Don't drink the Kool-Aid! Dye instead.
May 2, 2008 10:27 AM   Subscribe

Dyeing with Kool-Aid basic how-to. The best thing is the color chart. A good idea for a party, maybe? As usual, the folks at Flickr have got the goods: Kool-Aid dyed yarns in the Hand-dyed pool [1], [2], and the Yarn Porn pool, [1], [2]. And if you're one of those people who just hates to do things the easy way? Multi-colored custom yarn with Kool-Aid tutorial part 1 and part 2.
posted by taz (29 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
My wife dyes wool like this all the time. It turns out really cool but the whole house smells like she's boiling dead sheep when she does it.
posted by chococat at 10:31 AM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

That's pretty cool, the color chart is amazing. I have never knitted anything but this looks like fun.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:36 AM on May 2, 2008

Oh yeah!
posted by Kabanos at 10:38 AM on May 2, 2008

and I thought Kool-Aid was just for hair.
posted by caddis at 10:42 AM on May 2, 2008

I do this a lot. You can buy very inexpensive but nice quality yarn at Knitpicks that's perfect for experimenting on.

It's also a go-to project for me when I come across the ubiquitous cream-colored sweater while thrifting--somehow thrift stores have an abundance of ivory wool, but when I'm through with them they're candy-colored and way more fun.
posted by padraigin at 10:46 AM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

A moment of silence for Berry Blue. Damn you Kraft, damn you. After it got discontinued I kept a pack of Berry Blue for an entire year. I even moved from one apartment to another. Then one day I finally mixed up a pitcher and drank it cup by cup over a week. I can still remember that last delightful sip. The lemonish taste. The tangy blue goodness. And now I find out after all these years that they discontinued it because of some stupid Windex concerns. Poppycock. Forget polaroids, we need to bring back Berry Blue. And no, icy blue is not the same.
posted by cashman at 10:49 AM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

I remember in 10th grade I had a running argument with friends of what flavor the Kool-Aid Man was. Yes, I know he's red, but as you can see on this chart, there are several red flavors.
posted by ALongDecember at 10:55 AM on May 2, 2008

I dyed my rat terrier with Kool Aid last year. The problem is, that under the onslaught of a licking dog tongue, the color just doesn't last very long. So our goal of turning his short white coat into a bright fire-engine red were a failure. Instead, he turned a light pink when just made him look shaved and naked.

Which was also pretty entertaining.

This time we are going to use bright green fur-safe hair coloring. It's going to be mutant-awesome.
posted by quin at 11:04 AM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

posted by Sys Rq at 11:09 AM on May 2, 2008

I thought Kool Aid was just for pickles.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:12 AM on May 2, 2008

I've only knitted/crocheted with synthetic yarns. This looks like lots of fun tho'. I'm betting the cat would get tie-dyed somehow, 'cause he is so nosy. I've had to put my latest project away until he's a little calmer. I wonder if Peruvian wool is as soft as the wool in the sweaters I've gotten in England. American wool sweaters are really itchy.

Pretty colors!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 11:24 AM on May 2, 2008

I find KnitPicks' Peruvian wool line to be more loosely twisted and not quite as soft as their Merino wool line. (Their dyed Peruvian sock yarn is called Palette, and there isn't a 100% merino dyed line in sock weight, aka fingering weight.)

BTW, yarn designated "Superwash" will probably not dye any differently, but you can wash the finished product in the washing machine without shrinking/felting. Sock yarn with added nylon wears better and will not shrink/felt.

If you really want soooooooft, get the merino/silk blend for all of 60 cents more per 100 grams. You can make a minimum of three pairs of socks from that much yarn!

Off to try some kool-aid dyeing!
posted by gillyflower at 11:34 AM on May 2, 2008

I've used Kool-Aid to dye white hospital blankets. I didn't heat the water, I just put everything into a clean metal trash can (from Home Dept). Make sure you get one that's big enough to let the wool swirl around. Soak the wool for a few minutes ad then dump in a few packets of *unsweetened* Kool-Aid. Swirl everything around every fifteen minutes or so, to make sure the dye gets all the fabric evenly. The dye gradually bonds to the wool, so after a few hours you should have died your wool and the water will be perfectly clear.

Kool-Aid -- It's cheap, easy, and reasonably fade-proof.
posted by webnrrd2k at 11:45 AM on May 2, 2008

Grape drink.
posted by LordSludge at 11:46 AM on May 2, 2008

Dying with Kool-Aid ... Didn't Jim Jones do that?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:56 AM on May 2, 2008 [6 favorites]

i was gonna be all meh about this until i remembered how helpful this post would have been when i was just starting out experimenting with dyeing yarn. so, yay!
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:05 PM on May 2, 2008

superwash wool does actually take dye differently than non-superwash.

also, the kool-aid man is clearly cherry flavored.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:08 PM on May 2, 2008

oh jeez, I initially read that as "Dying With Kool-Aid".
posted by spish at 12:57 PM on May 2, 2008

If you can get some of the Aguas Frescas, either Kool-Aid or the more common Klass brand, you can get some other cool colors. Tamarindo is a brown and Jamaica is a bright red, if I recall.
posted by cabingirl at 1:02 PM on May 2, 2008

and I thought Kool-Aid was just for hair.

I tried dyeing my hair with Tang once for a laugh when I was 16 or so and had CMYK Manic-Panicked hair. It was... sticky.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:09 PM on May 2, 2008

From the fall 2002 issue of Knitty -- my favorite Kool-Aid dyeing tutorial, complete with color chart. Also, if you poke around on Knitty, I wrote an article on dishwasher dyeing a while back -- easypeasy and if one of the ziplocs happens to give -- hey! the water washes it right away...
posted by at 1:41 PM on May 2, 2008

...And as with every yarn related webpage, for the first 5 minutes I read it as "yam".
posted by potch at 2:36 PM on May 2, 2008

If I wanted to dye my mid-shoulder length curly dark brown hair with Kool-aide, how many packets do I need, and what flavour should I try? Ah, never mind. Industrial strength hairdresser dyes don't work, why should drink mix?

One of my friends spins her own wool and dyes it with Kool-aide. She always gets the neatest shades. Her latest try was for purple, but after many rinses, it came out this variegated blue. No hint of purple anywhere. A disappointment on the purple side of things, but it was a lovely lovely skein of wool nevertheless.
posted by sandraregina at 4:03 PM on May 2, 2008

I thought this was a post about dying your hair with Kool Aid (which works surprisingly well, I might add.. And, it's cheaper than Manic Panic)!

Also, Jim Jones died with Flavor Aid (the Kool-Aid Man never bounced back after having his drink erroneously associated with the cult -- oh yeaaah)!
posted by Mael Oui at 8:29 PM on May 2, 2008

So, since there are some people who know yarn on this thread...what would be the best kind of yarn which which to *do* felting. Not avoid it, but actually create it?

Cause I see a whole line of koolaid colored, felted soap bag making in my future.
posted by dejah420 at 9:37 PM on May 2, 2008

dejah, any pure wool yarn that isn't treated for washability will felt nicely. You're probably thinking of something a little lighter in weight, so maybe check the Knitpicks site for some light worsted-sport-fingering weight yarns to start with.
posted by padraigin at 11:44 PM on May 2, 2008

In retrospect, it's scary to think about all the Kool-Aid I drank in summer camp, now that I see how potent the coloring is.
posted by needs more cowbell at 1:02 AM on May 3, 2008

Hey, we're all pink green on the inside.
posted by LordSludge at 12:29 PM on May 3, 2008

If only Jim Jones stuck to this instead of switching over to Flavor Aid.
posted by dasheekeejones at 7:08 PM on May 6, 2008

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