Picture of Shaded Yarn Skein - Dyed With Kool-Aid
This is an easy way to hand-dye yarn in colors that gradually change shades across the entire screen.  As a bonus, it's cheap and safe - because you're dyeing with Kool-Aid.  You can pick up your dyestuff at any grocery store, and everything is food-safe, so there's no need to have separate utensils just for dyeing.

I've entered this Instructable in the Fiber Arts Contest.  If you like it, I'd appreciate your vote!
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Step 1: Supplies & Equipment

Picture of Supplies & Equipment
To dye yarn with Kool-Aid, you'll need yarn and Kool-Aid.

100% wool is the best yarn to use.  Feel free to experiment with other natural fibers.  Synthetic fibers generally don't take dye very well.

You can use any powdered drink mix, but make sure it's unsweetened powdered drink mix.  When you're buying Kool-Aid, look at the color of the glass Kool-Aid Man is holding - not the Man himself or the packet - to know what color the drink mix will be.  A reference photo of yarns dyed with Kool-Aid is available from, here.

Most guidelines on dyeing with Kool-Aid will recommend 1 packet of Kool-Aid for every ounce of yarn.  I usually use a lot more - here I have 3 packets of lemonade (yellow), and 4 of lemon-lime (green), for 4 ounces of yarn.  This is overkill, by a little bit - but if you want vivid colors, you need a lot of Kool-Aid.

You'll also need a saucepan, a bowl, and a big spoon.

Step 2: Make a yarn ball & get it wet

Picture of Make a yarn ball & get it wet
Wind your yarn into a loose ball.  You'll have to do this by hand - a ball winder will make it too tight.  The ball should be easy to squish.  Tuck in the loose end to try to keep the ball neat.

Soak the ball in water.  Squeeze it gently, if you need to - try to saturate it as completely as possible.
freckleface2 months ago

I have a project I'm working on where your blue-to-white skein is *perfect* for. Would you mind sharing what colors (flavors) you used to make that one?

chaotick1 year ago

Nice tutorial and pictures. I've done this before and did some experimenting and found the 'dryer' the yarn before adding to the dye bath - the more deeply the color soaks into the center. I love to do the both ends method - this was a combination of Kool-Aid (the orange) and 'Acid-Fast' dye.

poofrabbit2 years ago
Congratulations on being a finalist in the fiber arts contest!! Good luck to you!
Very Kool!
amyles2 years ago
How do you stop the color from bleeding?
VeryBadDogs (author)  amyles2 years ago
I haven't had a problem with bleeding, but so far I've used 100% wool yarn that gets washed gently and infrequently. The citric acid in the Kool-Aid mix acts as a mordant to help set the dye. I rinse the finished skein until the water runs clear - and that usually happens pretty quickly.

I've wet-felted with roving that a friend dyed with Kool-Aid, and don't remember getting much bleeding there, in spite of the hot water and soap.

I'll test it on superwash yarn, but I think it's pretty safe if you're gentle with it. If you have something you're really worried about, it's always good to test first, and I've had good luck with Synthrapol detergent for things with iffy dye jobs.
amyles amyles2 years ago
Very nice Instructable by the way.
Conas2 years ago
very nice, and thanks for the tips about variety
That's awesome! The results look fantastic.
VeryBadDogs (author)  jessyratfink2 years ago