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Kool-Aid Yarn

Written by Larissa Gregorin


Posted on June 23 2018

I don't know what the impetus was for me wanting to dye yarn, but once I got the idea in my head, it happened. I bought some undyed yarn and first wanted to try Kool-Aid as a dye. I wasn't sure I wanted to commit to buying a whole bunch of yarn dye if the whole process sucked (it didn't). I'm designing a hat based on the Legend of Zelda video game for my husband and figured I could use those colors to try out some dyeing. From my limited research, it seemed like about 4 packets of Kool-Aid per 100g skein of yarn would do the trick.

I bought the 9 colors of Kool-Aid packets that my grocery store had, dissolved them in some water, and let a piece of yarn soak in them overnight to get an idea of the colors.

I was a bit fooled by my scrap of yarn overnight soak, and expected relatively vibrant colors. So, I attempted 4 solid colors:

  • Yellow - 3 packets of Lemonade and 1/2 of a packet of Orange.
  • Green - 3 packets of Lemonade and 1/2 of a packet of Mixed Berry.
  • Blue - 3 packets of Mixed Berry and 1/2 of a packet of Grape.
  • Red - 1 packet each of Hawaiian Punch, Black Cherry, Cherry, and Orange.

Once I decided which colors I would use & blend, I bought more and got to work. First, the yarn took a bath in some Dr. Bronner's soap to get any excess oils out of it, and to make sure it was soaked throughout to guide dye-laden water into the fibers.

Yarn was rinsed and added to a pot with enough water to cover it and the 4 packets of Kool-Aid. Brought to a temperature below simmering until the water turned clear. Let cool. Rinse.

I did this process with the other colors. I was lulled into a false sense of vibrancy from doing the red first.

As you can see above, the yellow turned out pale creamsicle orange, and the blue & green turned out very pale.

The red, however, turned out adequately saturated!

I honestly was mostly just curious if this would work, and it did. I had already decided that I wanted to get a small starter pack of heavy metal-free acid dyes once I dyed the first one, so I wasn't concerned about re-dyeing those pale skeins.

I also bought some extra packets for Scottie to play with. We did 2 experiments:

  1. We used some damp yarn in a casserole dish with some paper towel paint brushes.

[caption id="attachment_394" align="aligncenter" width="768"] Added a bit more water and cooked this covered on the stove until the water was clear. Looks like a mess, but wait for it...[/caption] [caption id="attachment_425" align="aligncenter" width="436"] Ta-da! Scottie is an artist.[/caption]

2. Then we did a speckle experiment. Damp yarn, Kool-Aid powder, a glass of water, and a fork. We wrapped it up in cling wrap and steamed it in a pot for 30-45 min.

[caption id="attachment_397" align="aligncenter" width="768"] Again, looks hella messy...[/caption] [caption id="attachment_429" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Obsessed.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_426" align="aligncenter" width="768"] Being knit into a hat (in low light).[/caption]

So obviously, you can get some really cool yarn from Kool-Aid, but it for the most part needs to be kind of a lot of packets.

The skeins below are the first 4 that I tried to dye with Kool-Aid. I re-dyed all but the red one with acid dye.

I think you'll be seeing a lot more dyeing from me in the future. I am having WAY TOO MUCH FUN OMG.



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