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Alternate Processes – How to dye yarn with Kool Aid Drink Mix Powder?

By Gina Rockenwagner on February 11, 2020

alternate processes dyeing with kool aid drink

One of the most readily available sources of yarn dye is actually available at your local supermarket! Colorful products like food coloring gel and drink mix powders can be used to dye yarn some beautiful colors. Today we’ll show you how to dye yarn with Kool Aid and Hawaiian Punch drink mix powders.


  • 1 skein of Knomad yarn – We used Eggshell, a blend of 70% super wash merino wool and 30% nylon. We love how the super wash merino wool soaks up color in this easy technique, but feel free to use any of our yarns, super wash or not.
  • Sugar free powdered drink mix like Kool Aid or Hawaiian Punch. It’s very important to use SUGAR FREE drink mix.
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Plastic wrap
  • A microwave oven

Optional materials:

  • One zip tie
  • Rubber gloves



Step 1:

If you’re using the zip tie, thread the end through the loop of the yarn skein and zip it closed, loosely, around the yarn.

Fill a tub large enough to fit the skein of yarn with water. Add a splash of vinegar. Since the drink mix powder contains citric acid, vinegar is not a vital part of the pre-soak. We are using it here to ensure the color sticks to the yarn. Allow the yarn to soak for at least one hour.

Step 2:

While your yarn soaks, lay out a sheet of plastic wrap about 10” longer than your skein of yarn. Remove the yarn from the water bath, gently squeezing out any excess liquid. You want the yarn to be damp, but not dripping with water.

Step 3:

Lay the yarn out on the plastic wrap with about 5” of plastic wrap extending past the ends of the yarn skein on each end. Flatten out the yarn to make more surface area for the color to attach to.

Step 4:

Sprinkle the dry powder on the yarn. Feel free to use as many colors/flavors as you like. We used Pink Lemonade which gave a pink color to the yarn, and Hawaiian Punch in grape flavor, which is a purple color. We don’t recommend using too much drink mix powder because the colors can mix together and turn brown if too saturated. Experiment and try different combinations and amounts, but we recommend using 3 packets of drink mix or less for the first skein!

Flip the skein and apply powder to the other side for even color dispersal.

Step 5:

Fold/roll up your yarn as we did in the video. Starting lengthwise, fold about 1/4 of the plastic wrap over the yarn. Fold in 1/4 again, then in 1/4 once more. Your yarn should be roughly sealed in a long tube shape now. Smooth your hands over the yarn length wise, pressing out any air that might be sealed in the tube. Now, roll up the tube loosely. You will have a roll that resembles a cinnamon bun. Your yarn is now ready to set!

Step 6:

Place the yarn on a non metal plate. Microwave the yarn on high for 2 minutes. Carefully (yarn will be hot!) flip over the roll, and microwave again for 2 minutes on the other side.

Step 7:

Let the yarn sit until it is cool to the touch. Unroll the yarn and remove from the plastic wrap tube.

Fill the water bath with water and a drop of detergent. Gently drop in the yarn, allowing it to soak for a minute or two. Remove the yarn from the bath and dump out the water. Fill the bath again with clear water. Drop in the skein to rinse. Remove the yarn, squeezing out any excess liquid. Hang the yarn to dry before admiring your beautiful finished hand dyed yarn!

Share what you’re creating with Knomad yarn using the hashtag #knomadyarn !

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Gina Rockenwagner

Gina Fama Röckenwagner (she/her) is a color-obsessed knit designer and textile artist based in Los Angeles, California. Her work has been featured in Vogue Knitting, Pom Pom Quarterly, and Purl Soho’s eponymous blog. She founded her line of soft, comfortable, and size-inclusive clothing, SOFT HAUS, in 2015. When not working on yarn-related endeavors, Gina can be found quilting, biking, baking and watching trashy tv with her cats, Paloma and Blooper.

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