Introduction: How to Dip Dye Wool Locks

Part 2 of my Fiber-To-Dye-For Series

Did you see Part 1 on Multi Color Yarn Dyeing – Red & Blue Makes ?

Download this Free Tutorial

Remember the Teeswater Wool Locks we washed last week? Well, I Dip Dyed them!
Dip Dyeing is a little fussier than Kettle Dyeing but it gives you much more control over the final result.

It’s actually very easy to do. My biggest challenge was finding a container large enough to hold about 2 ounces of locks upright but small enough that they wouldn’t fall over and color the whole thing. It also had to be something I wouldn’t need again for cooking since I was using Acid Dyes.
If I’m dyeing less than 1 ounce of wool, I will use Pint Mason Jars. I haven’t bought the larger ones yet so in this case I cut the tops off 1/2 gallon milk jugs.

Step 1: ​Supplies:

-White Wool Locks

-Jacquard Acid Dyes in Kelly Green, Violet and Pink

-Containers (Quart Mason Jars or cut off 1/2 gallons jugs) One per color

-Stock pot or roaster

-Grate or something to lift bags out of the water s.a. old pie tins

-Gallon Size Zip Bags

-Scrap synthetic yarn or ties

-White Vinegar

-Rubber gloves (optional)



-Stove or Hot Plate

SAFETY FIRST! I know I say this all the time but I can’t stress it enough…. Once you use your kitchen tools, bowls, measuring spoons, mason jars or whatever for acid dyeing, you can NEVER use them for food again…EVER! Thrift shops are a great place to find pots and pans for dyeing. They’re cheap and you’re recycling!

Step 2: ​Prepare the Wool

Arrange your wool locks so that the tops are all lined up fairly even and then loosely tie scrap yarn around the bundles to hold them together. Note: if you use wool yarn, it will stretch when it gets wet and your bundles won’t hold together as well.

Fill a bowl (large enough to hold your fiber) with warm water and add a cup of vinegar. Place your locks in the bowl and gently push them down to fully submerge but don’t agitate or move them around. Let soak for at least 30 minutes.

Step 3: Prepare the Dye

Mix up your dyes according to package directions. 1 teaspoon per cup of water is a good ratio. (Remember to wear a dust mask when mixing dye powder) For each color, add 1/2 cup warm water and 1/4 cup vinegar to a jar/container. Then add 1/4 cup of the prepared dye.

Step 4: ​Dipping

Carefully, remove a bundle of wool from the water. Squeeze out the excess liquid and slowly place it in the first jar of dye until the locks are about half way submerged. Do this with each bundle, then let it sit for about 20 minutes.

If you are only dyeing one color, move on the Heat Setting step.

Step 5: Two Color Dip

Put on your gloves, if using, and lift the bundle of fiber out of the first dye. Gently squeeze out the excess liquid. Flip the bundle over and dip the other half in a second color. Again, let it sit for about 20 minutes.

Step 6: ​Heat Setting

Lift your fiber out of the dye and gently squeeze out the excess liquid. Place each bundle of fiber in a plastic bag and set it on top of the grate or old pie tins in your roaster. Add about an inch of water and turn the heat to High. Once the water begins to simmer, cover the pot and turn the heat down to medium low. Simmer for about 45 minutes.

Step 7: Finishing

After 45 minutes, turn off the heat and allow the fiber to cool. This can take several hours. Remove the cooled locks from the bags and very gently place in a bowl filled with room temperature water. There should not be any bleeding of dye. If there is, then the color has not been completely absorbed and you need to repeat the heat setting process. Remove the locks from the water and lay out to dry.

There ya go! Pretty wool locks ready for Spinning, Felting or to use as Doll Hair.

See my other Dyeing Tutorials