Acrylic yarn is a synthetic fiber that’s made from a mixture of polyacrylonitrile (PAN) and other chemicals. It is quiet similar to wool in its texture, tensile strength, and warmth. However, it’s less absorbent than wool. In the knitting world, one of the most frequently asked questions about acrylic yarn is whether it can be dyed.
You can dye acrylic yarn using either liquid dyes or fiber-reactive dyes. Both types of dyes are permanent once they have been applied to the yarn material, but they will not last forever if they are washed repeatedly in water or exposed to sunlight over time.
Dyeing acrylic is a little different than dyeing wool or cotton yarns. You may need to experiment with different brands of dye. I put everything you need to know about dyeing acrylic yarn. In brief, this post will;
- Give you a step-to-step process on how to dye yarn with acrylic paint and Rit Dyemore Synesthetic Fiber Dye
- List down fabrics that can not be dyed
So, let’s get right to it!
Dyeing Acrylic Yarn With Acrylic Paint: Step-to-Step Process
- Acrylic Paint( I recommend Nicpro 14 Colors Large Bulk Acrylic Paint Set (16.9 oz,500 ml)
- A bowl/ Container
- White Acrylic Yarn( seremel 3 Pieces Crochet Yarn is a good place to start)
- A pair of scissors or knife (to cut the yarn)
- An old towel or carpet to protect your workspace
- Step 1: Put on Your gloves and Submerge the yarn in water for less than 1 minute ( This is to make it soft). Make sure the yarn is not dripping wet. If it is, let it dry up a bit more before proceeding to the next step
- Step 2: After it is all soaked up and wet, you should pour out the water from the container . Remember to squeeze out any excess water from the yarn. This will prevent wrinkles from forming when it dries.
- Step 3: Place your wet acrylic yarn in an empty container , add desired acrylic paint and mix till the yarn has dissolved acrylic paint.
- Step 4: Let your yarn dry( Note: it can take days for the yarn to completely dry out, so be patient)
- Step 5: After you’ve dyed your yarn, you’ll want to rinse it thoroughly in cold water until no more color runs off the skein or ball of yarn. You should then place your dyed yarn under running water again (cold if possible) and gently squeeze out excess moisture until it feels dry but still soft. Do not wring out your acrylic-dyed yarn! This will cause felting and ruin your project!
- Step 6: Let it dry .
Related Reading: Can You Add Water to Acrylic Paint?
Dyeing Acrylic Yarn With Rit DyeMore Synthetic Fiber Dye
- Acrylic Yarn
- Rit DyeMore Fiber Dye( Buy on Amazon)
- Heat Pot
- Soak your yarn in cool water for 10-15 minutes. Use a bowl large enough that the yarn will be able to move around freely.
- Mix the water and dye in a large pot. Add the yarn and stir it around until it is completely submerged in water. Boil for 30 minutes on medium heat. The yarn will turn into a darker color as it cooks.
- Remove your yarn from the pot with tongs or a slotted spoon (don’t use anything metal like forks or spoons). Gently squeeze out excess water and wash it off with soap and water.( It does feel lighter)
- Remove your yarn from the dye bath and rinse thoroughly with cool water until there are no more traces of color on your skein.
- Lay flat on paper towels until they are just damp they will dry quickly! Leave overnight if possible
Best Dye for Acrylic Yarn?
The Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow 8 Color Set is a versatile dye set specifically designed for various applications, including acrylic yarn and silk. This set consists of high-quality liquid dyes that offer vibrant, long-lasting colors.
When it comes to acrylic yarn, using the Dye-Na-Flow dye can be beneficial for several reasons.
- Color Absorption: Acrylic yarn has synthetic fibers that often do not readily absorb traditional dyes. However, the Dye-Na-Flow dyes are formulated to penetrate the fibers of acrylic yarn, ensuring even and vibrant color results.
- Permanent and Fade-Resistant: The Dye-Na-Flow dyes are known for their excellent lightfastness and color permanence. Once applied and properly set, the colors will remain vivid and resistant to fading, ensuring long-lasting beauty in your acrylic yarn projects.
- Compatibility with Acrylic: The formulation of Dye-Na-Flow dyes allows for good compatibility with acrylic fibers. It ensures that the dyes bond effectively with the yarn, resulting in enhanced color saturation and durability.
By using the Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow 8 Color Set on acrylic yarn, you can achieve vibrant, fade-resistant colors that adhere well to the synthetic fibers. This opens up a wide range of creative possibilities and ensures your acrylic yarn projects retain their vibrant and beautiful appearance over time.
What Else Can You Us to Dye Acrylic Yarn?
1) Disperse Dye
Dyeing acrylic yarn using Disperse dye requires a specific process to ensure effective color absorption and long-lasting results. Here’s a general guide on how to dye acrylic yarn using Disperse dye:
- Preparing the Dye Bath:
- Fill a stainless steel or enamel pot
- Preparing the Yarn:
- Clean the acrylic yarn by washing it with mild detergent to remove any oils or residues that might hinder dye absorption.
- Rinse the yarn thoroughly and allow it to dry completely.
- Dyeing Process:
- Hit the water
- Immerse the dry yarn into hot water
- Add disperse dye
- Maintain a simmer for the recommended duration specified by the dye manufacturer, usually around 30-60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Keep in mind that Disperse dyes require heat to penetrate the acrylic fibers effectively.
- Rinsing and Finishing:
- After the dyeing time is complete, carefully remove the yarn from the dye bath.
- Rinse the yarn in warm water until the water runs clear, ensuring all excess dye is removed.
- Wash the yarn with mild detergent and rinse again to eliminate any remaining dye particles.
- Allow the yarn to air dry or follow specific instructions for drying provided by the yarn manufacturer.
Important Note: Disperse dyes are typically used with heat to ensure proper dye absorption into acrylic fibers. It’s important to carefully follow the instructions provided by the Disperse dye manufacturer for the specific dyeing process and safety precautions.
Additionally, keep in mind that different brands and types of Disperse dyes may have specific instructions and variations in the dyeing process. Always refer to the instructions provided by the manufacturer of the Disperse dye you are using for the most accurate and reliable guidance.
Dyeing acrylic yarn with Kool-Aid is a fun and simple process that can yield vibrant results. Please note that Kool-Aid dyeing works best on animal-based fibers like wool, and the results on acrylic yarn may be less intense. Here’s a general guide on how to dye acrylic yarn with Kool-Aid:
- Prepare the Yarn
- Cleanse your acrylic yarn
- Fill a pot with water, heat it gently, until it simmers with anticipation
- Sprinkle in the Kool-Aid packets, each one containing a burst of flavor and a promise of vibrant pigments. Let them dance and mingle, creating a symphony of colors.
- Immerse the acrylic Yarn: Take your dry yarn, imbued with potential, and gently place it into the simmering dye bath. Watch as it surrenders to the embrace of the liquid, ready to absorb the vibrant hues.
- Stir with joy, ensuring the colors blend harmoniously, infusing every strand with the energy of the Kool-Aid.
- Reveal the Masterpiece: Remove the yarn from the dye bath and witness its beauty. Rinse it gently. You would have to do like 2-3 washes . That’s it guys. It is simple and straight forward
Dyeing acrylic yarn is possible. Remember, the color obtained from coffee dyeing may not be as vibrant or long-lasting as with specialized dyes. Do a test swatch or sample before dyeing an entire project to ensure the desired color outcome.
- Brew the Coffee: Brew a strong pot of coffee using your preferred brewing method. The darker and stronger the coffee, the deeper the resulting color will be.
- Create the Dye Bath: In a stainless steel or enamel pot, combine the brewed coffee with enough water . The ratio of coffee to water may vary depending on the desired color intensity.
- Heat the Dye Bath: Place the pot on the stove and heat the solution to a simmer. Allow it to simmer for about 30 minutes to an hour, ensuring the color infuses into the liquid.
- Add the Yarn: Carefully place the pre-wetted acrylic yarn into the dye bath, ensuring it is fully submerged. Gently stir the yarn to promote even color distribution.
- Simmer and Stir: Maintain a gentle simmer and stir the yarn occasionally to ensure the dye penetrates the fibers evenly. The longer the yarn simmers, the deeper the color will be.
- Rinse and Dry: Once the desired color is achieved, remove the yarn from the dye bath. Rinse it thoroughly in cool water until the water runs clear to remove any excess dye. That’s it pretty much !
Acrylic yarn can be dyed using tea, following a process similar to dyeing with coffee. Simply boil tea, immerse the acrylic yarn, let it simmer, and allow it to cool. Afterward, wash off the yarn, and you’ll have successfully dyed it using tea.
What Fabrics Cannot Be Dyed?
Some fabrics, such as silk and wool, do not take well to the chemicals used in the process of dyeing. Fabrics made from synthetic fibers can be dyed, but they may not take on the color as well as natural fibers do. Specialty fabrics like leather and suede are not suitable for dyeing with acid dyes because they cannot stand up to the alkaline nature of the dye bath.
Does Acrylic Dye Easily?
Acrylic dye can be used to color acrylic yarns, and it is not as reactive as wool. The dye will not bleed, but it will fade over time. Acrylic dyes are usually permanent, but they may fade with exposure to sunlight and washing. However most people prefer acrylic dyeing because it is less complicated than wool dyeing. There is no need for mordants or special acid dyes.
Related Reading: How Long Do Acrylic Paints Last?
How to Dye Acrylic Yarn With Hair Dye?
- Hair dye (non-peroxide) Try out dpHUE Gloss+
- Warm water
- A mixing bowl
- Scissors or nail clippers
- Rubber gloves
- If you have a bunch of acrylic yarn that needs to be dyed, this is the perfect solution.
- There are many different types of hair dye, but I would recommend using a semi-permanent dye that has been tested on synthetic fibers. This will not damage your yarn or cause it to pill up later like a permanent dye might.
- To use hair dye, you’ll need a small bowl, hot water, and your chosen color of dye. You can also add a small amount of salt for extra brightness if desired.
- Fill your bowl with hot water and add in your chosen color of dye. The amount depends on how much yarn you want to dye. I used about 1/3 cup for this amount of yarn in my example here – but start with less and add more if needed!
- Place the yarn into the bowl and stir until all strands are evenly saturated with color. Leave it alone for about 15 minutes and then rinse thoroughly under running water until all traces of color are gone from the strands (don’t worry about any residue on the outside). This gets out after like 3-4 washes.
- Hang dry until completely dry before using again!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Can I Use to Dye Acrylic Yarn?
You can use several different types of dyes on acrylic yarn such as Rit Dyemore, Disperse dye, coffee or hair dye.
Can I Use RIT Dye on Acrylic Yarn?
You can use RIT dye on acrylic yarns! This type of dye is available in many different colors from red through purple so it’s easy to find one that matches your project needs perfectly!
How Do You Dye 100% Acrylic Yarn?
Dyeing 100% acrylic yarn is quite easy and doesn’t require any special equipment or techniques other than those used when dyeing other types of yarns and fabrics. There are two basic methods of dyeing: immersion and tie-dyeing (the latter method produces some amazing results)
Can Acrylic Material Be Dyed?
Acrylic material can be dyed using RIT Dye. It does not need to be pre-bleached first because acrylic does not contain cotton or wool fibers which are typically found in other types of clothing items like sweaters or shirts (i.e., 100 percent cotton)
The good news is that acrylic, just like wool and cotton, can be successfully dyed with acid dyes, fiber reactive dyes, and even direct dyes. The bad news is that due to the synthetic nature of acrylic fiber, it can be difficult to dye evenly and you may need a few tries to get it right. Overall though, it is possible to dye acrylic yarn and create some really beautiful colored pieces of fiber art.
So, go forth and enjoy dying acrylic yarn!
- E-how: How to Dye Acrylic Yarn
- Reddit: Dyeing Acrylic Yarn
- Quora: Can you dye acrylic yarn with fabric paint?