Introduction: How to Dye Ugly Yarn

A Tutorial

See the Whole Mess Here :)

Ever have one of those Grand Ideas where you just know it’s going to turn out super cool?? Yeah, well I had one of those this week.

A Super Cool and Fun Yarn Dyeing Experiment! Woohoo! MAJOR FAIL! At least, I figured out one way to dye up some really BUTT UGLY yarn!

So the idea was to wind the skein into a ball and then dye it with all 3 primary colors in separate sections so that the yarn would end up with all the primary and all the secondary colors. Cool huh? I swear, Ms. Ruch, I paid attention in art class when you talked about the colorwheel!
All of my dyeing buddies are already sighing and shaking their heads…. Anyhoo, if you would like to duplicate my ugly yarn experiment, here’s what I did….

Step 1: Supplies:


Yarn – protein fiber (There’s cheap yarn in My Etsy Shop if you want to experiment)

Jacquard Acid Dyes in Sky Blue, Yellow Sun and Cherry Red

Ball Winder



Dyeing Pots & Pans


Step 2: Dyeing

First, you need to turn the skein of yarn into a center pull bump with a yarn winder.

I soaked my yarn in a warm water and vinegar solution for 2 hours. Next, I mixed up my dyestocks according to package directions. First, I dyed half of the ball of yarn with Yellow Sun. Second, I flipped the yarn over and dyed the other half with Cherry Red.

Third, I turned the ball perpendicular and dyed half of it with the Sky Blue.

To my surprise – altho it shouldn’t have been – the part with all 3 dyes turned Black. DUH!
Part of the yarn is actually quite pretty with a speckled yellow, orange and green. There’s also a lot of white since the dye did not penetrate all the way to the center.

Step 3: Re-Skeining

I re-skeined the yarn with my Niddy Noddy

And there you go! I’m going to knit up a sample just to see what it would look like but I’m pretty sure it will be ugly!

So, tell me about some of your failed experiments! Please, I’m dying to know lol! And if you want to learn how to dye pretty yarn, check out these:

How to Hand Paint Yarn

How to Kettle Dye Yarn

Lots more tutorials over at!