Tuesday, April 17, 2012

DIY Funky Rainbow Dreads

Rainbow Dreads...

We all love them :o)
So I thought I would put together a little tutorial of you to show how easy it is to dye up your own funky rainbow yarn.  

I am using Tsunami dread style yarn...the same we sell in our online shop here.  

You can do this with any weight or style of yarn, just be sure it is either ecru, cream or white colored and be sure to rewrap the yarn so that it is in a loose hank.

OK so first up you will need some materials:

Dye pot (do not use one you will use to make food out of later)
glass measuring cup
teaspoon measure
tablespoon measure
citric acid (this is what I use but you can also use vinegar)
Red acide dye
Blue acid dye
Yellow acid dye
pair of tongs
large bowl

The dye and citric acid I use can be purchased here

First of all you will need to soak your yarn good and long on the stove in a simmering pot.  
Put your yarn into your pot and add enough water to just cover the yarn. You might have to add more water to the pot as you go.  

Tsunami is extremely dense and thick so it takes a good while for water to soak throughout the yarn.  
You want this yarn to be completely soaked.  I cannot stress this enough...it cannot be dry anywhere.  I usually end up "cooking"  my dreads for a good 40 or so minutes in plain water.  

Little note here...your house WILL smell like a wet dog.  It just is what it is :o)  don't worry...I have proven that your family will indeed get used to it and the complaining will subside :o) 

OK, so after you have thoroughly soaked and saturated your yarn and the water is boiling, take your yarn out of the water,  careful it is scalding hot.  Place it in a large bowl...just to set it aside for a few seconds.

Add 2 tablespoons of citric acid to the water.  The general rule of thumb is 1 tablespoon for 1 pound of yarn...Tsunami is pretty heavy so I add 2 but feel free to adjust the amount according to your own yarn being used.

Stir this around until the acid id dissolved completely. Put your yarn back into the water.
Move it around so that is lays flat and uniform.

It is now time to add the dye.

Using your glass measuring cup, teaspoon and hot water,  mix up about 1/2 teaspoon of dye to 1 cup of hot water.  Make sure the powder is completely dissolved into the water...no clumps.

**These are approximate measures cause I don't really measure anything out...I go by sight and feel :o)  so this is a guesstimate. **
**So use your judgement. ** 

Remember:  it is always best to start light...you can always add more dye but if you go too dark right away, you cannot lighten.  So start out lighter and redo until you get the color you want.

First color:  Yellow

Once the dye is all mixed and ready, pick an area of your yarn and gently and slowly pour the dye over the yarn on the section you wish to be yellow.  Use your tongs to wriggle the yarn around in the dye to make sure you get it thru all of the strands in that section.  Be extremely careful...this water is boiling hot.

**Do not stir and do not lift the yarn out of the water**

You will see that the dye is just about gone from the water..it might even be completely gone. 
This is good.  
Poke around a bit and make sure you have covered everywhere you want.  If you need to, repeat this step again.

Once you feel your yarn is covered good with yellow,  it's time to add the red

The same way you mixed and prepped the yellow,  mix and prep the red.

Pour your red dye onto your yarn next to your yellow.  Use your tongs to poke around and work the dye all thru that section.  I usually end up adding more red dye at this time just for coverage.  

Gently poke around in the yellow section right next to the red section, to get some red to flow into there...this will make your orange. 
It's kinda neat how that happens :o)

Don't move it around too much, you want to keep most of that yellow.  In this pic,  you cannot really see it but the orange is primarily on the top layer of yarn...underneath is still very yellow.

Let that simmer for a few minutes to get most of the red absorbed.  Not all, just most.

Finally, add the blue

Notice how it bled over onto a portion of the red...creating purple and the yellow...creating green :o)  
I love this

Same as before poke around a bit and make sure you have good coverage. Add more dye if necessary.  

Make sure you have no white, undyed areas of yarn.

Let this simmer for another 20 or so minutes then take the pot over to the sink, drain it and using cold water, rinse your yarn until the water is clear.  Take a mild soap and gently wash the yarn to get any residual dye out of the yarn...rinse well and hang up to dry.

This is what your finished hank will look like :o)

This technique can also be used with other colors to create other awesome variations

That's it,  not too hard :o)  

I would love to see some pics of your rainbow yarns when you do this on your own.

Happy rainbow dying everyone!