An earlier version of this tutorial was previously published on Think Crafts!
Want to make a unique yarn in your favorite color? Or want to try hand painting to produce a one of a kind yarn? This tutorial is a great step into entering the wonderful world of home yarn dyeing. It’s fun and a great summer project!
Natural fiber yarn – ideally wool yarn or roving (Cotton yarn works well with Jacquard dyes but not with Kool-Aid)
Jacquard Procion MX Dye
Buckets, rice steamer, pots, wooden spoons (Once you use them for dyeing they are not safe for food preparation.)
Dye Instructions (if applicable)
Towels and sponges for clean up
This is a messy project so plan ahead. A friend and I covered her work table with garbage bags for easy clean up. Wear rubber gloves and a face mask to protect yourself.
Wind your yarn into skeins beforehand. Tie them with scrap yarn to minimize tangles. Acrylic yarn works best as it won’t take up the dye.
Kool-Aid dyeing is a lot of fun! We picked up a handful of fun flavors. We heated up some water on the stove. We used thrift store pots-they’re cheap and didn’t ruin our food safe cookware. How much water? How many packets? This is the finicky part since it’s so subjective. It really depends on how much yarn you’re dyeing and what shade of color you want. We added enough water to completely submerge our skeins. To get the desired color we added more Kool-Aid packets until the color we wanted was achieved. Don’t add sugar. We bought a dozen packets of each color.
Soak the yarn until it’s saturated. We soaked our yarn for 30 minutes in hot water. Rinse in cool water until water runs clear. The Kool Aid smell fades over time.
We also tried handpainting yarn.
For this we mixed up small batches of Jacquard Dye. (Instructions are on the jar.) We stretched out plastic wrap and laid out the skeins on top. Using the sponge brushes we painted the yarn. Lift up the yarn to see if you need to turn it over to paint the other side. Firmly push the sponge onto the yarn to make sure the color saturates completely. This will prevent the need for a second coat.
After painting we rolled up the yarn in the plastic wrap. Then we steamed them in the rice steamer for 30 minutes. Afterward we rinsed with cool water and hung up the skeins to dry.
Our Kool-Aid yarn turned out beautifully!
Our handpainted yarn turned out lovely as well.
The yarn at the top of this post was also handpainted.