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How to Dye Yarn

Updated on May 14, 2012

How to Dye Yarn using Acid Dyes

Now that I'm on summer break I finally have time to write more often. So I decided it would be a fun idea to give a little how to on dyeing yarn. Personally I enjoy using acid dye yarns, which are what I show in this little how to on how I paint my own yarn. Photos and this how-to are taken and done by me, Tails&Snouts.

What You'll Need:

- Water


-saran wrap

-Acid dyes of your choice

-yarn to dye

-plastic cups

-paint brushes

-Small bowl that isn't used for food (microwavable)

-Large bowl to soak yarn in

-Gloves (unless you want multicolored hands)

-Either a table you don't mind getting dyed or an old towel and a large piece of cardboard

-Mesh bags optional if you want to throw yarn into spin cycle

superwash merino yarn soaking in vinegar/water bath
superwash merino yarn soaking in vinegar/water bath

Step 1

First start off by soaking the yarn in a water vinegar mix for about 5-10 minutes. Enough time so that the yarn has absorbed as much of the liquid as it can. If the yarn is not given enough time it will have dry spots where the dye will not be absorbed, leaving white spots. Once the yarn has been soaking for awhile remove from the bowl and allow the excess liquid to drain out of the yarn.

Step 2

As the yarn drains set up your area. For me I first laid down my large piece of cardboard then placed my old towel over it. Then placed a large sheet of saran warp to place the yarn on.

Step 3

With the yarn placed on top of the saran warp have your acid dye prepared. To prepare the acid dye just place a small amount in the bottom of the plastic cup and add water. Now you can start to dye/paint your yarn, but don't forget your gloves. You can paint your yarn any color or in any pattern you want. For this yarn I was doing different shades of one color by adding more water to the dye as I painted. Don't forget to paint both sides of the yarn.

Step 4

Once you've completed your painting it's time to wrap your yarn. Take both long sides of the saran wrap and fold it on top of the yarn. Next take the short ends and fold those in.

Step 5

Next roll the saran wrapped yarn into a roll.

Step 6

Placed the rolled yarn into the "no food" microwavable bowl and put into the microwave for 1 minute. Once the minute is up let it rest for another minute. Then put the yarn in for 1 more minute. After that take the yarn to the sink and let it rest for a bit. Then carefully, with water running, remove the yarn from the saran wrap. The yarn may be extremely hot so be careful not to get burned. Once the yarn is out of the saran wrap rise the yarn till the water runs clear.

Finished Product

Lastly find a place to hang the yarn where it can dry. Once the yarn is finished drying you get to become the proud creator of your own hand dyed yarn.

Finished hand dyed yarns

Click thumbnail to view full-size

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    • profile image

      Knitty46 15 months ago

      Can you use any type of yarn?. Where can you purchase the dyes from? I love to do my own yarn dying.

    • profile image

      madyasa 17 months ago

      i was wondering how much Watt the microwave was set on?

    • profile image

      Lynnb 19 months ago

      How much vinegar in how much water?

    • Caromite profile image

      Caromite 5 years ago

      Nice tutorial :) I dyed sock yarn a few months ago and it was really fun!

    • tailsandsnouts profile image

      tailsandsnouts 5 years ago

      @WriterJanis2: Thanks! :)

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      Great instructions!

    • tailsandsnouts profile image

      tailsandsnouts 5 years ago

      @jennabee25: Thanks, dyeing yarn and fiber is probably one of my favorite things to do right now. :)

    • jennabee25 profile image

      Jenn Dixon 5 years ago from PA

      Wonderful lens! This is definitely something I want to try.