Dye Tangerine Tango Yourself

More red than Pumpkin, orangier than Scarlet, Tangerine Tango is
the 2012 Color of the Year from Pantone.

Can fashion designers convince us plain folk that orange is the new "it" color?
Coming from a neighborhood that the word orange is always preceded by the prefix "safety", I was doubtful.

But after dyeing a few skeins, Tangerine Tango is growing on me... a tiny bit.

Before we get down to the good stuff, a word about the dreaded Red3 (skip down to the photos, if you'd like).

Red food color comes in two kinds- red3 and red40.

Red3 is harder to use, you must add just enough vinegar to bond but not so much that the red crocks. Crocking is when the red sticks to the pan or comes off on your hands and knitting needles.

Heat the yarn and dyebath to 170 degrees F and add a tablespoon of vinegar. Allow the dyebath to reach 180 degrees and see if the dyebath has gone clear. If it hasn't add another tablespoon and wait a few more minutes.

Repeat until the food dye has bonded, then stop adding vinegar.

To minimize bleeding, allow the dyebath to cool to room temperature.

If you would rather not use red3, there are several versions of Tangerine Tango with red40.

The yarn in these photos is off-white Lion Brand Fishermen's wool.

Tangerine Tango Kool-Aid


Woo hoo, this Tango couldn't be easier. Mix one packet Orange Kool-Aid and one packet Strawberry Kool-Aid for each 2 ounces of ivory wool yarn. All current Kool-Aid flavors contain red40 if they are red or a mixture with red.

Kool-Aid contains acid, so you don't need to add vinegar. Just make sure the yarn and the dyebath reaches 180 degrees and cools to room temperature.

Tangerine Tango Wilton


These versions of Tangerine Tango is made with Wilton Icing gel.

Formula 1: 11 parts "No Taste" Red to 2 parts Golden

Formula 2: 5 parts Red to 2 parts Yellow
(Sorry - no photo of this one. It's the same color, anyway.)

Why two Formulas? Formula 1 uses "No Taste" Red, which is red40 and won't crock, even if you put too much vinegar in the dyebath.

Formula 2 uses Red3, which is a stronger color- but you need to add the vinegar more carefully.

Tangerine Tango McCormick


McCormick Food Color:

6 parts Red to 1 part Yellow

McCormick food color comes in small dropper 4 packs or larger 1 fluid ounce bottles. McCormick red contains more red40 then red3, but I have never had a problem with crocking.

Because the food color is a liquid, it mixes faster. It's a good idea to give the bottles a shake to make sure the color is mixed and then give the bottle five minutes to level. Otherwise, the bottles tend to spurt rather than measure nice even drops.

McCormick needs vinegar and heat to bond.

Tangerine Tango Great Value


Great Value Food Color (sold by Walmart):

3 parts Red to 1 part Yellow

Great Value comes in a four pack of yellow, red, blue and green. The colors are strong but a bit gray.

The package lists more red40 then red3. Logically the red3 would be in the red dropper. However, I have seen red3 in some brands of "yellow" and "blue".

There was no problem with crocking in the samples, and I wasn't being overly careful with the vinegar.

This brand of food color needs vinegar and heat.


On the fashion runway, Tangerine Tango is being paired with a pink blush, with lilac (no, really), with gray, and safety yellow.

Note: I'm giving myself bonus points for being the only discussion of this color on the web that didn't include a cheesy "orange" pun.

Want more colors? More than 100 Kool-Aid Colors, here.

Dozens of Shades of McCormick, here.

Wilton Icing gels create wonderful hues, here.

Go from Tangerine Tango to Fashion Colors.

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