Koolaid dying

Guest1

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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 :thumbup:) 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. :rolleyes:

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.
 
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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.
 

theboz

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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?
 

stuie675

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

jaybo41

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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.
 

fredaevans

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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
 

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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. :confused: If you see me sucking on a clouser.....:D Dang! Now you have my curiousity up. As for the insides thing, I wondered this myself. I don't drink it anymore.

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. :thumbup:
 

jaybo41

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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.
 

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I ordered some materials a while back and it had a somewhat "fruit like smell" to it when I opened the packaging. .... the color was blue ... Raspberry Reaction sounds like a name to describe the smell.
Kind of makes you wonder if they didn't use KoolAid to dye it and just didn't rinse it well. I can't think of any other dye that smells fruit like. All of the stuff I have done didn't seem to have a smell, but then again my nose does not work all that well. If I can smell something it is truely stinky. :eek:(Pull my finger :D) :sorry:
 

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thanks for the information on dyeing with koolaid. the best thing you did was to provide the step by step.
 

brucerducer

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Diver Dan:

Wow. What a fantastic tip. Who'd have thought that Kool-Aid was permanent?

I suppose it works with just about all material?
 

Guest1

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I suppose it works with just about all material?
It works on everything I have tried so far. The bucktail I have tried so far takes the dye a lot more slowly than feathers do. You need to run it through a second time if you do it along with feathers. I noticed in Eunan's Acid Dye thread that the bucktail he did with a bunch of feathers was about half or a third as dark so it must be the hair and not the dyes. Acid dyes work pretty well also and you might want to take a quick run through his thread as well. The only real advantage as I see it though to either method is that this is as close to free as dying gets and you can get it within blocks of most of us. That and Kool Aid doesn't come in colors like olive so you need to mix them. That's not hard to do though.
 

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Read that one of the 'advantages' of KoolAid is if you get sloppy and dump a dish it will wash out when still wet being water soluble. Not about to test that idea, but I can see where it comes from ...
Key words being still wet. I got some on my kitchen counter a really long time ago. It was red, a color that fades better than most colors and it took forever to wear out of the counter.

I'm going to try the plastic bag and leather experiment and see how it works on rabbit. Don't microwave leather, it kills it.
 

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Well I tried the cold method of dying the rabbit. The hair took the dye alot less well than the leather did. Interestingly, it did not kill the leather nearly as bad as it did the regular method of Koolaid Dying. I did a 1/4" wide zonker strip about 6" long and a crosscut piece about the same length. It killed about the first inch and a half of the zonker and most of the crosscut, but this is the best I have ever had leather come out in any method. I just soaked it in cold water and worked the leather and it feels fine when wet, so I'll see what it does after a good leather rinse. :confused:

I'm working on a fly right now where I have had to dye a whole lot of stuff. not all the same colors either. In doing this I realized I should have mentioned one other thing. It dyes your skin really well on contact.
 

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This is just great. I have been looking for colored grizzly hackle for some musky flies but don't feel like buying capes in these individual colors.

With this, I can basically buy one white/black grizzly cape and dye a handful of feathers to whatever color I want instead of needing a whole cape

As an example, I could take a dozen grizzly feathers, dye them red, and have the red/black grizzly feathers I am looking for!
 

flyfisher117

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Thanks Diver! You must have been the one that taught my cousin how to do this. He taught me and its awesome.

Been doing this for a couple years now and get great results. I will agree, the bass/sunfish usually eat the tails/hackles off my buggers before they even begin to fade slightly. Have yet to have anything loose any considerable amount of color.
 
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