When I was a kid, nothing said summer like a tall, strong glass of Kool-Aid.
Grape was always my variety of choice. That intense fake grape flavor with a few ice cubes clinking around in the glass...oh man. Bring on the purple mustache.
But did you know, since Kool-Aid is actually colored with all synthetic dyes, you can use it to [very easily] dye yarn and other natural fibers? You don't even need to add anything to make the dye colorfast, it's acidic enough on its own. It actually dyes so well that it makes me feel strange that I used to drink the stuff. And bonus - it makes your yarn smell like it was marinated in liquid Starbust.
|caffeine free, oh good|
You could do all one color, but since it's so easy, it's really fun to play around with several different flavors and see what happens when they mix. To make the yarn in the picture all you need is some natural undyed 100% wool yarn [acrylic won't work], 5 different packets of Kool-Aid [make sure you get the unsweetened kind], a pyrex dish and a microwave.
The yarn I used was Knit Picks Bare 100% Peruvian Wool:
There are tutorials a'plenty on this subject all across the internet, but since I did a little batch of my own dyeing a few weeks ago, I thought I'd throw my two cents in. So here's what I did:
UPDATE: If you'd like to see what this yarn looks like knitted, here are some pictures.
Kool-Aid Dyed Yarn [variegated colors]
100% wool yarn
1 packet each of unsweetened cherry, orange, grape, lemonade & black cherry Kool-Aid
Pyrex dish - 8" square or loaf size work well
1. If your yarn is in a ball, rewrap it into a big open skein, like in the first picture of the post. You can do this by looping it around your arm or the back of a chair.
2. Fill the Pyrex dish with a few inches of water. Add the cherry Kool-Aid and mix until dissolved.
3. Put the dish in the microwave. Place one end of the skein of yarn into the Kool-Aid water, squishing it down a little. Let the rest of the skein hang out on the floor of the microwave.
4. Microwave for 5 minutes or so, stirring every minute to make sure the yarn isn't floating. You'll know the yarn is done when all the dye has been absorbed and the Kool-Aid water becomes clear.
5. Carefully remove the dish and yarn [it's hot!] and dump into a collander in the sink. Rinse the yarn with warm water a little bit until it's cool enough to touch.
6. Now mix up the next color in the dish [I used orange]. Put it back in the microwave. Submerge the next section of the yarn skein into the Kool-Aid, letting the red end and undyed end hang out over either edge. Microwave for another 5 minutes, stirring every minute.
[NOTE: At this point the yarn will act as a wick and suck some of the water out of the dish and into the bottom of your microwave. It's not that hard to clean up, since there is no sugar, but make sure you use junk towels to clean up because they'll probably get Kool-aid stained.]
7. Repeat for the two remaining colors [I did grape, then lemonade]. If you want at the very end, you can submerge the entire skein into a single color to change the overall look. I used 1/2 packet of black cherry over the whole thing to temper the colors and 'unite' them more.
8. Rinse the yarn until the water runs clear. Place it in a towel and gently push the towel to soak up some of the water. Hang the skein up to dry.