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Kool-Aid Yarn Dying

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I just have to say right off the bat - my favorite thing about this yarn dying activity was that I did it with my son! It was easy and safe - no fumes/toxins and I didn't even have to use any hot appliances! All I needed was some yarn, kool-aid, water, a freezer, and a nice sunny day!

Dying yarn has been something I've wanted to do this year and I'm thrilled I finally got to be able to do it. I found this awesome tutorial in the winter months and I knew it was going to be a summer activity for my son and I. You can find that tutorial here: http://maiyamayhem.blogspot.com/2011/07/kool-aid-popsicle-dyeing.html
**She also has an additional post with tips so be sure to read both posts before you start!!**


My yarn didn't come out exactly the way I planned. I was anticipating a nice ombre effect but ended up with a tie dye effect, which in my perspective is still totally awesome! I'm really pleased with the results. I could've have added more kool-aid to completely cover the yarn in color, but like I said - the tie-dye is really unique and I think it will work up beautifully!


I worked up a small swatch to see how it would work up, and it looks amazing!! I plan on making my son a hat with this and if I have enough left over, maybe something for myself to match!

Notes for next time:


  • Use more kool-aid! I had 16 frozen ice cubes of kool-aid, but that wasn't enough for the 100grams of wool I had. After melting the cubes on the yarn, I had to add two more packets of kool-aid with about 6 ounces of water. As you can see, that still didn't cover the yarn. If you are dying with 100grams - definitely aim for AT LEAST two trays full of kool-aid cubes if not more.
After the ice cubes melted.

I flipped it and mixed it around a bit but the dye was already set into the wool. Lots of white left!

I mixed two additional packs of kool-aid, one of each color, and poured onto spots that I thought needed more color without saturating all of the yarn to keep some white and to keep that tie-dye effect.


  • Carefully place yarn when flipping and don't mix it up too much (like I did two pictures up). I had a bunch of tangles after I got my yarn out of the pan and it wasn't very fun to untangle the whole thing.
  • Don't stress! This was a really fun and easy project. I couldn't have messed it up if I tried! Although I didn't have enough kool-aid cubes and a lot of the yarn was white, I just mixed up some more kool-aid (didn't bother to freeze it) and poured it on the spots I thought it needed some color. No sweat! It still turned out great :)

I encourage everyone to try this method if you have ever wanted to dabble into yarn dying!

Pros:

  • Kool-aid is so cheap (about 25 cents a pack) and I only used 6 packs ($1.50 worth).
  • There's no fumes to worry about! With this method, nothing you use is toxic or hazardous (it actually smells delicious.) Join your kids on in the fun!
  • Using only the sun to help set the dye means no oven or stove-top needed! Another reason to get your kids to join in on the fun! Just set cover it in the sun and forget it for a little while! Covering the pan with plastic helps the yarn get nice and toasty (plus I noticed a lot of bugs were trying to get in on the sweet smelling yarn).


Cons:

  • This isn't really a con, but I had trouble finding a variety of different color kool-aids in my store. The one store I went to only had grape and fruit punch (purple and green) and the next store I went to additionally had a green apple (green). I was hoping to get some blue, but that will have to wait for next time!
  • This method can ONLY be used with natural fibers. No cotton or acrylic will work with this. Wool, alpaca, silk, ANY natural fiber will work with kool-aid. This is a bit of a con for me because I know there are many out there that aren't able to wear wool for allergy reasons. If I wear wool items for too long, my skin tends to get itchy - but that doesn't mean I can't get a little bit of wear about of them. ;)


Everything you need to know how to dye with kool-aid is in this tutorial: http://maiyamayhem.blogspot.com/2011/07/kool-aid-popsicle-dyeing.html
I purchased my bare yarn from Knit Picks at a good price. I chose a bulky weight so I could make my son a hat for the warmer months. They also have other weighted yarns to choose from that are ready to dye. I additionally purchased a worsted weighted yarn to dye later on.

This is the specific yarn I got pictured in this post: Bare Swish Bulky Yarn

You can browse all their bare yarns in different weights here.

1 comment

  1. Just have to say how much I enjoyed this article! Like you, I have been wanting to try yarn dying but have been too intimidated to make the leap. I have also been 'seeking' a fun crochet related activity I can do with my two boys (ages 2 and 4). They are always interested in my WIPs but not quite old enough to learn. This seems like it might be the perfect age appropriate introduction. Thank you very much for sharing. Best Regards!

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