You can mix a wide assortment of colors with Kool Aid and food colors. Just like a painters palette or any kind of color mixing, there are limitless colors that can be obtained with the correct combinations of colors available in Kool Aid and food colors. By making a weak dye bath you can achieve a lighter color, higher saturation will give you a darker, brighter color. Also it is important to recognize that rovings that are dyed will be slightly darker and more vibrant after spinning due to the compression of the fibers. If you take this into consideration you can get close to any color you would like, if you can mix the correct colors, and get the correct saturation.

 

Kool Aid Dye Samples

  1. Changing Cherry with a small amount of strawberry mixed in water
  2. Orange Kool Aid made into a weak dye bath
  3. Lemon Lime Kool Aid in a weak dyebath.

These colors are light because the amount of dye used in relation to the amount of fiber was "weak" such as weak coffee. I usually get a bright color with a fairly high saturation with one package of Kool Aid to one ounce of fiber. You can also vary your results by the amount of time you allow your fiber to sit in a dyebath. If you watch your fiber carefully you can remove it as soon as it is the color you would like and microwave it in a bowl of plain hot water to set the dye.

 

Secondly you can reduce the brightness of a color and change it significantly by adding small amounts of a compliment color to the dye bath. A com pliment is the color across the color wheel from the first color, in this case green and red.  So for the blue gray (# 1) I used Changing Cherry with a small amount of Strawberry dissolved into a pint of water. This pulls the green color over to a blue shade because the green (yellow and blue) and red combine to make a purplish color, and then the small amount of yellow subdues the color. If the Changing Cherry was more yellow , then the result would be a totally different color. So by adding red to the green of Changing Cherry you can get anything from a pretty grassy green to a moss green to an assortment of blues.

 

Blue and gray-green roving

4a. Is also Changing Cherry and strawberry.

4b. Is green liquid food color  mixed with red food color.

 

The results of these two are both nice, and demonstrate the difference in mixing you can obtain with some testing. I added much less strawberry and consequently got a much greener tone, because it wasn't enough to pull the color to a purple tone, just enough to subdue the original Changing Cherry color.

 

Pink and Blue dyed roving

 5.  NEON pink food color

 6.  Some of the same fiber from 5 that was overdyed with Berry Blue.

 

When you dye with the NEON pink, it can make a lovely, bright pink, and when it is then put in Berry Blue (or any blue dyebath) it will change it to a purple color. This is a fun way to get new colors, and also to use up extra amounts of dyebaths.

 Berry Blue dyed roving

7.  A light dyebath of just Berry Blue. 

When looking at the dyebath, it will usually be the color that the wool will be if the proportion of dye to wool is high enough. If you put one package of Berry Blue Kool Aid in 4 quarts of water with one ounce of fiber, that fiber will be dark and reflect the same color as the bath. If you put in 8 ounces of fiber, then the fiber will come out very pale. This happens because of the way the dyeing actually occurs. Instead of coloring the fiber, the dye is actually absorbed by the fiber, so the more fiber, the lighter the color. Conversely the less fiber the darker the finished product. Because of this it may seem that your dye bath color isn't the same as your finished fiber, because the dye is diluted or concentrated in the fiber after dyeing.

 

Another consideration is that some colors will give you some strange results so use them with caution. Wilton's Violet, Royal Blue, and Delphinium Blue are a few, the reason is that they contain Red #3, which can be challenging to work with. For these colors, please look at the Wilton's dye section for instructions.