Frills & Fancy ezine
Kool Dyeing Aid
Lee Menconi-Steiger

At the county fair a few years ago, a weaving groupís booth featured some brilliantly colored wool yarns; amazingly, they had been dyed with Kool-Aid.  I tested it on silk and cotton fabrics, and got the same brilliant results.  I kept the dyed samples for several years, and the fabrics stayed bright and beautiful.

Viscose (a type of rayon and made of wood fiber), silk and mohair will all dye beautifully.  Use light-colored hair, more than you think youíll need.  For purest color, use white hair.  Blonde hair will add yellow tones to the final color, which is fine if you want yellow, orange, or green hair, but will make blue turn green and purple go brownish.  Starting with gray hair will soften any color you dye it, which can also give nice results.

Combine a packet of unsweetened Kool-Aid  with a cup of very hot water and ľ cup of salt (for viscose) or vinegar (for silk or wool) to set the color.  Mix well. 
Note:  I have read that other dry drink mixes also work, but Iíve never tried them.  You can also substitute commercial Rit dye in these directions.

Put the solution in a pan large enough to lay the hair flat (coiled around is OK, but not twisted or scrunched).  The pan should be made of glass, enamel, or stainless steel; donít use iron or aluminum.

Gently lay the hair in the solution (wear gloves if you don't want people asking what happened to your hands), and press it in so it's all thoroughly soaked.  Add more hot water if needed to cover the hair.

The hair fibers will get matted if you mash or twist the hair too much, or change the water temperature drastically, so do not agitate, just let the hair sit in the dye bath.  If you want a very bright color, heat gently (donít boil) on the stove or in the microwave. 

Remove the hair when it is a shade or two darker than you want.  Coil it around your hand and rinse under running water thatís as warm as the dye bath. 

Hang it to dry or lay it out on a sweater-drying screen; do not twist or wring.