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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.