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Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Yarn Dyeing Tutorial

           Yarn Dyeing with Wilton Cake icing colorings

$.6.98 at amazon.  I also found them at Hobby Lobby and Michaels craft stores.

Supplies: small glass bowl(I used custard cups), wilton icing coloring, something to stir with and small funnel that fits into the opening of your bottle. Squeeze bottle that holds about a 8 oz.


1. In a small bowl add about 1/2 of small container of Wilton Cake icing coloring to about 1/4 cup of warm/hot water.  I use a craft stick or popscicle stick.  Elsa used coffee stirrers and mini whisk.

2.  Mix, gently, with the stick till it looks mostly melted.  It won't all melt right away.

3. Pour into a clean empty squeeze bottle with a small funnel. 

4. Add warm water to shoulder or about 1/4 of an inch from the top. Add white vinigar to the near top. Shake to mix and set aside for a few days. Shaking now and then to blend.  The extra time will make sure  unmixed dye melts into the water. 

NOTE: If pastels are more your thing you can use less coloring and more water.  You might have to play with it a bit. 
If you have Easter egg dyes(tablets) I use 1 to accomplish the same thing as 1/2 a container of Cake icing colors. You can also use food colorings mixed with water and vinegar.


I'm going to write this like your doing it at home. 
100% wool works best but can be used with 90%  I think silk would work also. And, as we saw, you can dye wool felted items.  It was suggested 100% wool clothing could be dyed in this way.  Tie Dye gone crazy.  Of course you can use this on roving as well.

First place warm water in your sink and lay yarn(s) in for about 10min. While thats soaking-

Use cookie sheet or something with sides to lay out plastic wrap.  You can overlap 2 layers side by side if the skeins are on the large side.

Remove yarn from sink squeezing the water out gently.  You can lightly ring it but think "gentle". Superwash yarn won't shrink but others will. It should NOT be dripping.

Put on rubber gloves. Hair Dye gloves are good as are kitchen gloves. You might want an apron.

Lay the yarn to be dyed on the plastic wrap and gently squeeze your dye(s) onto the yarn.  The wet yarn will allow the colors to expand into the surrounding area.  You can use your gloved hand to move the dye into surrounding areas, also.  Use several colors to make it more fun. Drip the colors here and there...experiment.

When done fold the long sides of the plastic over the yarn and then roll from the short end to make a small package.  If you didn't use TO MUCH dye it shouldn't drip.  Place in the microwave for about 2 min.  If its really a large skein you might need more time.  If small less time.  Leave in microwave to cool or put into a container to cool.  Be aware its going to be scalding hot. I would use tongs. So protect your hands.  Be aware that if the dye gets on pot holders it may dye them.

Let your yarn cool naturally.  You can open your little plastic package..avoid steam burns!! 

Put enough warm water in your sink to cover your yarn.  When the yarn is comfortable for you to pick up. Place yarn in sink do not agitate.  It could shrink your yarn (felt).  If water stays clear.. YEAH!  You've done it.  Gently squeeze out water so it won't drip threw the house and loop it over the hook of a hanger that you will hang in your shower or someplace it can drip without damaging anything.  I put them outside hanging from the rain gutters or planter hooks in the summer time.

NOTE: When rinsing, if color seems to be coming out, pour about 1/4 cup of white vinegar into the rinse water and let sit for 10 or 15 min.  Drain sink if you only have the one and refill and rinse again.
The rinsing is mostly to make sure the dye has taken. It was mentioned it also rinses out the excess vinegar.

a few similar tutorials I found are :

A good source for the yarns and sock blanks is

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