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Thread: Koolaid dying

  1. #1
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    Default Koolaid dying

    Every once in a while the subject of dying fly tying materials comes up. I don't think there is a cheaper, more effective way to dye feathers than with Koolaid.

    Step 1. Wash the feathers in a warm water with a bit of dish soap (I use Dawn, it works on oil slicked birds ) to remove natural oils from the feather. Rinse in warm water.

    Step 2. Mix one pack of SUGAR FREE Koolaid per cup of hot water. For colors like Olive (Orange and Green) consult a color wheel on how to mix the base colors Koolaid comes in. Here are a couple links that show mixing. Interactive and here More detailed

    Step 3. Take a bad feather from the bunch or just a piece of one. Place it in the Koolaid mix and place it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Remove the feather and rinse it. Note the color. If it is too light, add time in the microwave. Too dark, lessen the time.

    Step 4. The larger the batch you intend to do the time may need to be extended the time a hair but be careful. This is extremely permanent. It can't be lightened up. Microwave your feathers to the time you found gives you the intensity you desire. You can do several batches in one mix, so don't worry about mixing a giant bowl that fits all of a chicken.

    Step 5. Rinse the feathers in running water, temperature does not matter. Some people think you should put vinegar in the mix to color lock it but I have never had a fly last longer than the dye did so I see no point in wasting the vinegar.

    Step 6. Lay the feathers out on an old towel or paper towels to dry. In hackle for feather wings, put them between two layers in the shape you want in the end and place a towel over the top for weight.

    All of the blue in this fly was done with Koolaid. It was Raspberry Reaction.


    I have done a lot of feathers this way. It works on fur but is hell on the leather. Bucktail does a great job of taking it but again the leather does not do well. Bucktail takes more time than feathers. You can by using clips just tip dye stuff also. I did white bucktail and did light blue tips to it for Clousers I was trying to get the more realistic Emerald Shiner look to. This was more for me than the fish.

    I just did this fast so if I missed anything hop in and mention it. Also, there is a Koolaid dying color mixing chart on the web someplace. If anyone finds it please link it.

    I just found this link and think it is worth putting in here. Kool-Aid Formulas and Photos for 135 Different Colors

    Found one more; more color mixing

    Kiwi Lime comes out Chartreause. That's a good one to make note of.
    Last edited by Guest1; 12-19-2012 at 05:39 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Koolaid dying

    Thanks for the primer, very interesting!


    The more you know, the less you need.

    Tenkara Fly Fishing

    Tenkara Fly Fishing Blog


    "People tend to get the politicians and the fishing tackle they deserve" - John Gierach, Fishing Bamboo

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Koolaid dying

    I just found something that talks about putting the mix in a ziplock bag and placing the stuff you are going to dye in and then place it in the sun for the day. This may work for fur so you don't wreck the leather. I'm going to try it by placing it in windows around the house for the day because outside is not an option. I'll let you know how the leather survives.

  5. #4
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    Thumbs up Re: Koolaid dying

    Great post Dan, I've often wondered how to do this and now I'll know. Thanks for posting the process. That's a great looking tie, nicely done!
    ~*~Leave only your footprints~*~

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Koolaid dying

    Wow! I am impressed ! Koolaid to dye bucktails and me with all these white ones I have and every time I need a colored bucktail I'm going to the fly shop and buying one! Thanks Dan very useful info!
    ( in all honesty I thought you were joking at first especially after reading the Coke cure for bleeding fish!)
    I wonder if that would be considered flavoring your fly and even worse what does this do to your insides if you drink it?
    "I was born to fish" Lee Wulff
    "There's more B.S. in fly fishing then there is in a Kansas feedlot." Lefty Kreh
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  7. #6

    Default Re: Koolaid dying

    Wow Dan very nice. Thanks for sharing. Now I have something to do with Koolaid other than drink the **** out of it haha

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  9. #7
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    Default Re: Koolaid dying

    Now that I've had some time to stew on this, I ordered some materials a while back and it had a somewhat "fruit like smell" to it when I opened the packaging. As I put more thought to it, the color was blue and I can't remember if it was Schlappen, Artic Fox or Finn Raccoon. Raspberry Reaction sounds like a name to describe the smell.

    I know tiers have used Kool Aid for years as a dying method. For those that have- have you noticed any difference either positive or negative to materials picking up an odor? I know there are certain foods such as bananas that people tend to steer away from while on the stream.
    ~*~Leave only your footprints~*~

  10. #8
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    Default Re: Koolaid dying

    Quote Originally Posted by jaybo41 View Post
    Now that I've had some time to stew on this, I ordered some materials a while back and it had a somewhat "fruit like smell" to it when I opened the packaging. As I put more thought to it, the color was blue and I can't remember if it was Schlappen, Artic Fox or Finn Raccoon. Raspberry Reaction sounds like a name to describe the smell.

    I know tiers have used Kool Aid for years as a dying method. For those that have- have you noticed any difference either positive or negative to materials picking up an odor? I know there are certain foods such as bananas that people tend to steer away from while on the stream.
    Not to worry about 'smell,' will wash off in seconds. And 'Bananas' are a good thing. Well at least Banana oil (and Anise). Way back in the day, pre-commercial scents, these were the two top choices for gooping up the yarn on your drift rig hook.

    fae
    When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost. - Billy Graham"

  11. #9
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    Default Re: Koolaid dying

    Quote Originally Posted by theboz View Post
    I wonder if that would be considered flavoring your fly and even worse what does this do to your insides if you drink it?
    I'm not sure if it actually flavors them. If you see me sucking on a clouser..... Dang! Now you have my curiousity up. As for the insides thing, I wondered this myself. I don't drink it anymore.

    Quote Originally Posted by jaybo41 View Post
    I always thought bananas were a bad thing?
    There are Salt Water guys that will have a cow and start doing VooDoo rituals if you say the word banana near the pier the boat is tied to. The only way they could be more superstitious about it would be to extend it to bandanas just because there is a banana in that word.

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  13. #10
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    Default Re: Koolaid dying

    Quote Originally Posted by fredaevans View Post
    Not to worry about 'smell,' will wash off in seconds. And 'Bananas' are a good thing. Well at least Banana oil (and Anise). Way back in the day, pre-commercial scents, these were the two top choices for gooping up the yarn on your drift rig hook.

    fae
    I have read that Anise was often used as an attractant and one of the ingredients in Overton's Wonder Wax. I always thought bananas were a bad thing? Interesting stuff fred, thanks for the enlightenment on the earlier years.
    ~*~Leave only your footprints~*~

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