Here's what Lisa had to say about Dying With Kool-Aid: Can't you just see that huge pitcher of frosty cold sugary goodness come crashing through a wall in my house? Of course my kids would be thrilled to bits since I make them drink healthy stuff like milk. Awwwwww Mom! Anyway, this isn't about my kids or a huge multi-million dollar ad campaign. This is about using Kool-Aid to color mohair and just about anything else that gets in the way. I had a scare earlier this year when I kept going to supermarkets and seeing the Kool-Aid being marked down and put in the clearance aisle. There was a new Kool-Aid on the shelf which had all the flavor but none of the color! I gasped in horror as besides RIT dye, Kool-Aid has been a staple in my teddy tool box for years as it produces some wonderful colors that will NOT wash out. Seriously. It would take all the Clorox in the world and perhaps some other super high tech industrial strength stain removers to get this stuff out! I've had a bear that I tie-dyed in Kool-Aid and had sitting in the sun when I lived in Charleston that did NOT fade. Yikes! Extremely powerful and can only make you wonder what it does to your internals. Luckily, I don't drink it, I just use it to dye mohair and fabric.
For my dye recipe, I do my dying on the stove top in a huge pot. I use 1 packet per quart of water plus I add 1/4 cup of vinegar. So if you were using a gallon of water you'd add 4 packets of Kool-Aid plus one cup of vinegar. I heat that up on the stove top and let it cool down. Once it's cooled down so it's not boiling hot (because if you put your mohair in when it's boiling hot it will frizz your mohair - at least that's what I've learned over the years) you can put some wet mohair into your pot and stir it around. If you're using your hands, wear gloves or they will be stained too! I leave it in for about an hour and then rinse it out thoroughly until your water runs clear, brush the mohair in the direction you want and hang it to dry outside. To tie-dye a piece of fabric, I wet a piece of white fabric and then starting at a corner I twist it like you are going to snap a towel at someone (c'mon, now who hasn't done that at the pool when you were a kid?). I use rubber bands intermittently along my twist to create white creases. I usually have three different dye baths on the stove including one red, one blue and one yellow. Then, I dip the fabric in each bath starting at the end, sometimes overlapping colors and sometimes just having a single color until I get to the end. I put the wet twisted fabric into a plastic container and take it to the sink where I rinse it until the water comes clear, cut off the rubber bands and unwind it to reveal the pattern I've created. Then just brush it and hang it outside to dry.
Riley, the bear pictured in the photo above, was done a couple of years ago using the 2 packs of Black Cherry and 2 packs of Fruit Punch. The red fabric was vibrant! If you want a softer effect, use less Kool-Aid.
P.S. If you can't find Kool-Aid in your area and you're thinking of using Jello instead, think again. Jello has sugar and I think that the sugar residue will remain in your fabric making it a target for bugs. Just my opinion though...
Lisa's Bio: Lisa is a professional teddy bear artist selling heirloom quality collectible bears to Adults and has been making bears professionally since November 1997. Her creations have been nominated for several Awards including the TITA, Teddy Bear Scene Reader's Choice Awards and the Ace Awards. They've also been included on a regular basis in many of the major doll and crafts magazines.
Copyright © 2007-2012 - All Rights Reserved - Lisa Bunting Thoms of Q.D. Patooties