Dyeing Wool Yarn with Speckles (Kool Aid!)

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Learn how easy it is to Hand Dye Speckled Yarn or Confetti Yarn

Speckled Yarn, Sprinkled Yarn, Spotted Yarn or Confetti Yarn. Whatever you care to call this fun yarn dyeing technique, it’s all the rage right now! With good reason. Not only is this unique yarn fun to crochet or knit with, this is also a super cool way to hand dye yarn. I love the random, speckled effect.

I took a little break from all of the wool felting and dyeing last week to play with alcohol inks … oh, what fun! However, there are still a few more yarn dyeing techniques that I have to tackle and get on the blog. This week, I decided to try my hand at dyeing wool yarn with speckles.

Hand dyed yarn with speckles or sprinkles

Table of Contents

We have lots of different fiber related tutorials on the blog. If you’re new to dyeing, may be interested in my Beginner’s Guide to Hand Dyeing Yarn and 6 Yarn Dyeing Techniques. Also, if you’re looking for specific dyeing methods, check out How to Kettle Dye Yarn, Hand Painting Yarn and
Dyeing Yarn with a Slow Cooker or Crock Pot
and How to Heat Set Yarn Dyes


What is Speckled Yarn?

Basically, speckled yarn is exactly what it sounds like: yarn that has been dyed to have speckles or spots. With this technique, each skein will be unique even if the same dye colors are used. There is simply no way to repeat the pattern of specks from skein to skein.

Dyeing Wool Yarn with Speckles and Kool Aid

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Since I was just experimenting with this new-to-me yarn dyeing technique, I used Kool-Aid drink powder instead of my usual professional Jacquard Acid Dyes.

Kool-Aid makes a great yarn dye that’s easy to find and comes in a rainbow of bright colors. Plus, it’s non-toxic food coloring so a good option for a beginner or for dyeing yarn or wool with kids. Here’s my basic tutorial for Dyeing with Kool-Aid.

Safety Note: If you do use professional acid yarn dyes, keep in mind that you need pots, pans and other cookware dedicated to dyeing only. Seriously, these items will no longer be safe for regular food use. Also, make sure to wear a dust mask and cover all of your work surfaces.

A note about the yarn: Kool Aid drink powder will not work on synthetic (acrylic, nylon or polyester) or plant fiber (cotton) yarns. It will only work to dye protein (animal) fiber yarn such as sheep wool, alpaca or silk. This yarn is a great choice for beginners – it is a high quality wool, yet inexpensive practice yarn.

If you’re ready to move on to finer yarns, Knit Picks has a whole line of bare yarns that dye beautifully!

This page may contain affiliate links which means if you click and buy, we may receive a small commission. See full Disclosure here for details.


Yarn Dyeing Supplies

Wool Yarn (Sheep, alpaca, etc. – not synthetic!)
Kool Aid Drink Packets or Jacquard Acid Dyes
– White Vinegar (if using Jacquard Acid Dyes)
– Baking or Casserole Dish
Gloves (optional)
– Fork
– Water
– Microwave (and plastic wrap) OR Oven (and aluminum foil)


Preparing the Yarn for Dyeing

To begin, fill your baking dish about half way with very warm water. (Also add about a cup of white vinegar if you’re using Acid Dyes. Vinegar is not necessary with Kool Aid).

Next, add the yarn and carefully push it down. Try not to move it around too much as that will cause the yarn to felt. Let the yarn soak for at least 30 minutes.


Dyeing the Wool Yarn

Once the yarn has finished soaking, remove it from the dish and squeeze out most of the excess water. You don’t want the yarn to be dripping wet.

Next, empty the water from the baking dish and place the yarn back in the dish, carefully spreading out the strands.

Now the fun starts! Open a packet of Kool Aid and slowly sprinkle some of the powder on the yarn. Since your yarn should be fairly dry, it may take a minute or so for the color to show up.

Take your time with this. Sprinkle a little Kool Aid and then wait until the color shows up. After all, it’s easy to add more dye but once it’s in there, you can’t take it away.

Repeat sprinkling the other Kool Aid colors. Remember to go slowly and give the dyes a chance to work.

Sprinkle the Kool Aid Powder on the damp wool yarn
Carefully sprinkle the Kool Aid Powder or Acid Dye on the Yarn

Using a fork, gently move the yarn to expose the undyed underside. Now, add more dye powder again, taking your time. Continue adding dye until you are happy with the yarn. Keep in mind, you do not have to cover every part of the yarn.

Add more Kool Aid powder dye to the yarn

speckle dyeing wool yarn with kool aid powder


Heat Setting The Yarn Dye:

If you’re using the microwave:

Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and pop it in the microwave. Heat on high for about 2 minutes, wait 2 minutes and nuke it again. I don’t have a microwave (weird huh) so this is an educated guess but that should be long enough to set the dye.

In general, you watch for the water to clear but we are dyeing yarn that is only damp (not floating in water) so it’s hard to know for sure).

Remove your yarn from the microwave and leave it to cool completely. Carefully, rinse the yarn with luke warm water and hang it to dry.

If you’re using the oven:

Begin by covering the baking dish with aluminum foil and set it in the oven. Turn the temp to 350 degrees and cook it for 45 minutes. Remove the dish from the over and leave it to cool completely. Again, carefully rinse the yarn with luke warm water and hang it to dry.

Hand Dyed Merino and Alpaca Wool Yarn
Wool Yarn Speckle Dyed with Kool Aid Drink Powder

That’s all there’s to it! Your speckle dyed yarn is now ready for you to crochet or knit into something beautiful.

By the way, if your yarn has more bare spots showing than you would like, you can repeat the entire process and add more dye colors.

If you’re interested in more yarn dyeing information, this book is by far my favorite on how to hand dye yarn. It’s also available in Kindle format.

Have you tried dyeing wool yarn with speckles or sprinkles? How did it turn out? Please leave a photo in the comments below 🙂

What is Gradient Yarn?

Gradient yarn, also called Ombre or Ombré is yarn that has been dyed so the color gradually transitions from either light to dark or from one color to another.

Wool Yarn Speckle Dyed with Kool Aid drink powder

How to Speckle Dye Yarn. Hand dyeing speckled yarn, sprinkled yarn or confetti yarn.

Speckle Dyed Alpaca Yarn. This yarn was dyed with Kool Aid food coloring using the sprinkle dyeing method

yarn dyed with speckles
Dyed Speckled Yarn also called Sprinkled Yarn. A fun yarn dyeing technique that also works with Kool Aid powder
Speckled Yarn Dyeing. Learn how to Dye Sprinkled or Speckled yarn. You can even dye it with Kool Aid! FiberArtsy.com tutorial

Sprinkle Dyeing Yarn

Dyeing Wool Yarn with the Speckle or Sprinkle Dyeing technique

Dyed Speckled Yarn also called Sprinkled Yarn. A fun yarn dyeing technique that also works with Kool Aid powder

How to make Speckle Dyed Yarn

Dyeing Wool Yarn with Speckles

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  1. In your Kool-Aid tutorial you said that the yellow Kool-Aid (lemonade) was not a very strong color and you suggested that the dyer either uses a lot of the powder or just some food coloring if they were looking to dye their fiber yellow. Would you give the same advice here? Or does this process allow the yellow Kool-Aid to dye the yarn better / deeper/ more brilliant?

    • Hi Mary,
      Yellow Kool-Aid contains almost no color. In this tutorial, I used orange which came out a deep yellow/orange. Thanks for visiting!

  2. Hi! Have you had any trouble with the dye not staying in or all the yarn turning pink? I dyed some cotton yarn and microwaved it but after I rinsed it I noticed it losing some of its color. After I had air dried it I popped it into the washed but then it turned a light pink. What would you suggest I do differently?


    • Hi Dani,
      Cotton yarn takes a different type of dye. Kool Aid is an acid dye which only works with protein (animal) fibers. Cotton has to be dyed with Fiber Reactive dyes.


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