Dyeing Wool Roving with Kool-Aid

dyeing_wool_rovingWool roving is wool that has been washed, combed, and carded into a thick strand to be spun or felted. Wool roving can easily be dyed into any color for any project you have in mind. One way of dyeing wool roving is using Kool-Aid. I know this sounds kind of weird but it is perfect for the budget crafter, easy and a fun way of dyeing the roving into bright colors. Plus, it makes the kitchen smell wonderful and it works without any mordants. Once you have dyed your wool roving, you are ready to felt away!

Things you need:
Kool-Aid Packets (unsweetened; colors of your choice)
Large Pan
Wool Roving

Things to do:
1. First, a quart (one quart per packet of Kool-Aid) of water to the point of an almost rolling boil. You do not want your pot of water to be completely boiling because this may actually irritate the wool and begin to felt it. Once you have a low boiling pot, simply pour in the Kool-Aid packet with the color of your choice. The colors are basically what the name says, but feel free to experiment! Stir the pot until the Kool-Aid has completely dissolved.
2. Unwrap your wool roving so that it is one long strand. Turn your stove off and place the wool roving strand into the pot slowly. Let your wool roving sit in the pot for 45 minutes to an hour. Dyeing your wool roving is a natural process and this means that your wool roving will probably not dye evenly. To increase the odds of a more even dye, simply make sure that the wool roving is always submerged completely in the dye. You can use kitchen utensils such as spatulas or something similar to hold the wool roving down as it sits in the pot. If you are going for a more “tie-dyed” look then just let the roving sit in the pot and don’t worry about holding it down in the dye.
3. After the wool roving is done sitting in the dye, pour the pot’s contents into a colander (you can also just out pour the water out and just hold back the wool roving as it is being poured). Remember to be careful because the pot of water may still be hot and can still burn you. Rinse the wool roving off with water and wring out the excess until no water drips. Wrap your wool roving into a towel to dry it off even further. Do this carefully so that you will not irritate the wool and begin the felting process. Let your dyed wool roving completely dry before you begin use. This may take up to several days.

Project Notes:
Since Kool-Aid is a food product and contains no harsh chemicals like other dyeing products, it is safe to use your normal everyday pots and utensils. Just make sure that you wash them before you prepare any food.

You can reduce the color intensity by reducing the amount of Kool-Aid you pour into your water or by letting the wool sit in the dye for a shorter period of time.

This method obviously stains and dyes things, so be sure that you wear clothes you don’t care about and some gloves.

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  1. I am trying out this dyeing technique using kool-aid. I have to ask, how did you get the yellow to come out so vibrant? Mine is still transparent. The color did not set into the cloth I was using. I used regular white cotton cloth.

    1. Thanks for your questions Tammy, I would try adding more of the kool aid color in your mix. So if you would like a deeper yellow, trying adding more of the yellow (Pina-Pineapple) kool aid mix. You could also try letting your cloth sit longer in the dye mix. If the stove technique isn’t working for you, you could also try heating the mix in the microwave. The mixture of heat and more dye should help you get a more vibrant color. I hope this helps, please let me know if you have any other questions! Ill try to help as much as I can.

  2. I am planning on dyeing a Rommey fleece that I have skirted and washed. Can I dye the fiber at this stage before I hand card it? Thanks much.