Easy dye project to use on protein fiber including wool and silk. Use your microwave and in a matter of minutes have art ready fiber for felting, weaving, spinning-project ready!
This is so easy! It just couldn't be any easier! If you have some wool or silk fiber you want to color-this is the way to go! All you need is simple equipment you probably already have in your kitchen and some protein fiber. I like using the powdered drink mix as dyes. They work well, have strong, vibrant colors. Inexpensive to use and are readily available. Safe to use in your own kitchen cookware. Requires no special additions or equipment. Easter egg dyes can also be used.
Step 1: Easier than pie!
Supplies you need-Microwave safe bowl(s), Colander, strainer or salad spinner, Wooden skewer, Rubber gloves (optional), Mesh laundry bag, Unsweetened powdered drink mix in desired color(s), or Easter egg dye, Microwave, Drying rack, Protein fiber- wool or silk fiber
Gather your supplies. Add powdered drink mix to hot water in microwave safe bowl I use Pyrex. Stir to dissolve with skewer. Use 1-2 packets of powered drink mix in desired color, depending on amount of wool used and desired color saturation. Moisten wool with hot water under faucet before adding to dye bath. Squeeze out excess water and push down into dye bath with skewer or hand protected with rubber glove. Or dye your fingertips like I have done!
Step 2: Zap On High!
Microwave on high. Cook at 2 minute intervals for 6-8 minutes for 2 quart bowl or until all the color is absorbed into the fiber. Here I've moved the wool aside in the bowl so you can see that the water is clear as the wool has taken up all the color. This is exactly what I want to happen! The heat of the water bonds the color to the fiber making it colorfast. It won't fade with washings. This is a permanent dye. Use hot pads to remove from microwave. Be careful! It gets really hot! Use the skewer to push the wool back into the water as it cooks, if needed, stirring minimally. Agitation of the fiber will cause felting at this stage. You can also place a microwave safe saucer on top of the fiber to submerge fiber, if needed.
Step 3: Cool, rinse, spin dry
Let cool to room temperature or strain immediately in a colander over the sink. I have done it both ways, each work. Rinse with warm water.
Put the strained, wet wool in a mesh drawstring laundry sack or pillow case securely closed and spin dry further in the washing machine before laying out to dry completely on a rack. I use an old baby gate for a rack over the bathtub. It works like a charm! The wool dries a lot faster if you spin out the excess water in the washing machine before laying out to dry. Remember to use the end spin cycle only. If you are dyeing small batches, you can use a salad spinner to get more moisture out too.
Step 4: Don't Blink, you'll miss it!
Now see? I was right! That couldn't be any easier! You will be so pleased with the results. I use small batches to dye individual pieces I have cut out of felted sweaters with great results. You can use this method to dye silk, skein wool, socks, sweaters or any protein fiber that can fit in the microwave. When I cut out pieces to dye in the microwave from recycled wool felted sweaters, the process gives the wool a more compact & fuzzy texture. It's very lovely. The idea is to experiment and have fun!
Step 5: Project complete
Great for wet or dry felting, spinning, weaving making stuff for babies, kids, moms, dads, dogs, cats-anyone that likes this kind of thing! They juggle great & are easy enough on lamps & furniture to play with indoors. Wool's wonderful properties make it a very safe material especially for asthmatic or allergic children. Wool doesn't harbor mites like other stuffed toys/animals can. Also wool absorbs heat as it is held, which is a comfort & welcoming-especially in a treasured doll or stuffed animal. Shown here are needle felted wool beads. Delicious! (Not for human consumption).