DIY: Dyeing Yarn with Koolaide (Part 2) {Spring Through Your Stash}


Part 2: Color Theory

…And not just the ‘normal’ color theory.

There are certain things to consider with Koolaide dyeing when thinking about color choice:

1. A solid or semi-solid dye is going to be easier to start out with, and see if you even want to continue with this. You may find you really hate the way that hot Koolaide smells.

2. While there are some tips and tricks to working with Koolaide and other food dyes, there are some limitations to what you can do with it.

3. It’s a fairly volatile process, so make sure you’re willing to either re-dye or be satisfied with ‘odd’ results. Some of my favorite yarns came from weird results.

4. Dye in big batches, because you may find it hard to replicate a yarn. Even skeins in the same pot will shift slightly, as a general rule.

Tips with working with color:

Koolaide, and even cake dye to a point, are generally pretty saturated, bright colors. Wilton’s and liquid dyes will have a wider color range, and liquid and gel have the added benefit of a black. If you only get one jar of a liquid dye, make it a black.

Blacks have a tendency of doing what’s called ‘breaking’, which is when your color seperates out and dyes into its component colors. Some people really hate breaking and will either overdye or dye another batch in hopes that that one won’t break. I actually love breaking; I want my yarns to look like they’re not machine dyed.

Getting familiar with a color wheel will help adjust the range of colors that you get. Adding a drop or two of green to a red batch will take it from Elmo red to something closer to blood, for example. But don’t overload with contrasting colors or your colors may go rusty or too brown-leaning muted. Which may work out too.

One of the easiest ways of toning down a bright dye pot is by overdying something other than plain white. I rarely dye stark white. You can successfully overdye any color with another color if you keep two things in mind: you have to be dyeing darker, and you have to be willing to take your results.

Finally, for this part of color theory: saturation point. There will come a point where you just have to live with the yarn as it is. You can generally almost always overdye a dark yarn darker, but eventually the yarn will take all the dye it can handle and you’re not going to get anymore color into the fiber.

spring through your stashThis year’s spring Knit-a-long is actually a Craft-a-long. Whatever your favorite craft is, it’s welcome!

The only requirement is that we’re trying to work down stashed materials. Every project that you work on for the CAL should incorporate stashed materials, the more the better. You can purchase materials as necessary, but the majority of your project(s) should use materials you already own. Beyond that, have fun! Knit, spin, crochet, paper craft, sew…whatever moves you! You can follow along in the comments or link up on the Spring Through Your Stash posts up every week. The Craft-a-long will run through the first day of summer.

Bloggers-I have started a new group board on Pinterest. Open to all DIY, craft, food, or other creative blogs, I would love to have you join. Joining instructions are posted on the board-join here.

Please, stop by this week’s Inspired Weekends!

Linked to-

sunny simple life

little house in the suburbs


  1. Thank you for the great information. I am choosing this post as my feature on From the Farm this week. thanks for linking up. I have just started dying the yarns we make from our sheep and goats wool. So much fun. It’s like I am addicted now. – Hope you will come back and link up again this Friday on From the Farm Blog Hop.- Janet @TimberCreekFarm

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