Attempting Fabric Dyeing + Painting with Kool-Aid

Hello Friends!

In this post I will be walking you through my fabric dyeing project for my Textile Fundamentals class. I decided to use Kool-Aid for this project because it is inexpensive and easily accessible. For fabric, I cut squares from white tulle and a long rectangle from a lightweight white cotton. I was trying to create scarf shapes so this gives me a few square scarves and one long scarf. Now let’s get started.

Fabric Prep

First, I had to prepare my fabric for dyeing and painting. I soaked both the tulle and the cotton in a mixture of vinegar and warm water for half an hour. This helps to open the fibres so they will better absorb and hold onto the dye.

Dyeing Part 1

After being removed from the vinegar bath, the tulle goes straight into dye. For the Kool-Aid dye, I used boiling water and just added the drink mix by eye. This is when I realized that I purchased a purple and two reds instead of red, blue and purple. Oops! Leave to soak for half an hour.

Leave Overnight

After dyeing, the tulle gets hung to dry. Make sure to cover the floor so it doesn’t end up speckled from the drips. The cotton was hung to dry straight away after the vinegar bath since it needs to be completely dry for painting. I left both overnight and got back to work the next day.

Dyeing Part 2

One round of dyeing left my pieces of tulle looking pretty similar so I wanted to see if a second dip would make a difference. I rinsed them in warm water, then back in the dye they went for another half hour. This didn’t make a difference. After the second dye bath, I let the pieces dry for a few hours then soaked them in boiling water for (you guessed it) half an hour to release any excess dye. To my surprise, no dye came off in the water. The tulle was then hung to dry for a final time.

Painting Prep

On to painting! I covered my dining table with 3 layers of construction paper for protection and laid the fabric out on top. Once again, I mixed boiling water with Kool-Aid drink mix by eye, then grabbed my paint brushes and got to work.


I started out with a large paint brush. I placed a dot and then curved strokes all around it moving outward to create a rose pattern. I alternated between my three colours until the fabric was covered with roses. Since both the Kool-Aid and the fabric are sheer, I had to do multiple layers. After five layers, I added fresh paper and gave my work a blow dry. No longer having coloured paper underneath made me realize that the colours of the paper had bled onto the fabric. I didn’t mind this though. I actually think it was quite pretty and added to the overall look. I then went in with a smaller brush the add more detail and definition to the roses. At first, I just used the matching colour for each rose, then I went in with every colour on every rose. This mixing really added interest and gave me the mottled, watercolour look that I wanted. Definitely happy with how the painting turned out.

Final Reveal + Styling

Behold some sassy, vintage-ish poses with my new scarves. These are actually super cute! I’m not someone who would wear a super bright coloured garment. But these square scarves could be a fun way to add a pop of bright. Especially if I’m just wearing black or white. The larger rose patterned scarf is my favourite. I just love roses and this lightweight cotton will make a great summer scarf. I had a lot of fun with this project and got something cute out of it too. That’s a win-win for me.

I also have a YouTube video about this project. Feel free to give it a watch.

Thank you for visiting my blog and I hope you have a lovely day.

XOXO ~ Amber Rose

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