A few nights ago I went to check out my FAVORITE YouTuber, The Frugal Crafter. (Seriously, she’s amazing so I’ll wait while you go check her out and subscribe!)

One of her latest tutorials was on how to dye acrylic yarn!! Okay…I’ll admit; I was skeptical. But she’s SO convincing and charismatic and so gosh darn infectious with her energy that I knew I needed to try it on my own to see if it was indeed true!

And guess what you guys… IT IS!!

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ How to 'DYE' Acrylic Yarn

Actually, the term ‘DYE’ is misleading (because you are literally painting your yarn) but the process is the same and the results are nothing short of spectacular.

There are a couple of tips I’d like to tack onto her tutorial if you are thinking about doing this on your own so here we go!

The first thing you need is yarn. Think LIGHT colored yarn here. Anything dark won’t work properly. I went with plain old Red Heart Super Saver in White. I’m sure you guys all have random end yarn balls of larger skeins lying around like I do to experiment on, right?!?!

Wind your yarn into a hank and tie it off in a couple of places so that it won’t knot on you during the process. TIP #1: Use a DARK piece of scrap yarn to tie off your hank so that it’s simple to find after the hank has been dyed!

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ How to 'DYE' Acrylic Yarn

Soak your yarn in some warm water to get it ready to dye (I used an old upcycled ice cream container to soak, dye, dry, and wash my yarn). Once it’s good and wet, gently squeeze the water out so that it’s wet but not dripping and drain your excess water:
https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ How to 'DYE' Acrylic Yarn https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ How to 'DYE' Acrylic Yarn

Now you are ready to mix your color! You can use any acrylic paint you have on hand for this step. The trick is to mix the color you want and then add in water to it to dilute. (The more water you use, the less crunchy your dyed yarn will be when it finishes drying–but more about that later).

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ How to 'DYE' Acrylic Yarn

The video tutorial shows a ratio of about 1/2 water to 1/2 paint but you don’t need to overdo the paint to get amazing color. What you see in the photo above is a squirt of yellow, a smaller squirt of blue, and a bunch of water. TIP #2: The resulting color of the paint mixture stayed surprisingly true throughout the dying process and the finished colorway in the yarn I dyed was all varying shades (from light to dark) of the color in the tray above.

Keep in mind that the shade you dye your yarn will end up being variegated! The process of gravity when it dries will pull the color toward the bottom of your yarn leaving the top a lighter shade.

Next comes the fun part! Put on an old pair of rubber gloves, protect your work surface from rogue splatters, and then just dump your color over your yarn!

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ How to 'DYE' Acrylic Yarn

Get your hands in there and start massaging the color through the yarn. Make sure you get the yarn under your ties as well!

Once you’re happy with it, all that is left to do is to gently squeeze out the excess paint and water mixture from your hank and hang up to dry. For this process I hung one of the ties from a plastic clothing hanger and left if on the knob of my kitchen cabinet to drip into the ice cream container.

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ How to 'DYE' Acrylic Yarn

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ How to 'DYE' Acrylic Yarn

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ How to 'DYE' Acrylic Yarn

Depending on your climate (and how much yarn you’ve dyed) this could take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. It’s important to let your yarn dry completely otherwise it will not set and will fade when washing. TIP #3: I’m not gonna lie…you’ll notice that your yarn smells like a freshly painted wall when wet. That smell will almost completely vanish when the yarn is dry and will disappear altogether when your project (or your hank) is washed.

After your yarn is dry, you can opt to wind it into a ball and start working with it right away OR you can keep it in the hank and give it a good rinse in your bucket. TIP #4: The rinsing stage is important to soften your yarn back up and clear up any remaining paint odor.

I opted to wind mine and get started right away because I couldn’t wait any longer to see how it crocheted!

Now, back to that ‘crunchy’ yarn I told you about earlier. The darker end of your dyed yarn tends to be a little stiffer than the lighter end, and that’s because all the paint has settled on that end. It’s fine to crochet with (although a touch stiff) but it doesn’t come off on your hands or on other yarns you’re working.

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ How to 'DYE' Acrylic Yarn

If you’ve waited to rinse your yarn (like I did), after you’ve finished your project is the best time to either throw it into a washing machine or wash by hand if it’s small enough. TIP #5: I do NOT recommend sending out any completed project to a customer (or using a completed project yourself) that contains dyed acrylic yarn that hasn’t been washed first.

I filled my bucket with some warm soapy water and used my hands to agitate my swatches:

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ How to 'DYE' Acrylic Yarn

As you can see, the color is permanent and gorgeous! The yarn is also soft (no crunch!) and odor free after a quick rinse!

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ How to 'DYE' Acrylic Yarn

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ How to 'DYE' Acrylic Yarn

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ How to 'DYE' Acrylic Yarn

I can see ALL sorts of practical applications for using my own dyed yarn in my projects and just the idea that you don’t have to spend a TON of money on hand dyed natural fibers opens up a whole new world for me (and I hope it does for you as well!)

The possibilities are endless! Just keep in mind that once your dyed yarn is used up, it will probably be impossible to match it again–unless you’re the meticulous type who writes detailed notes on your color process–so make sure you dye enough to get you through your projects and have fun!

If you’ve dyed some acrylic yarn and want to show it off, come find me on my facebook page to share!! I’d love to see your work!

And much love to The Frugal Crafter for having the sort of genius mind to think outside of the box and the spirit to try new things and share!

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ How to 'DYE' Acrylic Yarn

STITCH TUTORIAL UPDATE!! 

Since so many of you have asked me about the stitch used in my swatch, I thought I would post it here for you guys so you can all tackle it and turn it into amazing crochet projects of your own!

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ How to 'DYE' Acrylic Yarn

Diagonal Post Swatch

Skill Level: Intermediate

https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/ How to 'DYE' Acrylic Yarn

Stitches you need to know:

FPtr: Front Post Triple Crochet: YO twice, insert hook from front to back around post of indicated stitch, YO and pull up a loop, [YO and draw through 2 loops on hook] 3 times (FPtr made).

BPtr: Back Post Triple Crochet: YO twice, insert hook from back to front around post of indicated stitch, YO and pull up a loop, [YO and draw through 2 loops on hook] 3 times (BPtr made).

The beauty of this stitch is that you can control where you want your color changes to begin and how many colors you want to use. Change to a new color after every row or alternate colors as I have done in the photo above. You could also choose to only change color when you work a post stitch! The color variations are endless and completely up to you!

Stitch Multiple: 4 +1

Row 1 (wrong side): Dc in 4th chain from hook (skipped chains count as dc), dc in next chain and in each chain across, change color in last dc (if desired), turn.

Row 2 (right side): Ch 3 (counts as a dc here and throughout pattern), dc in next 2 dc, *FPtr in next dc, dc in next 3 dc, repeat from * across, dc in turning chain, change color in last dc (if desired), turn.

Row 3: Ch 3, *dc in next 3 dc, BPtr in next dc, repeat from * across to last 2 dc, dc in next dc, dc in turning chain, change color in last dc (if desired), turn.

Row 4: Ch 3, *FPtr in next dc, dc in next 3 dc, repeat from * across to last 2 dc, FPtr in next dc, dc in turning chain, change color in last dc (if desired), turn,

Row 5: Ch 3, dc in next dc, *BPtr in next dc, dc in next 3 dc, repeat from * across to turning chain, dc in turning chain, change color in last dc (if desired), turn.

Repeat rows 2-5 to desired length.

How to ‘DYE’ Acrylic Yarn
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22 thoughts on “How to ‘DYE’ Acrylic Yarn

  • Pingback: DIY Glow In The Dark Yarn | HodgePodge Crochet

  • August 12, 2015 at 7:27 am
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    I’d really like to dye a completed garment … just do the same thing as for the hank? I’ve been gifted a whole heap of cotton viscose yarn and this sounds like a fantastic way to get my own subtle shades. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Profile photo of Tanya Naser
      August 12, 2015 at 2:40 pm
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      Dying a garment might be a little more tricky (since the paint tends to pool in the stitches and garments are a lot bigger than a hank) but it’s doable!!

      Reply
      • September 20, 2015 at 2:46 am
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        Eureka! It worked like a charm. Used $2 acrylic paints and so far have dyed one cotton top and three cotton/viscose tunics … colours used were lavender, mint green and a hot pink. They all came out beautifully in clear pastel colours. I hung the garments to drip dry and got a lovely ombre effect. They’ve all been re-washed in warm wool wash and then rinsed and spun dried … bingo! And it’s all so easy, quick and clean. Thank you so much for sharing the process. I hope a lot of other happy knitters/dyers will take up the challenge (no challenge!). Regards from Australia … Rita

        Reply
        • October 14, 2015 at 6:19 am
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          Well done Rita! Could you post picture link?

          Reply
      • October 26, 2015 at 6:55 am
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        Whenyou mentioned the liquid/water and paint tend to pool at the bottom, it occurred to me to seal the yarn in a zip lock bag or food seal bag (that sucks out all the air) to be able to dye consistent color throughout, if that’s what you want. For clothing, use one of those big space saver bags and suck out the air with a shop vac set up for water removal, not dust-dirt.
        By the way, thank you for this and the glow in the dark dying. I am going to crochet Ninja Turtle masks and then apply the flow in the dark paint….for a two-fer. Fun!

        Reply
      • October 26, 2015 at 7:04 am
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        To dye clothing and be colored consistent throughout I think if you used Space Saver bags and sucked out the air with a shop vac set for water pickup…and for smaller items used a zip lock bag and pressed out the air or Food Sealer to suck out the air, you could achieve most any size project.
        That’s what I’m going to do.
        First project is crochet three Ninja Turtle masks for grandsons and then glow in the dark dye them. A two-fer. Ha! Free pattern http://stitch11.com/ninja-turtle-mask/
        Thank you for the instructions!

        Reply
    • Profile photo of Tanya Naser
      December 3, 2015 at 1:08 am
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      In order to remove the crunch you need to add in a fabric medium to the paint. 🙂

      Reply
  • November 14, 2015 at 6:57 pm
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    Is there another way to soften the yarn besides soapy water?

    Reply
  • November 24, 2015 at 8:04 am
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    I did this the first time with this page opened up, and it turned out fairly well (though with the brown I think I used too much water).

    Actually in the process of making it the second time around…Im having no patience, so Im using my hairdryer- it turned out ok with the ‘sample’ I did earlier, so hopefully the bigger bits work :3

    Reply
  • December 17, 2015 at 1:03 pm
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    Why would you need to seal the item in a plastic bag? Could you just lay it flat to dry? Am doing a small project and am just wondering.

    Reply
    • Profile photo of Tanya Naser
      December 21, 2015 at 6:32 pm
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      I don’t put my items in a sealed plastic bag but it has been suggested in the comments. 🙂 I either drip dry or lie flat to dry.

      Reply
    • Profile photo of Tanya Naser
      April 24, 2016 at 6:01 pm
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      What? I have no idea what you mean because I haven’t sealed out air anywhere in this process.

      Reply
  • May 11, 2016 at 1:11 am
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    So I have some left over red heart super saver yarn. I just got into tie dying clothes (i.e. Shirts, washcloths etc) and they use the tie dying kit thing you can get from a craft store. Will that work as well as the paint you used?

    Reply
    • Profile photo of Tanya Naser
      May 18, 2016 at 5:04 pm
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      If it’s fabric paint than I think it might. Acrylic yarn doesn’t take dye (which is why you can’t use something like Rit on it) so I’d try it out and see! If you already have some left over yarn and some tye dye, go for it!! Also, please let me know how it goes!!

      Reply
  • May 13, 2016 at 5:27 pm
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    i recently bought a afghan that is crocheted, they made various sampler squares that are really pretty, I’d be so happy if I could use coffee or tea to change it from that stark white color, it wouldn’t even matter if the color wasn’t uniform, is this possible or would the color wash out when laundered, thank you in advance for helping me. Lou

    Reply
    • Profile photo of Tanya Naser
      May 18, 2016 at 5:03 pm
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      I’ve never tried to stain yarn with coffee or tea but I think, in theory, it may work. You may have to soak it several times for a darker stain but it would be fun to try! Let me know how it goes!

      Reply
  • May 17, 2016 at 10:58 am
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    Can you use any acrylic paint or does it have to be fabric paint? And what is a “fabric medium” please? This look amazing!

    Reply
    • Profile photo of Tanya Naser
      May 18, 2016 at 5:06 pm
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      Acrylic paint is what I’ve used here. You can turn it into a fabric paint by adding the fabric medium. If you use fabric paint you can skip the medium. It’s only used in acrylic paint to soften it a little when dry so your yarn doesn’t end up crunchy.

      Reply

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