Introduction: How to Speckle Dye Yarn (with Kool Aid)

A Tutorial

Speckled, sprinkled, spotted yarn – whatever you want to call it – is all the rage these days. With good reason, it’s a super cool way to dye yarn. I love the random, sprinkled effect.

Since I was just experimenting with this yarn dyeing technique, I used Kool-Aid drink powder instead of my usual professional Jacquard Acid Dyes. Kool-Aid makes a great yarn dye with a variety of bright colors. Plus, it’s non-toxic so a good option for dyeing with kids.

Here’s a basic tutorial for Dyeing Yarn with Kool-Aid

Safety Note: If you do use professional acid dyes, keep in mind that you need cookware dedicated to dyeing only. It will no longer be safe for regular food use. Also, make sure to wear a dust mask and cover all of your work surfaces.

Step 1: ​Supplies:

– Wool Yarn (Sheep, alpaca, etc. – not synthetic!)

– Kool Aid Drink Packets (various colors)

– Baking or Casserole Dish

– Gloves (optional)

– Fork

– Water

– Microwave (and plastic wrap) OR Oven (and aluminum foil)

Prepare The Yarn:
Fill your baking dish about half way with very warm water. Add the yarn and carefully push it down. Try not to move it around too much as that will cause the yarn to felt. Let the yarn soak for at least 30 minutes.

Step 2: Speckle Dye the Yarn:

Once the yarn has soaked, remove it from the dish and squeeze out most of the excess water. You don’t want the yarn to be dripping wet. Empty the water from the baking dish and place the yarn back in the dish, spreading out the strands. Now the fun starts! Open a packet of Kool Aid and slowly sprinkle some of the powder on the yarn. Since the yarn is fairly dry, it may take a minute or so for the color to show up. Take your time with this. It’s easy to add more dye but once it’s in there, you can’t take it away. Repeat with the other colors.

Use your fork to carefully move the yarn to expose the undyed underside. Add more dye powder.

Step 3: ​Heat Set the Dye:

If you’re using the microwave:

Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and pop it in the microwave. Heat on high for about 2 minutes, wait 2 minutes and nuke it again. I don’t have a microwave (weird huh) so this is an educated guess but that should be long enough. With normal yarn dyeing, you watch for the water to clear but we are dyeing damp yarn so it’s hard to know for sure). Remove from the microwave and leave it to cool completely. Carefully rinse the yarn with luke warm water and hang it to dry.

If you’re using the oven:

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and set it in the oven. Turn the temp to 350 degrees and cook it for 45 minutes. Remove the dish from the over and leave it to cool completely. Carefully rinse the yarn with luke warm water and hang it to dry.

That’s it! Your beautiful speckle dyed yarn is now ready to use. If you have more bare yarn showing that you’d like, you can repeat the entire process and add more dye.


Beginner’s Guide to Hand Dyeing Yarn

How to Kettle Dye Yarn

How to Hand Paint Yarn