Introduction: How to Dye Porcupine Quills W/ Kool-Aid

About: I am a student who likes to build and tinker with things and I use my heritage as a basis for inspiration in my daily life.
This will be the instructable preceding one I plan to release soon. I want to use porcupine quills in a craft however just using white would not bring my concepts to life as I envision them, so I will show you a simple way of dying these little quills so you can have colorful projects too!

Step 1: Get Your Hands on Some Quills

I easily found mine on ebay for pretty cheap. However it is simple enough to pull them out of a porcupine itself if you happen to stumble upon one. Just be careful, they're sharp! Try to buy or scavenge medium sized quills, from around an inch or longer and then a few millimeters in diameter.

Step 2: De-barb the Quills

Unless you plan to leave the barbs on for some reason you'll have to cut them off as well as the follicle part. If you need a sizable amount of quills, I recommend lining them up until you have about 3/4 of an inch of quills side by side and line up the areas where the white turns to black. Now when you cut the barbs off I've seen it's best to dip the ends into a little tub of water and just snip the ends off with scizzors. This will prevent them from going flying everywhere and causing trouble for you or others. Then line up the follicle ends and repeat the process. When you are done you will have these small tubes that look like they're filled with some sponge material.

Step 3: Clean the Quills

Place all of your barbless quills into a small bowl. Add a few drops of dish soap to eat away at the grease and then run warm/hot water over it and let it soak until the water gets room temperature. Drain the water and repeat the process (I find placing a paper towel over the bowl and flipping it upside down works best for draining). Then once they are as bright and clean as you think you can get them set them out to dry.

Step 4: Dying the Quills

Get a few packets of Kool-aid in whatever color you want the quills to be. Then in a shallow pan put just enough water to cover the quills (don't put them in yet) and turn it on "LOW". You don't want the water to boil, just get hot. Add you Kool-aid and mix it up. Next place your quills in and work them around in the water with a fork until they get to the color you'd like whenever you lift them out of the Kool-aid.

Step 5: Setting the Colors

When the quills have reached the color you like lift them out with the fork and move them to a bowl with vinegar in it. Work them around to get any excess Kool-aid off and then remove them and place on a paper towel to dry. The vinegar will help set the colors.

Step 6: Finishing Up

Now just repeat the process for whatever colors you'd like and you're ready to get crafting! To see what I use these for, you'll have to check back with my account or look for it in some upcoming contests, but hey a follow doesn't hurt! :) Thanks for reading and good luck with your projects!