How to Dye with Kool-Aid Drink Mix
Kool-aid as a Non-Toxic Dye
Kool-aid has been around for a long time. The goliath pitcher that broke through the wall to the yells of "Hey, Kool-aid!" probably gave more kids nightmares than any other commercial in history. The sugary fruit flavors made great drinks and incredible popsicles. It would not have been summer without it.
Kool-aid can be used to dye many things including:
- human hair.
If you are "dying" to have grape color highlights or cherry tips then kool-aid may be just what you are looking for.
When used as a fabric or fiber dye, kool-aid makes a safe, nontoxic dye that you can feel comfortable with in any project. It is especially good for projects for babies and small children because they tend to put so many things in their mouths.
Kool-aide has always been about summer and these are some great summer projects to try.
How to dye Hair with Koolaid
- Mix two packets of unsweetened kool-aid mix with about two tablespoons of good hair conditioner.
- Get your hair wet.
- Always use gloves or your hands may be a bright kool-aid color!
- Put on your gloves and work the kool- aid into your hair. Make sure to thickly coat each stand of hair.
- Wrap your head in plastic wrap and leave the kool-aid on your hair for at least six hours or overnight. The longer it stays on the brighter the color will be.
- Rinse well.
Warning, if your hair is naturally dark many colors will not show up unless you bleach it first.
Dying Fiber with Kool-aid
If you are a spinner no doubt you have experimented with natural dyes on your handspun fibers. The rich, autumn colors of goldenrod, walnut and pokeberry are muted and beautiful but if you want something colorful it is hard to find a dye that will get you the color you are looking for.
Kool-aid is great for this. The different fruit flavors make different color dyes and they are really unmatched for brightness and variety. The dye made from kool-aid is long lasting and best of all, completely safe for both children and the environment.
To dye fiber with kool-aid:
- Kool-aid packets in desired color or colors
- Stainless steel or enamel pot
- Spun wool
Adjust the intensity of the dye with the number of packets of kool-aid that you use. Use unsweetened kool-aid and do not add sugar!
As a rule of thumb two packets will be about right for enough yarn to make a scarf. You want the yarn to be totally immersed in the dye. Add ¼ cup of vinegar per quart of kool-aid powder to act as a mordant and set the dye. Heat the mixture with the yarn in it to a boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Stir the yarn around to make sure that it is evenly dyed.
Allow the yarn to cool in the dye. Remove from dye and rinse in cold water until the water runs clear. Squeeze gently as you are rinsing for best results.
Dying Fiber with Kool-aid
Tie-Dying Fabric with Kool-Aid
Tie dying fabric is similar to tie dying fiber. You will need:
- T-shirt or fabric
- Unsweetened kool-aid
- Small plastic bowls, one for each color you want to use
- Plastic gloves
- Rubber bands
1. For every color you are using put one or two packages of Kool-Aid, one quart of boiling water, and one ounce of vinegar in a plastic bowls. Add another packet for a deeper color.
2. Mix until kool-aid is completely mixed in and dissolved.
3. Use the rubber bands to pull and twist the T-shirt (or unbleached muslin) into different sized "ponytails" or bunches.
4. Dip the ends in the different bowls, without mixing colors. Use gloves or your hands will be a mess.
5. Set the colors by ironing on a high heat. Use a press cloth.
6. Set aside for 24 hours
7. Wash separately the first time. Use cold water and a cold water rinse.
Using kool-aid to dye various things can be an addictive hobby. It is fun to mix the different drink packets and come up with new and unusual colors. It is a great project to do with kids because it smells pleasant and the dyes are so nontoxic. They are inexpensive and readily available as well.
Kids love to be creative and this is a great way for them to learn about mordants, the dying process and how to just have a great time with mom!