Intro: Locks of Many Colors! How to Kettle Dye Wool and Fiber
Have you always wanted to dye your wool or alpaca fiber in a rainbow of
colors? Well, you can!Dyeing wool is so much fun and easier than you think. All you need is some basic know how and you will be able to create just about any combination of fabulous colors you want.
Step 1: Supplies Needed:
For this project, you will need Acid Dyes which are specifically formulated for protein or animal fiber. Follow the package directions for mixing your dyes. (Always use a dust mask when handling dye powder!)
Washed Fiber Locks s.a. Sheep, Alpaca or Mohair
Pre-dissolved Acid Dyes
Synthetic Mesh Fabric
Old Roasting Pan (cannot be used for food after dyeing)
Step 2: Soaking the Fiber:
Fill the roasting pan about half way with warm tap water and add about 1 cup of vinegar per 8 ounces of fiber. This is not an exact formula. You can’t really go wrong with too much vinegar. Not enough vinegar, however, can result in the dye not being completely taken up by the fiber.
Place the fiber in the mesh fabric and put it in the roasting pan. Gently push the fiber down to saturate. Let this soak for about 45 minutes to an hour.
Step 3: Adding the Dye:
For these locks, I chose Sapphire Blue, Purple, Pink, Lilac, Turquoise and Teal because blues are my favorites
Carefully, pour small amounts of the liquid dye on your fiber, varying the colors. Use the chopsticks to gently separate the fiber so the dye can penetrate to the bottom. Continue adding dye until all the fiber has color. The hard part is only using just enough dye liquid to get the job done so add color in small amounts.
Step 4: Setting the Dye:
Once the fiber is completely covered with color, turn the stove burner
on low for about 15 minutes then turn it to medium. When the water begins to simmer, cover the pot and turn the heat back to medium-low. You want the fiber to stay hot but you don’t want the water to boil which will cause felting. Check the pot every so often to make sure the water is not boiling. Adjust your heat as needed. After about 45 minutes, turn off the heat and let the fiber sit overnight.At this point, the dye water should be clear as the color has been exhausted.
Step 5: Finishing:
Carefully, remove the fiber in its mesh fabric and rinse in luke warm
water. Try not to move the actual fiber too much as again, this can cause felting. Once the water runs clear, squeeze out the excess and lay your fiber out to dry.
That’s all there’s to it!These beautiful dyed lamb locks can be used for spinning, felting, needle felting ….even doll hair!
Hope you enjoy it!
P.S. If you don’t feel like dyeing your own locks, I have lots available in my Etsy Store :))
See My Other Dyeing Tutorials: