Dying wool with Kool-aid is non-toxic, fun, and smells great. You can find a variety of detailed instructions on the internet for dying wool yarn and wool batts in your microwave and on the stove. I especially like the information and color charts at dyeyouryarn.com. Above are sample pieces of corriedale wool I dyed with Kool-aid on my stove top.
I first soaked the wool in warm water to wet it thoroughly. This helps the wool absorb the color more evenly when placed into the color dye bath. While the wool is soaking, fill a large pot with 3-4 times as much water as needed to wet the wool. You want extra water so the wool can float around freely to prevent felting.
Begin heating the pot of water and stir in the Kool-aid. Make sure to use the unsweetened packets, not the kind with sugar added. A basic guide is 1 packet of Kool-aid for each ounce of wool. This will give you an intense color except for the lemonade flavors which are not as strong in color. Use less for a weaker color.
Stir the Kool-aid thoroughly to make sure it’s completely dissolved. When the dye bath (the pot of Kool-aid and water) has heated to where it’s just about to boil, lift the wool from the water it’s been soaking in and set it in the dye bath. Try not to twist the wool to help prevent twisting and bunching in the dye bath.
Keep the dye bath just below a boil, with only tiny bubbles rising from the bottom. You don’t want a full boil as it moves the wool around too much and could cause some unwanted felting. Keep the wool in the hot dye bath until all the color is absorbed from the water. Occasionally turn the wool over to help distribute the color. Don’t stir the wool as this may cause felting.
After all or most of the color has been absorbed by the wool, gently lift it out and rinse in warm water until the water runs clear. Don’t use cold water as it can shock the wool and cause contraction of the fibers, making it not work as well in your hand felting. Don’t squeeze or twist the wool.
©2012 Alice Frenz