Easy Koolaid Microwave Wool Dye Technique

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About: Fiber mad woman living in the mountains. Creativity is the ultimate rebellion.Trying to Roller Derby for my life. I'm into sericulture and hypertufa. Love fiber arts, sewing, quilting, cooking, writing. Some...

Intro: Easy Koolaid Microwave Wool Dye Technique

Easy dye project to use on protein fiber including wool and silk. Use your microwave and in a matter of minutes have art ready fiber for felting, weaving, spinning-project ready!
This is so easy! It just couldn't be any easier! If you have some wool or silk fiber you want to color-this is the way to go! All you need is simple equipment you probably already have in your kitchen and some protein fiber. I like using the powdered drink mix as dyes. They work well, have strong, vibrant colors. Inexpensive to use and are readily available. Safe to use in your own kitchen cookware. Requires no special additions or equipment. Easter egg dyes can also be used.

Step 1: Easier Than Pie!

Supplies you need-Microwave safe bowl(s), Colander, strainer or salad spinner, Wooden skewer, Rubber gloves (optional), Mesh laundry bag, Unsweetened powdered drink mix in desired color(s), or Easter egg dye, Microwave, Drying rack, Protein fiber- wool or silk fiber
Gather your supplies. Add powdered drink mix to hot water in microwave safe bowl I use Pyrex. Stir to dissolve with skewer. Use 1-2 packets of powered drink mix in desired color, depending on amount of wool used and desired color saturation. Moisten wool with hot water under faucet before adding to dye bath. Squeeze out excess water and push down into dye bath with skewer or hand protected with rubber glove. Or dye your fingertips like I have done!

Step 2: Zap on High!

Microwave on high. Cook at 2 minute intervals for 6-8 minutes for 2 quart bowl or until all the color is absorbed into the fiber. Here I've moved the wool aside in the bowl so you can see that the water is clear as the wool has taken up all the color. This is exactly what I want to happen! The heat of the water bonds the color to the fiber making it colorfast. It won't fade with washings. This is a permanent dye. Use hot pads to remove from microwave. Be careful! It gets really hot! Use the skewer to push the wool back into the water as it cooks, if needed, stirring minimally. Agitation of the fiber will cause felting at this stage. You can also place a microwave safe saucer on top of the fiber to submerge fiber, if needed.

Step 3: Cool, Rinse, Spin Dry

Let cool to room temperature or strain immediately in a colander over the sink. I have done it both ways, each work. Rinse with warm water.
Put the strained, wet wool in a mesh drawstring laundry sack or pillow case securely closed and spin dry further in the washing machine before laying out to dry completely on a rack. I use an old baby gate for a rack over the bathtub. It works like a charm! The wool dries a lot faster if you spin out the excess water in the washing machine before laying out to dry. Remember to use the end spin cycle only. If you are dyeing small batches, you can use a salad spinner to get more moisture out too.

Step 4: Don't Blink, You'll Miss It!

Now see? I was right! That couldn't be any easier! You will be so pleased with the results. I use small batches to dye individual pieces I have cut out of felted sweaters with great results. You can use this method to dye silk, skein wool, socks, sweaters or any protein fiber that can fit in the microwave. When I cut out pieces to dye in the microwave from recycled wool felted sweaters, the process gives the wool a more compact & fuzzy texture. It's very lovely. The idea is to experiment and have fun!

Step 5: Project Complete

Great for wet or dry felting, spinning, weaving making stuff for babies, kids, moms, dads, dogs, cats-anyone that likes this kind of thing! They juggle great & are easy enough on lamps & furniture to play with indoors. Wool's wonderful properties make it a very safe material especially for asthmatic or allergic children. Wool doesn't harbor mites like other stuffed toys/animals can. Also wool absorbs heat as it is held, which is a comfort & welcoming-especially in a treasured doll or stuffed animal. Shown here are needle felted wool beads. Delicious! (Not for human consumption).

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    41 Discussions

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    BLASTFEMI

    10 years ago on Introduction

    The dye is colorfast and permanent. It doesn't bleed or fade as it ages. You can also use the technique for skein wool, wool socks, knit or crocheted wool items-or silk.

    Aaaahh Holy Shark this is cool! Just tried it with a few white tank tops which are a 92% nylon and 8% spandex blend.... not a bit of color has come out after machine washing and drying! The only thing is that the color did not absorb entirely consistently throughout the fabric...... I tried purple off brand kool aid, most of the tank top is a burgundy color with red lace and a few cool tie-dye blue spots.

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    paqrat

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Very cool idea. I wish it worked with cotton.

    Colourfast and everything? Kool! My brother just bought 54 sheep (I'm not joking here), so I might have some raw material... Now I just need 10000 Kool-aid.

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    bouderBLASTFEMI

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    .... and there are Polypay sheep, that provide both wool and meat! LOL! Sorry, couldn't resist. ;-)

    They're meaty sheep, I'm not sure what breed. I think meat sheep still require shearing (except for hair sheep). The wool probably wouldn't be so nice for spinning, but should make decent felt. I'd probably want to wash the poo from the wool beforehand, as the sheep appear none too clene (I elect not to comment on whether, or not, the shepherd is shitten). Washing might also be helpful in removing some of the lanolin, which I imagine would interfere with uptake of the waterborne Kool-aid dye.

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    sophianw

    6 years ago on Introduction

    hi! thank you soooooooo much for sharing this, but i do not have sheep or a llama, that i could shear but could i do this with white yarn

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    BLASTFEMIsophianw

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Sophia, Yes, as long as it's protein fiber-wool, rayon or silk, it will dye using this technique. Polyester or acrylic yarns will not work! Good luck & show me your results if you end up doing it!

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    OrIsIt

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Minecraft anyone?This just reminded me of minecraft

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    NaturalCrafter

    7 years ago on Step 5

    The frog made from a wool sweater is great. You should do an instruction just on making him. Wonderful.

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    BLASTFEMINaturalCrafter

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 5

    I didn't get pics of making the frog but I do have some pics of a cat one I made. I'll have to scrounge them up. Super fun & easy!

    I have a bunch of white wool fiber that I am just loving to try this! Thanks much. Infact I have some blue koolaide that would be neat! Thank you Thank you!

    3 replies

    I have been wanting to try something like this for awhile. Though I now have a list of projects. I just finished tatting a doily..so cross that off, and I also working on the second sock to go with the one in my photo to have a matched set. Should I try to spin the fiber first and then dye it or dye it and then spin it? I could try it both ways and see what happens.

    Dyeing the fiber first is called 'dyed in the wool'. You can totally dye the wool after it's been spun though too. You can even dye a finished project this way. I dyed a wool sweater that was first fulled/felted in the washing machine using this technique and it came out great. I cut it up to use in my projects. Doilies are underestimated! The tatting would make me go blind! Good job!

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    JohnMichael

    9 years ago on Step 3

    How is vinegar (acetic acidic) going to neutralize citric acid? Did I miss something?

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    BLASTFEMIJohnMichael

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 3

    Hi JM, No, you didn't miss anything! I have since learned it isn't necessary to use the vinegar too. I need to modify my instructions.. Thanks for the reminder!