Dyeing Silk with Kool-Aid

Hand dyed silk is an unattainable dream on a hot dogs and beans budget.


Take a trip to the thrift store, the op shop, a jumblesale or your own sweater drawer and harvest yourself some of this luxury yarn.

Guest dyer Dancejunky is going to show you how to dye it with Kool-Aid.

Step 1 : Soak the yarn for 24 hours in plain water. Use a weight to hold it below the surface of the water if needed.

Step 2 : Place the yarn in the slowcooker ceramic pot, add just enough water to cover it and turn the slow cooker to high.

Step 3 : When the water reaches 160 degrees F, add 1 1/2 packets of black cherry KA and turn the yarn several times to distribute the dye.

Step 4 : Allow the dyebath to heat, but not over 180 degrees F (and closer to 160 degrees if possible).

Step 5 : The yarn is done when the water in the bottom of the pot is clear or the yarn won't absorb anymore color.

Step 6 : Allow to cool and rinse. Sometimes as the yarn cools to room temperature the yarn will absorb more food color.

Dancejunky reports that her yarn was in the heated dyebath for 3 1/2 hours. She used about 626 yards of recycled 100% silk yarn.

Dyeing silk is an advanced project because it can lose its luster at high temperatures. This is not the time to guess how hot the dyebath is.

Use a meat or candy thermometer.

If this is your first time dyeing this type of yarn, use Kool-Aid so you don't need to fuss with the acidity of the water.

As your skills with McCormick, Wilton, AmeriColor and other food colors needing vinegar are honed, you can try this project again.

Dancejunky was surprised that after more than 3 hours heating the water wasn't clear.

She says "The silk didn't completely exhaust the dye, which was strange because I used a relatively small amount of dye. You'd think it would have exhausted completely. Of course I have no way of knowing whether the yarn was treated with anything that would have inhibited dye absorption, since it was from a thrift-store sweater. "

The finished Kool-Aid dyed yarn

Go from Dyeing Silk to DyeYourYarn home page.

See how to dye nylon.

Dyeing on ball of yarn in four different ways - See how over-dyeing, hand-painting, gradient and dip dyeing change the look of one brand of yarn.

Watch self-striping, Kool-Aid color formulas, hand paint and immersion, dyeing skeins that harmonize, and breaking black videos.

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