Complete list of exactly the tools, supplies and equipment you need for dyeing yarn at home whether you just want to dye a single skein or a whole lot.
So, you have decided to venture into the colorful world of dyeing yarn. Wonderful! Yarn dyeing is such a fun way to express your artistic side, especially when you love to knit and crochet, as well.
Now, if you have never dyed your own yarn before, you may be wondering where to begin. Well, the first thing you need to do is gather all of your yarn dyeing supplies and that is what this entire article is all about.
If all you wish to do is dye one or two skeins of yarn for a particular pattern, skip on down to this section.
- What kind of yarn can you dye?
- List of Yarn Dyeing Supplies: (My favorites)
- Where can I find Dyeing Supplies and Equipment?
- What supplies do I need to dye just a few skeins of yarn?
What kind of yarn can you dye?
Almost any type of yarn will take color if you use the correct dye and dye setting method. I say ‘almost’ because some synthetic fibers are not so easy to dye.
So, before I can tell you what supplies you need, you need to decide what type of yarn you wish to dye. Why? Because the kind of yarn you have will determine the type of dye you need.
- Protein or Animal Fibers use Acid Dye (Dye is Heat Set)
- Plant Fibers use Fiber Reactive Dye (Dye is Cold Set)
- Synthetic Fibers use Rit DyeMore (Dye is Heat Set)
All yarn dyers have their own favorite supplies and tools, so use whatever you find that works best for you. This is simply a list of my preferences.
Also, if you are just staring out, the amount of equipment you apparently need can be a bit overwhelming.
Keep in mind that you DO NOT need to go out and spend a bunch of money on brand new pots and pans, etc. Honestly, most of my pieces have been gathered over the years from different thrift shops.
Note: since you can buy synthetic yarn at any big box store, I am going to stick with Wool and Plant Fiber yarns for this post.
List of Yarn Dyeing Supplies:
FIBER REACTIVE DYES (PLANT FIBERS)
NOTE! Any tools, pots, pans, measuring cups, spoons, etc. must be used for dyeing only! They will NO LONGER BE SAFE for food preparation or consumption!! The only exception to this rule is when using food grade dyes.
Always use a dust mask or respirator when handling dry dye powder.
- Dust Mask
- Respirator (for anyone who plans to do a lot of dyeing and anybody with breathing issues)
- Rubber or Nitrile Gloves
- Plastic table covers
- Baking Soda (for neutralizing excess dye)
Pots and Pans
In general, you will want non-reactive pans made of stainless steel, glass or enamel. Aluminum can affect the final color.
Also, if you are planning to dye larger amounts of wool and yarn, opt for pans with a larger bottom surface area so the yarn can spread out.
Since plant fiber yarns are dyed with Cold Water Dyes, any plastic dish or even Zip bag will do. Learn how to dye cotton yarn.
– Chafing Steam Pans
– Glass Casserole Dishes (not for stovetop use)
– Roasting Pans
Any old, recycled cup or tub can be used to pour the dye onto the fibers but if you want a little more control over where the dye goes, go for one of the following tools:
– Squeeze Bottles
– Sponge Brushes
Heat Setting Tools (Protein Fibers)
Check out our 5 Heat Setting Techniques for Dyeing Yarn
Printable Supply List
You can download and print my complete Yarn Dyeing Supply List for free. Laminate it and keep it handy for future reference!
Where can I find Dyeing Supplies and Equipment?
- Yarn Dyeing Suppliers
- Restaurant Supply Store
- Big Box Stores
- Artist Supply
- Thrift Shops
- Yard Sales
- Facebook Marketplace Estate Auctions
What supplies do I need to dye just a few skeins of yarn?
So, you want to dye one or two skeins or hanks of yarn and don’t want to buy a whole bunch of supplies you may never use again. What can you do on a budget?
The best and most economical way to dye some protein (wool) yarn is by using Food Coloring such as Kool Aid or Cake Dyes.
That way, you can use your regular pots, measuring cups, etc. and you don’t have to worry about chemical contamination. Dyeing yarn with Kool Aid is super easy to do and it is safe enough to get the kids in on the action.
If you prefer to use professional dyes such as Jacquard Acid Dyes, I would recommend you head to your local Goodwill or other thrift store and pick up a cheap roasting pan or stainless steel pot.
Other than that, the most important thing you need is a dust mask for handling the dye powder. (The liquid dye is safe to handle but you may want to put on some gloves.)
Recycled plastic tubs and spoons work well for mixing and pouring dyes.
Beginner’s Guide to Hand Dyeing Yarn
How to Dye Cotton Yarn
6 Yarn and Wool Dyeing Techniques
Natural Dyeing with Dandelion Flowers
Dyeing Yarn with Black Beans
How to Dye Yarn Naturally with Black Walnuts
How to Dye Speckled Yarn
Kettle Dyeing Yarn and Wool
Dyeing Yarn with a Slow Cooker or Crock Pot
Natural Dyeing with Dandelions
How to Dye Semi Solid Yarn the Easy Way
Dyeing Self Striping Yarn without Special Tools