DIY: Yarn Dyeing with Food Color

Hey Everyone, 

Long time no see. It's been awhile since but I think this one is a great one and will make up for lost time.

I'm going to teach you how to dye natural protein fibers with things you may already have in your kitchen. Yup that's right you heard correct. I'd like to give a huge shout out to Sarah over at for having such a helpful site. This is why I'm bringing it to you guys. So let's just get right into then shall we. 

Things you'll need:
Gloves ( to protect you hands)
Microwave safe containers (this is for the dye baths)
Food Color ( Wilton's, McCormick's or Kool-aid the unsweetened kind)
Paper towel or Cloth towel (optional)
Tongs (optional)
Measuring Cup (liquid)
Measuring Spoons
Natural Protein based fiber ( Wool, Wool Blend, Alpaca, Angora, Silk)
Scale (optional)
measuring tape/ruler

OK so the things that I used are a 12pk of Mason Jar for canning, 4pk of Mcc Neon food color and 4pk of Mcc Assorted food color, Vinegar, Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool 100% virgin wool. 

This tutorial is going to show you the steps you need to get about 96 colors excluding anything in the black family. 

Dye bath ratio will be as followed. 
4 drops food color
1tsp vinegar
8oz water
3 yards of yarn or .2 oz if you're using a scale

(you just want to make sure you have enough water to cover the yarn so that it doesn't burn or scorch in the microwave) 

Getting Started:

1. measure and cut as many 3 yard mini skeins as you're going to need. 
2. Soak mini skeins in warm water with a touch of vinegar for about 15 to 20 minutes (this will help with the dye take up in the bath later)
3. prepare dye baths ( follow the dye bath ratio above. just make sure that for every 8oz of water you use 1tsp of vinegar . the dye drops do in multiples of 4 and your yarn yardage will vary you just need to make sure that the water covers all your yarn)

Dyeing Yarn:

1. Pull 1 skein at a time from the pre soak and place it in your dye bath. 
2. Place dye bath container in your microwave and heat on HIGH for 1 minutes remove check temp, if it reads 180 degrees Good. if not put it back in for another minute and check temp again until it reaches 180 degrees. remove from microwave and let sit for 30 - 45 or until cool enough to touch. 

*Depending on how much yarn is in your bath the dye will have exhausted and your water should be clear. with smaller test batches will probably still have dye in the water. 

3. Empty out dye bath and rinse off the yarn in warm water and squeeze out yarn till water runs clear. Let yarn dry. 

So that's it's you've dyed you're yarn. It's that simple.

Hints and Tips:

Blue dyes may need a little more vinegar to help take and some extra heat setting as well. 

So here are some pics of the color batches so far. I will be posting the other results in the next couple of days as they are finished.

Upon finishing the red tests I've noticed that my first 3:1 batch seemed a little odd and that it produced shades of pink which confused me and caused me to redo it which in turn produced the proper colors. I think it's due to the fact that the vinegar I used for that first batch was from the yellow tests that had been sitting out over night and may have lost some of it's punch because the heat and the drop ratio were correct.
So I guess this a happy accident that produced some nice shades of pink for me.

Operation DIY Paillettes !

Hey Everyone, 

So here I am with a brand new DIY project. It's for making Paillettes on a pretty reasonable budget. 

I'll start off with a little back story on why I choose this as a project to take on. I've always loved shine things and i've always love 70's type fashion, plus i've been eye balling this knitted dress pattern for ages and though "well hell paillettes would just set this thing off." So on went the retail research with no luck. I did find them and at a great price but shipping was really unreasonable. Still buying them isn't totally out of the question after this though. Now on with the tutorial.

First you'll need to gather some supplies. 

Acetate Sheets ( Transparency film ) this is the stuff you can find at an office supply store for over head projectors. You'll want to get the type you write on and cannot be printed on using printers. Basically what I'm trying to say is make sure they are 100% CLEAR! :)

Adhesive - some kind of glue. You can use mod podge, watered down elmers, watered down tacky glue ect... I used a basting spray or temporary spray adhesive for this demo. 

Transfer foil - You'll find this stuff in most craft and hobby stores and online. It can get a little pricey but if you know what you're looking for you'll get some good deals. It's also the same as heat transfer foil used on T-Shirts. Some brands you can look for are, Martha Stewart Crafts, Tulip I love to create, Simply Silk Screen Foils, YuDu Foils, Jones Tones and any Screen Printing supply place on line will usually have it. 

 (LEFT: Jones Tones Rainbow Foil / CENTER: Martha Stewart Crafts Foil / RIGHT: YUDU Foil )

Die Cutting Machine - I used a Cricut Expression but which ever cutting machine you have access too will work. 

Computer of Laptop - I used a laptop cause it's easy to take up and down stairs 

Software that will work with your cutting machine - I used sure cuts a lot 2 but like I said which ever will work with your machine.

Also you'll need something to smooth down the foil and something to scrape up the paillettes from the cutting mat.

OK, so now that you've gather all you're supplies let's begin to make something shall we. 

Step 1: In researching Paillettes I've come to notice there was a standard size and 2 forms of that size. 20mm and with a small and large hole. Since the paillettes I want need to work with knitting I need to make the large hole style and the hole is usually 4mm to 6mm. Since my software doesn't have a milometer setting and only works in inches I had to do some conversion. 20mm is roughly 3/4th of an inch and hole needs to be roughly .20 to .25 or 1/4 of an inch. You can make the paillette larger but for what I want to do I kept it at a standard size. but 1 inch circle wouldn't hurt. 

I've also set it up so that it's fitting a 8.5 x 11in sheet. there are 10 across and 12 down for a total of 120 pieces.If you happen to purchase the 12x12 sheets of acetate film you can fit 13pcs x 13pcs on a sheet. 

Step 2: Preparing your film. you'll want to cover you're work area to protect it. Apply you adhesive to the film and let dry till it is tacky. I used a spray adhesive so it got tacky pretty quickly. Next you'll want to cut your foil transfer sheet a little bigger then your transparency film. Yes you'll waste some product but it's really not that much that you'll need to worry about cost. 
Once you've cut your foil sheet to size lay the foil sheet onto the sticky side of the transparency with the foil side facing up. Use your smoothing tool to rub over the foil making sure that it's sticking. Let everything sit for a couple of seconds to make sure it is bonding. You can now peel the foil off. Since I used spray adhesive I got a distressed look to my foil.

Step 3: Now that your film is ready follow your machines instructions on how to feed your materials. Since I used a Cricut Expression. I placed it on my sticky mat and loaded it in. Now I setup my machines cutting setting. with this film I have the blade @ 5 the pressure @med/high or 4 and the speed @ low/med or 2. Then I pressed cut on the software.

Step 4: Once everything is done cutting. Take it out of the machine and peel away the exterior part of the cutting. Then start popping the paillette pieces off the mat with a scrapper or spatula.
In this process you'll probably lose some and or get some defected or broken ones.

And here is your finished product. Not bad for a DIY project. A little time consuming but I really enjoyed the process and when the whole project I plan to use these in is complete I can actually say I made everything.

My next test with the film is alcohol inks and I need to find some iridescent stuff too. The foils come in all kinds of styles besides the metallic so you may want to try different things out. When I try the Alcohol Inks out I'll post about that as well.

Thanks for joining me and sharing in my experience. Til next time.

Long Over Due !

WOW! I am long over due for an update to this blog. As of tonight I think I will commit to updating once a week on my day off. Unless there is nothing to blog about.

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