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How to dye thread with food coloring?


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Well, as long what you crocheted is made from a protein fiber, like wool, mohair, alpaca, or angora, you can dye it with food coloring. Nylon, silk, and soy silk will also dye well with food coloring. However, plant fibers, like cotton or linen, and synthetic fibers like acrylic, will not dye with food coloring.


That being said - there are lots of ways to actually go about the dyeing process. If you're using liquid food coloring drops, you're going to need a mordant - something [an acid] to set the dye in the fiber. You can use vinegar, which is cheap but kinda stinky, or citric acid - you can find it at health food stores, and I just read an old thread yesterday that recommended using the colorless Kool-Aid flavor Arctic Lemonade for the citric acid in it. You can also use Kool-Aid with colors, Wilton's Icing Dye, and Easter egg dyes to get different results.


You can put the dye on the item however you want - immerse it in a dye bath, paint or baste the dye on, tye dye it, etc. Once you do that, you need to heat your project to set the dye... For wool, a basic guide is nuke for 2 minutes, rest for 2, nuke for 2 more. Check your water and see if it's clear - the fiber will "suck" up the dye. [This doesn't always happen, though - depends on the dye and the fiber.] Some people use five minute intervals. You can also use your stovetop, but I've never done that. Make sure you don't agitate your project and felt it if it's not meant to be felted.


Once you've cooked it, let it sit for awhile, until it gets cool enough that you can handle it. Then, run your water until it gets to the same temperature as the wool - you don't want temp differences cuz they will cause felting. [Or, if you want felting, then maybe you do.] Rinse your project thoroughly, until the water runs clear. Gently squeeze out excess water, then roll up in towels to get more moisture out. Shape your item and lay out to dry... Wha-lah! Dyed item.

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