How to Dye Wool for Handmade Area Rugs

What You'll Need
Stainless steel or chip-free enamel stock pot , with lid
Measuring spoons
Glass measuring cups
Plastic fork
Rubber gloves
Wooden spoon
Wool for dyeing
Wetting agent, such as Jet Dry for dishwashers
White vinegar
Uniodized table salt
Dye formulas

You can dye wool for handmade area rugs and create beautiful and unique accents for your home.

(These items are not safe for food after using for a dyeing project)

    Step 1 - Prepare the Wool

    Cut wool into 1/2 yard pieces. A 20-qt. stock pot will hold about 1 1/2 yards at a time. Fill a large pot or tub with hot water. Add three tablespoons of Jet Dry. Add the wool to the pot, squeezing the fabric to make sure it is thoroughly saturated. Allow to soak for 30 minutes.

    Step 2 - Prepare the Dye Bath

    Fill the stock pot 2/3 full with water. Add a tablespoon of uniodized salt to help the fabric absorb the dye more evenly. Put the pot on the stove and bring the water just to boiling. Turn down the heat and allow the water to simmer.

    Step 3 - Prepare the Dye

    Put on rubber gloves. Prepare the dye formula according to manufacturer's directions. Most dyes are prepared by adding powder to boiling water. Use the measuring spoons and glass measuring cups for accuracy. Use the plastic fork to stir the dye until it dissolves completely. Add the dye mixture to the water simmering in the stock pot.

    Step 4 - Dye the Wool

    Add the wet wool to the stock pot. Do not wring it out first. Use the wooden spoon to push the wool beneath the surface line of the water. Cover the pot and allow the wool to simmer for about 30 minutes. To ensure even color, stir the wool when it is added to the pot. Stir several times during the dyeing process. After 30 minutes, check the color. Remember that the fabric will dry lighter. If you have the color intensity you like, add 1/3 cup of vinegar to the pot and stir. If you want a darker color, simmer longer before adding the vinegar. Cover and allow to simmer for an additional 30 minutes.

    Step 5 - Cool the Wool

    Turn off the stove. You can let the wool gradually on the stove top. If you can't wait to peek at the finished product, cool the wool gently at the sink. Put the stock pot under the faucet and run warm, then tepid, and finally cool water over the wool. Do not try to cool the wool too fast by adding cold water. You'll "felt" the wool, which means that all the fibers will bunch together, resulting in a fabric that's too thick to hook.

    Step 6 - Rinse and Dry the Wool

    Remove the cooled wool from the pot. Wring it gently. Put it in the washing machine and run the spin cycle on delicate to remove excess moisture. Finally, put the wool in the dryer with a dry bath towel, which will help fluff the wool fibers.

    The wool is now ready for your handmade area rugs!