Now I know what many will think…. first of all, why would anyone want to dye acrylic? It’s the most easily available material in some of the largest varieties of colours…
BUT, if you are, for example, trying out a pattern that calls for 6 specific colours, and acrylic is the best yarn choice, and you’ve found the perfect yarn but it only has 5 of the colours you need…… then it’s time to get creative!
So if you are interested, please click the “read more” for the full tutorial, as well as some tips, and also some info on what doesnt work. (be warned, it’s a long read)
So, when I first started researching this a few weeks ago I found that most people where unanimous in thinking that dyeing acrylic is impossible. The first thing that pops up every time you try to search is a video created by the the frugalcrafter (link: X) that states the only way to dye acrylic yarn is with acrylic paint… The painter in me cringed, as this would clearly make the yarn crunchy and hard, and would be a waste of yarn and paint. This was proven by several response videos made by people who tried this method and found it very unsuccessful. the result was crunchy yarn, and it also easily washed out after going through the wash.
Final assessment: dont bother trying this
So, I decided to expand my search and figured that acrylic (a plastic based fiber) is very similar to polyester. This led me to a product called iDye Poly:
I found it at my local independent art store but if you are interested in buying online, I know Amazon carries this brand. And you can also try the companies official website store finder here: X
Please make sure you use the iDye Poly instead of the iDye.
I decided to try this out on the ball of white that I got as a substitute for the yellow I needed.
Ideally, I wanted a bright banana yellow but knowing the unpredictability of dyes I was prepared to settle for a pale vanilla.
SO without further ado, here is what you want to do (this is a step by step guide so if you have dyed yarn before you can skip to the end):
Start with a pale colour (white if possible)
Now you’re going to want to turn this into a hank (so the dye can penetrate into all the fibers and you get an even colour). If you dont have a swift, then take 2 chairs, put them back to back and put a pillow or blanket on one of them and start winding your yarn around in a big circle. (the blanket is so you can take the yarn off the chair in the end)
Then take some yarn scraps and tie your yarn in 2-4 places. It should look like this:
It’s pretty simple, just follow the instructions on the package.
Pro Tip: open all your windows and turn on your fan because this dye smells like chernobyl
You will want to soak your yarn in some water to get it consistently wet, while your dye mix comes to a boil. Then just plop your yarn in, and occasionally stir. This dye says to keep the water at a boil for the whole dyeing process (as polyester needs heat to set dyes), and it suggests to boil from 30 mins to an hour (and to leave overnight if you want a really deep colour)
Pro Tip: Use a pot and utensils that are specific for dyeing and will not be used for food again!
(looks like gross spagetti)
Rinse. Then leave in a pot of clean water for an hour. Rinse again. And finally, rinse AGAIN (I cannot stress this enough)
Let dry. I just put mine on a big dowel and left in a dry warm place for about a day, making sure to rotate the yarn so that the drips wont leave a darker mark in one place.
Then just wind it back up in a skein, ball, cake (whatever you like) and you’re ready to go!
Some final notes:
I found this product to work above and beyond my expectations! I was aiming for a nice yellow and got wayyyy better than I thought! My final result was from only boiling the yarn for about 30 minutes, so if you want bright, vibrant colours this will work great!
The yarn is still as soft and pliable as before. I compared it to another skein and there was no noticeable difference.
Colour is permanent and safe to wash.
Also, working with acrylic means it will not felt so you can agitate it without worrying about causing a mess. You can even wring it out, squeeze the water out, etc.
Downsides: the big one is the smell. Holy cow, I cannot stress enough how bad it was. It was VERY strong. From a glance at the forums for this product, this was from the “colour intensifier” that comes with the dye. If I’m going to do this again its going to be with a gas mask LOL. The other thing is since the water needs to be in constant boil you probably wont be able to do variegated yarn, only uniform colours.
Hope this helps! If you have questions, suggestions etc please dont hesitate to drop me an ask!