Kool Aid Dyed, Wool Felt Garland Tutorial

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Speaking of garlands, I think that this one from MADE was the first one I saw and I just had to make one just like it.

Well, not *just* like it. I have to put my own spin on it of course! So, this tutorial was born.

I went to pull some wool felt out of my felt basket and I found a stack of white. Eureka! Of course, I would dye the felt first! I love that wool is so easy to dye. In case you were wondering, wool is a protein fiber like silk, hair, eggshells and other animal fibers. Protein fibers can be easily dyed with a bit of acid dye – which sounds scary, but you can use food coloring, Easter egg dye, liquid watercolors or…. kool aid! I dyed some playsilks using kool aid a while ago. We’re going to use a somewhat different process to do this project.

These are the supplies you’ll need:
– A bunch of 100% wool felt. You can use wool-blend felt also, but it will have more of a speckly look to it.
– kool aid in the colors that you want to dye your felt.
– vinegar
– pint jars or bowls or some sort of container for each color that you’re using.
– spoons to mix with
– boiling water

First, cut up your felt into whatever shapes you want. I cut out a bunch of stars, hearts, circles, squares and triangles while I watched an episode of Eureka. They’re approximately 2 inches by 2 inches.

Rinse your felt pieces in warm water to remove any sizing or other chemicals that might be on them and to get the water all the way through them. Squeeze the pieces gently in the water to make sure they are getting totally wet.

While your felt pieces are soaking, set up your dye baths. For each color, mix a package of kool aid and about 1/4 cup of vinegar. Mix well. The vinegar helps the fabric to absorb the dye, making the colors more brilliant (And yes, Lil’ Miss is topless. The times when she is naked far, far out numbers the times when she is wearing clothes).

Get some water boiling (and ignore my dirty stove top).

Fill your dye containers about half full with the boiling water and then put in the slightly wet felt pieces that you want to be that color. I did 6 colors, so I roughly divided my pile of felt pieces by 6 and put a few in each color. Add more water to fill the container most of the way.

Use the spoon to stir the felt and dye, making sure that all the pieces are separated and surrounded by the dye.

Let the dye bath sit until the water cools down. It just needs to sit for a half hour or so.

Once the water is cool, pour one dye bath at a time through a colander in the sink. Once the water has drained, rinse with cool water, squeezing the pieces really gently to get most of the moisture out.

Set all the pieces out to dry. It will probably take over night.

When they’re dry, stitch them together with your sewing machine. Leave long tails to hang the garland up.

I actually sewed the garland 3 times because I felt like it wouldn’t be strong enough. In retrospect, I think one time probably would have been fine.

Then hang that baby up and enjoy it! I love the bright colors the kool aid makes. So cheery and perfect to bring out these early spring days when it can often be grey outside!

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Chrissy Leiberan-Titus writes for Muse of the Morning.com

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