A friend of mine started needle felting and I’ve been inspired to give it a whirl. (Thanks for the inspiration Jen!) You can add such fun embellishments to projects through felting. The stuff she was doing was just darling and I’ve been dying to give it a try myself.
For the last couple of months I’ve been on the hunt for wool roving. I thought I had checked every crafting outlet nearby….but no luck. I found it online, but didn’t really want to go that route. Usually, I’m not hesitant to buy things online but for some reason I just couldn’t bring myself to order the stupid roving. It wasn’t cheap and that was a large portion of my hesitancy.
Yesterday while shopping local antique stores for Ball glass (for another project) I came across a yarn shop that I had completely forgotten about. They happened to have wool roving. It was all natural though…..no colors. I asked the guy running the shop if he carried to dye and he said he had a few colors, but that you could just dye it with Koolaid. Umm…..excuse me? Did you say…………..Koolaid? Like, the big fat guy who crashed through the wall in the 80’s? Really????
The roving was about $7 for 8oz which is actually quite a bit of wool. I bought 16oz and headed to the grocery store for the Koolaid. I bought several flavors and headed home to surf the web for instructions. Surprisingly, I found TONS of information on the subject.
What you’ll need:
Tongs or a large spoon
Mason jars or saucepans
White vinegar (optional)
Before you get started, be aware that hot wool doesn’t smell particulary fresh. In fact, it flat stinks! You’ll smell the lovely cherry Koolaid and then add the wool and start to gag a touch. It smells like someone is boiling a sheep in cherry jello in your kitchen. Not pleasant. You won’t actually vomit, but you might gag so just be prepared for that.
Heat the water to an “easy” boil and then turn off the heat. Dissolve the Koolaid packet in about a quart of water. More Koolaid = more color. Make sure that it’s thoroughly dissolved. Some people said that they added about 1/4 cup of vinegar to help set the color, but I also read that because Koolaid contains citric acid, you don’t really need to do that.
Submerge the roving in the Koolaid water making sure that all areas get saturated.
Once it’s saturated, place something on top of the wool to keep it all submerged. I used the lid of a smaller pot.
If you use jars instead of a pot, a spoon will hold it down nicely. I didn’t use Koolaid in these jars. I used food coloring. I read that you could do that by using the same process but adding 1/4 cup of vinegar and a teaspoon of salt to your water to set the dye. It’s a little messier than Koolaid because all of the dye doesn’t get absorbed by the wool so you have a bit more rinsing.
When using Koolaid the water will end up being clear. This takes about 45 minutes. After the 45 minutes is up, pour the wool and water into a colander and rinse the wool with room temp-ish water.
Gently press the excess water from the roving and place it on a towel. Press the roving between two layers of towel to remove any remaining water.
Hang the roving to finish drying.
In the image below, the roving circled in red was dyed with food coloring and the roving circled in blue was dyed with Koolaid. I’m having a bit of trouble finding a way to get “true” blue. I keep getting variations of turquoise. They’re still pretty, but not what I’m after. The other thing to be aware of is that the wool absorbs certain colors at different rates. For example, it absorbs red faster than blue. When you’re mixing red and blue for purple it can cause some uneven results. It’s not offensive…..just don’t be alarmed.
So it’s true……you CAN dye wool with Koolaid!!! Who knew? I can’t wait to use it on a project! Stay tuned……