I have been racking my brain for an easy, not complicated way to dye wool for my kids fiber class, and I think I have got it ! I started with giving them all a bag of unwashed, raw wool of multiple different animals. This allowed them to see what different textures, animals, breeds, etc felt like..and what a vast amount of differences they found!..We went through , cleaning, washing,.picking..etc ..now , I needed to show them color!
Wool can be dyed using various methods, some can be toxic, some can be from your garden , natural dying , etc..but I thought , if I am teaching kids ..teach something easy, teach with stuff they can get from their house and with stuff they probably already have…so, koolaid was the obvious choice.
Heres what to do , to dye fibers (animal) with koolaid.
first, you need : heat protective gloves or tongs (wool and water get hot!)
Two to three pyrex bowls…This is all food safe. no need to buy separate pans or bowls here
a towel for drying
koolaid packets in colors of your choice (remember the color wheel , too many different ones will make brown) I used two to three per bowl
cleaned and dried wool of your choice , I had about 4-5 ounces of wool
Take your two pyrex bowl, divide the wool in half and put a pile in each bowl.
Now fill the bowls up with the warmest water you can get out of your tap..remember not to agitate the wool or it will felt. I did not stir it at all, or agitate it at all, even during the dying portion. I wanted it to be varied in color and not even, more artfull and natural ..plus, this eliminates the kids from touching it or getting burned …
But.. do make sure the water covers the wool. Gently, with the tongs, push the wool into the water to cover it . Now, let it sit for at least 15 to 20 minutes..to allow the wool to get up to temp and get fully saturated.
once the 15 minutes were over, I chose one of the bowls and three packets of koolaid. I just sprinkled the koolaid over the top of the wool..again ..not mixing it..but, allowing it to blend naturally….this took about one minute.
now, place your bowl in to the microwave..can use the hot pads if the bowl is still hot..and put it on high for 3 minutes. Without opening the door, allow it to site for three minutes. now, put it on high again for three minutes, then let it rest again for 3 minutes.
now , open the door and check it …do not touch it ..it will be hot!!..get your tongs and press the wool away from the side of the bowl..if the water is clear…it done!..If not , keep repeating these steps until the water is clear, or mostly clear …this means that the wool has absorbed the dye…the heat is setting the dye in to the wool..and there is no need for any vinegar, or setting ingredient, since the koolaid has a high amount of citric acid already …
now, once the water is clear…you can remove the bowl with the wool in it …CAUTION..it is extremely hot!!!..be very careful not to burn your self..
Carry it to your sink, with the colander in the sink, carefully pour the hot wool in to it to drain the water….carefully!…once its drained…use your gloves and drop the wool on the towel..now you can allow the wool to remain there until its cooler..or you can gently roll it in the towel…no agitation or you will get felt!…
Now, repeat for the second bowl.
Here I did blue and red …
now, step back and look at your awesome, unique, hand dyed wool!…cant wait to see what you do!!!
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