Dying with Kool-Aid. - The Magic Onions

Dying with Kool-Aid.

I am working on a needle felting project and needed orange wool. Alas, I had none. NONE! Three boxes full of different shades of green, bun NO orange, anywhere! Ordering from my online source would have taken a week… much too long for an impatient like me! What could I do but dye my own? Kool-Aid to the rescue.
Kool-Aid is a great light and color-fast dye for protein fibers; wool, silk, alpaca. (Sorry, it does not dye cotton or synthetic fabric.)
All we needed was a glass or porcelain dish, three packets of orange Kool-Aid, natural wool roving and hot water.

K poured the Kool-Aid into our dish.
We added about 4 cups of very hot water and stirred to dissolve the Kool-Aid.
We carefully soaked our white wool in the Kool-Aid, gently submerging it in the orange liquid. We were careful not to agitate the wool too much as this would have felted our wool.
We left it to soak up the orange color.
After about an hour, it was clear that the wool had soaked up most of the orange.
We took it out of the Kool-Aid and rinsed it gently in cool water. Then we hung it on the line to dry. Look what a bright orange it became… perfect for my project. When I am finished my needle felting, I’ll post it for you to see this lovely orange wool at work.
In South Africa we have a saying, ‘n boer maak a plan’. Translated, it means ‘a farmer makes a plan’. So, next time you are frustrated because you have to delay a project as you don’t have the materials you need, think again… perhaps, with a little preparation, you can turn what you do have into what you need.

Blessings and magic.
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Donni Webber is the mom behind the popular natural living Waldorf website and blog, The Magic Onions - where the magic of nature and the wonder of childhood collide to make each moment a precious gift. She is a photographer, writer, crafter, wife and mother of two inspiring young children. Her work has been featured in many popular publications, including HGTV, Better Homes and Gardens, Disney and Apartment Therapy.

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  1. We had a slight fiasco dyeing silk with koolaid, but I’m glad you had success dyeing wool. We’ll have to try that sometime. :)

  2. We love that project!
    We dyed so much wool with koolaid!
    I love the way ours turned out… lots of different shades of the color (from faded to bright). Makes very pretty yarn!

  3. We enjoy dyeing with kool-aid too. It is quick and easy. Love seeing the phrase ‘n boer maak a plan’ mentioned and seeing it in action too. We use it too here and action it too. Lovely!

  4. WOW! I just bought the kroger brand koolaid to do this with silk scarves. It is REALLY orange – pretty.
    So you just used hot water and kool aid? I saw some people used vinegar too…..

  5. That looks like fun!!! We’ll have to get some!!
    Are you in South Africa, or from there?

  6. I’ve always wondered how you dye wool with Kool-aid. Thanks for showing how it’s done!

  7. So cooool! And there are so many bizarre Kool Aid colors to choose from, it makes it fun!

  8. At least there’s something better to use Kool Aid for than drinking it!!!!

  9. The wool ended up a beautiful shade of orange. I think some of my best ideas have come when I was “making do” with what I had on hand. :)

  10. Great, Magic Onions!!! I’ll have to try it. I have had wonderful success with icing dyes and Easter egg dyes for dyeing wool, too.

  11. Beautiful and I bet it smells good too!

    Lisa :)

  12. This is a fun idea. I found a recipe somewhere on the Internet where you do this in the microwave. It works if you are into even more instantaneous results! You don’t need to cook it too long.

    I got a friend in America to send me a selection of Kool-aid packets. I dyed an old wool blanket I chopped up, and have been using bits of it for some work I did with the sewing machine.
    Thanks for sharing so much of your life.
    Sandy in the UK

  13. Ahh I did not realize you were from South Africa, I have two other online friends from there and a friend here at home that I grew up with that was from South Africa… I like that saying very, very much!! So true!
    Another online friend from the Netherlands sent me a gift in the mail and I asked her if there was something she possibly could not get where she was and she said it was hard to find Kool aid so I sent her a bunch of it in every color also for dyeing wool. Funny you don’t have orange wool, last fall I went to a fair and bought up every color wool I could find and orange was no where in sight!

  14. Kool-Aid also makes great watercolor-type paint, too… when it dries, it holds the scent, which is perfect for making scratch & sniff fruit-themed still life paintings (which can then be bound into a storybook.) Preschoolers lovelovelove this :)

  15. Oh you are so creative & I love that color orange…can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with!

    Jamie :)

  16. That’s impressive! Kool-Aid has all sorts of uses!

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