contaminate any of your kitchen spoons or pots.

You can safely expect Cherry will give red, Grape will give Purple, Orange will produce Orange, Lemonade to produce a yellow, Blue Rasberry for a Blue and so on. For A more subtle look try overdying other colors than just white or Natural. If you place a blue over a yellow, The result should be green. A Blue over a red should produce a Purple. A Red dye over a yellow will give an Orange.

~ALL dyes are subject to different results due to a variety of reasons ( My water is different from someones in say Texas, The Climate, The fabric and so on)

So if your planning a project and it all needs to be the same color, My suggestion would be to do it all at one time.
~Heavens to Betsy Natural for overdying~

If you want quick results and are comfortable with using the oven or stove top skip down to Stove/Oven method

For a mottled or tie dye effect, Ignore this first step
Soak your wool for a good 20 minutes in cool water - This will help the fibers take the dye quicker and more evenly.
While you are doing this, Now may be a good time to lay newspaper or old sheets around your work area/Counter just in case and have the wee ones change into some play clothes.
Gathering your Dyes:

I am going to take you through a few different options, With heat and without.

The amount of Kool-Aid needed is subject to how much fabric you are intending to use, The process you choose and the fabric. Generally speaking~ I would say one package for a quarter yard. You can also use food coloring to add more pop! If you would like.
~Adding white vinegar to your mixture of water and Kool-Aid will help the fabric take the dye.~
Shameless plug for our Natural, Overdyeing wool:

Without Heat (Sunshine method)

In a large plastic ziploc baggie add water and Kool-Aid - Enough to cover your fabric ( you can also add a small amount of white vinegar to help the fabric take the dye). Add fabric then zip it closed. Play squish the fabric until you are afraid the bag is going to rip :-) Place in the sunshine for several hours (depends on how much sunshine you are getting that day and how hot it is).

Allow the bag and wool to cool, Then Rinse in cool water and remove excess water. Air dry or place in the dryer ( If you are fearless, Although the dye should be completly set, I wouldn't put it in with your favorite shirt ).

Easter egg / Tie dye method:

Place water, Kool-Aid and a good splash of white vinegar in a few dishes, Containers, Pots whatever you have available. Dip dishes make an excellent choice as you can have small amount of different dyes in each section and rotate the fabric.

Arrange the fabric so that the some of the wool is in one container and the rest in a different container. Rotate the wool to get all fabric saturated during the course of the day.

When you are happy with the results, Rinse the wool with cool water and dry or to further "set" your dye you can place the wool into the stove for 10 - 15 minutes on 150-200 degrees.

Stove/Oven method
two different methods:

Place your Kool-Aid, Water and some vinegar into a saucepan if using the stovetop or a pan if using the oven.

~Again, There is no exact formula it is based on how much fabric, What type of fabric and how much mottling you desire. The fabric is going to be more mottled if the water doesn't cover it all.~

Turn on the heat! and be amazed at how you can see your wool becoming more gorgeous! Your water will become clearer as the wool soaks it up.

Fiddle with your fabric using a long wooden spoon, So that it takes on the desired color and effect. Then Carefully rinse your wool with cool water and dry.


Artists beware, May be addictive!
Pre-Heat oven to 200-250 degrees. Grab a pan that is oven safe and has seen better days.

Fill a few different measuring glasses, dishes or glasses with your different color Kool-Aid dyes ( Kool-Aid, Water, small amount of Vinegar).

Place your wool into your oven pan. You can line the pan with foil if you must.

Pour your dyes onto your wool making patterns and mottling of your choice ( be creative).

"Cook" wool for 15-20 minutes,Then rinse and dry!

Heavens to Betsy Natural


Our Ancestors ( and my grandma ) used to use Beets, Carrots, Walnuts, Avacodos and berries to dye fabrics. Grandma ( Anne ) filled Mayonaise jars with dyes she made from natural foods and would save them to use at a later date.


NancyB said...

I don't have any children here, but I am anxious to try this method. It will be a good, safe way for me to get used to dyeing my own wool. I bought a large, deep electric fry pan specifically for dyeing projects. Would I set the temperature for 250° same as for the oven or higher? Also, this is probably a dumb question, but would I line dry or put in the dryer? Thanks for the inspiration!

Betsy said...

Hi Nancy!

I am not sure what temp would be accurate for an electric fry pan. The idea is to heat the wool, As the heat helps the dye process. As with water flowers, They need water but too much will hurt them. My best advise would be to put it at a lower temp. for longer time until you get to "know" the electric fry pan better. That way you don't inadvertantly ruin any cloth. I know some women who keep it on very! low temps overnight.

There are never any dumb questions here :) and The question on how to wash and dry wool is the number one question we get asked
- It has for a long time been thought of as wool being dry clean only because of purchasing unwashed clothing from dept.
stores, I dont blame Ralph Lauren for not wanting to wash all that wool!.-
You can either line dry it or you can throw the wool into your dryer with an old towel on a medium setting ( the old towel will catch any dye that didn't quite take plus help with fluffing the wool without felting it)
Happy Crafting, We would love to see pictures of your crafting on our Flickr page!

Michelle~Sugar House Creations said...

I've done this with wool yarn and it was fun! I only got bright colors, so I might try over-dying to see what happens. I did it about six years ago, but, like any good crafter, I still have it all hidden away in my craft room. :)

Judy Narde said...

I need to dye a wool blazer. Would it also work to place the koolaid, vinegar, and water in a 5 gallon bucket and perhaps stretch plastic wrap over the bucket and leave in the sun?