{How To} Dyeing to make your silk hankies look kool?


{How to} Kool Aid Dye

First things first,  I do not apologise unreservedly for the dreadful puns in the title of this post.

Secondly, I tried to take beautiful photos of each stage of this process I really did but imagine a wet, soft, slightly lumpy mass of silk hankies soaking in a shallow bath of deep red liquid….it’s straight from a horror film! The finished hankies are very pretty though so more photos of them instead.

Now on to the scentsational new dye I found when I should have been food shopping….

I will not be the first person to tell you that Kool Aid stains everything it touches. But this can be a good thing. Just ask pinterest.

Kool aid and hankies

You will need:

  • 1 ounce / 30 grams silk hankies
  • 2 x packets ‘red’ Kool Aid (pretty sure I used one cherry and one tropical punch)
  • 1 x packet Grape Kool aid
  • dye bath (I used a Pyrex oven dish)
  • white vinegar

A word to the wise, silk hankies stick to EVERYTHING. No matter how smooth and soft you think your hands are, silk hankies are here to tell you that you are very much mistaken. Moisturise your hands before you start!

1.) The hankies need to be completely saturated so that they can soak up all the dye. Fill a large deep tray with enough water to completely cover the hankies and add 3 tablespoons of vinegar. The vinegar isn’t essential as there is plenty of citric acid in the Kool aid already but it can’t hurt. The edges of the hankies can take quite a while to get completely soaked through, you know the fibres are saturated when they darken and stop looking ‘white’. You might need to weight the fabric down to hold it under the water. I used yoghurt pots full of water because that was what I had but anything smooth, heavy and waterproof you have to hand will be fine!

Preheat your oven to 175F, 80C.

2.) Pour out a little of the water. Pour one packet of grape Kool Aid at one end of the tray, two packets of ‘red’ Kool aid at the other end and allow the dye to fully diffuse through the hankies, you can press on the hankies with your hands to help the dye spread if you need to.

3.) Once you are happy with the colours put the dye bath and hankies into the oven and check it every 20 minutes. The dyeing process is complete when the dye bath is clear, or the fibres can’t absorb any more of the dye. I left my hankies in the oven for an hour in total as the red colouring never really disappeared. Maybe I gave up too easily but the purple had completely gone from the dye bath and the red tint to the dye bath wasn’t changing so I figured enough was enough!

Kool aid dye drying hankies

4.) Let the bath cool then gently lift out your hankies, lay them in a colander and rinse them VERY gently in cold running water. When I rinsed my hankies the water ran red for quite a while. This might be because they needed more heat to help fix the colour, or it might just be that the red colourings in the Kool aid are not very colourfast. *Note to self – I need a crafting microwave!* Use a tiny squirt of whatever dish soap you have on your sink for one final rinse of your hankies and then you can lay them out to dry on a rack or peg them out to dry.

Originally I bought the silk hankies to add extra colour and texture to my wet felting and I thought they might look cool on the outside of some lanterns. With the red colour still running out of the hankies I think wet felting with them is probably out of the question. So instead I have decided to try and spin them on my drop spindle. Sounds good huh? The only thing is I have never used my drop spindle before and I have a feeling this isn’t going to be the easiest way to learn. I’ll let you know how I get on!

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