I was really excited to be included in the JoAnn Fabric and Craft Store National Craft Month Campaign. I got to browse some spring craft trends and I was most inspired by the color orchid. You can take a look at some spring crafty trends and get inspired too – and they’re giving you a coupon for $5 off a $25 purchase!.
Purples in general, are some of my favorite colors and the color orchid is really lovely. I would like to show you how to dye some wool blend felt with Kool-Aid today.
I’m going to be the first to admit that it’s a little embarrassing to go through the check out stand with the amount Kool-Aid that I buy these days. I really just want to tell the checker, “It’s not for drinking, I promise!” But Kool-Aid makes a surprisingly fantastic dye for protein fibers!
One of the great things about Kool-Aid is that it’s “food-safe”. By that I mean that you can use the same pots for dyeing with Kool-Aid that you cook in. Some people will say that you shouldn’t because of what might be in the wool, but you’re washing the wool quite thoroughly and I think it’s ok. Personally, I’m more afraid of what’s in the Kool-Aid.
And contrary to popular belief, the colors you can get do not have to be limited to bright, garish candy colors. Dye Your Yarn is a website devoted to dyeing with food dyes- including Kool-Aid. They even have a page with a bunch of color mixing formulas using Kool-Aid. Today, we’re going to use one of these formulas to create a lovely orchid color.
2 9×12 sheets of wool blend felt
2 big pots for soaking and dyeing
1 packet Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade Kool-Aid
1 packet Grape Kool-Aid
Large metal spoon or tongs
First, purchase your wool felt. I wanted to show you how to dye the 20% wool 80% rayon that they sell at JoAnn Fabric and Craft Store, so that is what I purchased. You could also purchase the 100% wool felt, but it does need a little extra felting, in my opinion, so that is a post for another day.
Synthetic felt generally comes in 9×12 sheets, so that is what I generally use as my base size for dyeing. Wool does shrink though, so you will get smaller sheets.
Purchase at least 12 inches of wool felt. You can totally get more and dye all sorts of colors too.
Cut your wool into 9×12 sheets and then wash it. Set your washer on cold/cold and put the wool in after it’s filled. Add just a quick squeeze of dishsoap. I find Dawn to be the best, but you can use pretty much any dishsoap. Let the washer go through it’s cycle. Let the wool air dry or go right on to the next step.
Ok, now we get to the fun part!!
Before the fabric is dyed, it needs to be thoroughly wet. To do this, put it in a pot full of warm or lukewarm water. Make sure the wool is submerged. Add a splash of vinegar and mix it all around. When I have a lot of wool, I’ll put a plate in the pot that just fits, keeping everything under the water. Another tip is to squeeze the wool gently to make sure water gets all the way inside. You can tell the spots that aren’t thoroughly wet because they will still look dry when the surrounding areas are wet.
There’s not a specific amount of time that the wool needs to be soaked.
Get your dyeing pot a-boiling. We’re just going to dye 2 sheets here today, so you’ll only need a pot like this to be about half full. You want just enough room for the wool to move around. The water actually does not need to be boiling, just really close. In fact, when the water does boil, it needs to be shut off.
Now make your dye. Basically, 1 packet of dye equals 1 sheet of wool felt. This dye recipe calls for 2 packets of Kool-Aid, so we’ll be dyeing 2 sheets of wool felt.
In a glass jar, mix 1 packet of Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade Kool-Aid, 1 packet of Grape Kool-Aid and about 1/4 c vinegar. I like to use vinegar with Kool-Aid because I feel it dissolves a lot better. You could actually use hot water too because the Kool-Aid packets have enough acid in them already.
Stir well until all the granules are dissolved.
Pour the dye mixture into your very hot pot of water and give it a good stir. When the water is almost boiling, turn the heat off.
Now it’s time to add the felt. You can wring the felt out a little bit, but mostly, you just want to put it gently into the dye pot. Stir it all around to make sure that the dye will get into all the folds of the fabric.
And let it sit. Come back every now and then to stir some more for a more even dye job, but that’s it for a while. Let it sit until the water is cool enough to touch. You can let it sit even longer though if you want.
When it’s cool, dump the dye pot into the sink and let the water drain.
Rinse the wool with water the same temperature as the water you just dumped out. Warm or lukewarm water is good. Rinse it until it runs clear.
Now wring gently (the more agitation it gets, the more it could felt and shrink) and let it hang dry.
Once it’s dry you’ll be able to see it’s true color! Give it a good ironing and then it’s ready for crafting!!
Now try some other Kool-Aid color combinations.
If you’re looking for felt, but don’t want to dye it yourself, check out my etsy shopp with lots of hand dyed wool felt!!
Chrissy Leiberan-Titus writes for Muse of the Morning.com