Category: <span>dyeing</span>

Dyeing Roving with Kool Aid

I’ve put together a little step-by-step with photos of how I do this at home with as little mess as possible.

Things you will need:

  • Kool-Aid or other sugar-free drink mix.  Store brand will work just fine!  More packets mean more color, so you want to have more on hand than you think you’ll need, just in case.
  • Clear glass, microwave safe bowl
  • Gloves (unless you want tye dye hands!)
  • Old clothes or an apron
  • Vinegar (optional – most drink mixes have citric acid in them which sets the dye without needing vinegar)
  • Colander or strainer
  • White plastic utensil
  • Roving of your choice – cream, brown, grey, any color!  4 ounces is a pretty standard amount.
  • Old rag or towel
  • Microwave
DSC_9370_square 1. Gather all of the items you’ll be needing. Fill the clear glass bowl about 3/4 of the way with lukewarm water.
DSC_9373_square 2. Squish the roving gently into the bowl of water. Completely submerge the roving (this may take a little time) and leave it in the bowl for about an hour. You want to make sure that the roving is thoroughly wet so that it doesn’t singe in the microwave later. My roving is a grey/brown blend of BFL.
DSC_9374_square 3. After the hour is up, gently pour out the bowl of water into your colander over the sink. Give it a few good shakes to get most of the water out, but make sure the roving is still very damp.
DSC_9376_square 4. Prepare your Kool Aid! I usually cut the tops off and set them upright in a dry cup or bowl so that they’re within reach and don’t spill all over the table.
DSC_9379_square 5. In the glass bowl you used before, lay out the roving so that there is one level of roving in the bottom of the bowl. Here, I’ve gone in a spiral pattern, making sure not to overlap the roving. Start sprinkling on the Kool Aid – I did half/half here, but you could do one color per layer or any sort of pattern you can dream up! I’ve used Cherry and Grape Kool Aid and Raspberry Ice store brand (Great Value) drink mix.
DSC_9380_square 6. Squish the dye in with your fingers. This will help ensure a more even distribution of dye if that’s what you’re looking for, otherwise, hands off! The dye will only take where you’ve laid it. Repeat Step 5 and 6 until you’ve used up all of your roving.
DSC_9383_square 7. Gently pour in water to cover the roving. Again, we want to make sure that the roving is thoroughly wet so that it doesn’t singe in the microwave. If you pour too quickly, the top layer of dye may wash off a little – don’t worry, there’s still enough dye in the water to take, but you can re-layer dye on top after the water has been added. If the roving isn’t completely covered on the top, that’s okay, as long as it’s good and wet, it’s fine.
DSC_9389_square 8. Carefully place the bowl into the microwave and set it on high for two minutes. Check after the two minute cycle with your white utensil in the bowl to see if there is still a lot of dye in the bowl or if it’s mostly clear. Wait a few minutes and run the cycle again. Depending on the type of wool and color of dye, this can take a few cycles, just keep going!
DSC_9390_square 9. Here you can see that the water in the bowl is mostly clear. Allow the glass to cool until it’s cool enough to touch and remove from microwave.
DSC_9396_square 10. Gently dump the bowl into your colander over the sink again. Give the colander a few good shakes to get most of the water out. Fill the glass bowl about 3/4 of the way with water that is about the same temperature as the roving and place the roving gently in the bowl. Give the roving a few squishes to make sure all the dye is out, and pour the whole thing back into the colander. Shake to remove excess water and gently squeeze as much water out as you can.
DSC_9400_square 11. Hang your roving up to dry! Here I’ve got a cookie cooling rack placed over a plain white dish tub and spread the roving over the top. The colors came out great and I can’t wait for it to be dry!