Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dyeing Pantyhose with Kool-Aid & Food Coloring :: Tutorial!

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Hello, all! I know its been a while...I know, I know, shame on me! The last few months have been INSANE. BUT. I'm kinda getting my craftin' legs back under me and would like to bring you...dying tights! Or pantyhose. Or stockings. Or whatever they are called. NYLONS?

There are several tutorials out there along these same lines, so I'd definitely recommend looking around to see what suits you best!

THE INTERESTING BACK STORY...

I've always wanted to go to a Comic Con...like...literally always, and I've just never gotten the chance. My husband surprised me the other day with tickets to the upcoming Boston Comic Con!! (I love that man ^.^) SO of course this calls for costuming! Since its only a few weeks until the convention, I didn't want to have to order anything in case it didn't get here on time, as most of the costume retailers are oversees. I decided on Poison Ivy, and all I wanted was some green tights. Thats it. Just green. Easy, right? NO. NOT EASY. I looked tons of places and all I could seem to find was a highlighter neon green or a dark hunter green. No bueno. So I gave up and decided to try to do them myself.

The awesome thing about this is you probably already have everything you need in your kitchen!


Method #1 :: Kool-Aid

Go forth and procure:
: Tights or pantyhose (I used these)
: Pot (not the drugs)
: Stove
: Kool-Aid
: A spoonual utensil of stirring
: Water


Okie dokie. So as far as what pantyhose to get...the more opaque (not sheer) and lighter the hose are, the better and brighter the color will turn out. Also, try to stay away from those pantyhose that have ten different types of fibers in them; go for 100% nylon or a 85% nylon/15% spandex range. I used L'eggs Sheer Energy in Nude.


 First step is to fill your pot with water. The hose need enough room to float around in and not be too bunched up. I put it on medium heat...get some hottub action going on!


Next, grab whatever color Kool-Aid you want your tights to be. This is the fun part... EXPERIMENTATION!! Mix colors until you get the color you'd like. If you're stuck, this chart is an awesome reference. Its actually for dying yarn, but it gives you a good idea on what colors to mix.


 I have a bad tendency to overcompensate 'just in case', so I put in two packs of Lemon Lime, a little sprinkle of the blue Berry, and half a pack of Lemonade.


Now toss in your tights and stir while it simmers. I kept my heat on medium...your probably don't want to boil it straight up. ALSO. Make sure to use a plastic spoon. Wooden spoons can catch on the hose and pull them. Runs in your awesome new hose? NO BUENO. Make sure you stir the tights. If you let them sit in one place too long, the color wont take evenly.


I left mine in until they started to look the color I was going for. Don't freak out (like I did) if you don't notice the color taking right away. Just keep stirring! It will happen, promise :)


After you have reached the desired color, carefully (they HOT!) remove the pantyhose and rinse them in cold water until the water runs clear.


Wring (or 'wrench' as my grandmother always said) them out (gently) and hang them up somewhere to dry! Mine received the luxury of a creepy-colored orange hanger in the shower. OOHH YEAHH!!





Method #2 :: Food Coloring

Go forth and procure:
: Tights or pantyhose
: Pot (please, not the drugs)
: Stove
: FOOD COLORING
: Vinegar
: A spoonual utensil of stirring
: Water


This method is almost identical to the Kool-Aid one, with the exception of adding vinegar to your dye water. For this method I picked up some opaque yellow tights at Target (on sale for $2?? YES.) The food coloring I used was just your average four pack of yellow, red, green, and blue that you find in the baking/spices section.




SO, once again, heat up a pot of water on mediumish heat. Again, I wouldn't just flat out boil the water, but you want it to have some steam coming off of it.

Add 1 Tablespoon of vinegar for every cup of water in the pot. I didn't measure good. I kinda guessed :)



Now add in your food coloring! Again...experiment! No two pantyhose/tights are exactly alike, so you might have to play around with color combinations.

**A note on adding the food coloring...when you think you've added enough...ADD SOME MORE. The tights literally absorb the color out of the water. I didn't add enough to begin with and had to go back and add more as I went.


Throw your poor innocent tights into the bubbling green lagoon of DEATH.


NOW STIR LIKE YOU HAVE NEVER STIRRED BEFORE IN YOUR LIFE. Don't stop stirring. For an even all over color, make sure every little crook, cranny, and crevice is equally submerged. I took my tights out a few times to make sure they weren't twisted.


When the color is all absorbed from the water (the water will become mostly clear), take out your tights (REMEMBER, they HOT) and rinse in cold water.


Hang these up with your others and go bake yourself some cookies while they dry!




The verdict...

I LOVE THEM. 

These are the pair I Kool-Aided. The flash kinda washed them out (mad photog skillz, I have), but they are a wonderful tinted green. 


 And these are the pair that I did with food coloring. They started off yellow, which gave them a lovely lime-y bright green undertone. SO FESTIVE!





Even with my obsessive compulsive stirring, the food colored pair had some slight marbling/blotchy places, but not enough to be super noticeable. All in all I loved how it turned out! Super easy, fast, and cheap! I will definitely be doing this again!

This is a great option for dancers, cosplayers, and people in general who need tights in specific colors in a pinch!

Thank you all!


51 comments:

  1. Just what I needed! Going to use this method to make colored fairy wings (maybe some tights now too!) for a ren fest :) Thanks for the tutorial!

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    1. Awesome! Thank you for stopping by! (I love me some ren faires!)

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  2. This is saving me over $10 (that I would spend online) for my little girl's costume for Halloween (because I already have fc, vin, and hose). She is going to be the cutest 20 month old sunflower out there. Thanks!

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  3. I am going to have to try this. My daughter is going as Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas and I can't find baby blue tights anywhere! I need a few pair because one I need to cut. (She will be wearing one pair kind of like a shirt under her costume)

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    1. How did this turn out? My toddler is going as Sally and I have been searching for a blue body suit and tights. What did you use? instructions also if you don't mind.

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    2. How did this turn out? My toddler is going as Sally and I have been searching for a blue body suit and tights. What did you use? instructions also if you don't mind.

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    3. The girl's section of Walmart should have leggings of that color. I found a misplaced pair in the women's section and was very upset. For a toddler you could probably cut it up and use parts for the arms and legs.

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  4. Just a little question.Does the color comes off when washed?
    Great inexpensive tutorial!!

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    1. I can't say that I'm sure =/ I haven't tried washing them yet. I should do that!

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  5. Oh wow, who knew you could do that with cool aid?! Those are some pretty cool tights!

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  6. I found this on Pinterest. I shared your link on Facebook and it's a hit! Can't wait to try it tomorrow.

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  7. How clever! I have dozens of pair of pantyhose lying around and will try this.

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  8. I like the inconsistent color. Plants are variegated and Poison Ivy should be too. :D

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  9. I need to ask - did they turn your legs green? Just curious...

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    1. They did not :) I wore them for several hours and my legs were fine!

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  10. What if you tried "white" panty hose (like nurses used to wear)?
    I would think it would give you a truer color than the nude/skin tone colors.

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    1. I am going to try this Patti and I'll let you know.

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  11. Thank you sooo very much for this! I'm also dressing up as Poison Ivy to a heroes vs villain party and I couldn't find green tights anywhere!! You are a life saver xx

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  12. Thanks for trying both! Love the idea

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  13. Oh My Gosh ! Love it !
    My 16 month old daughter is going as a lady bug this year and for the life of
    Me I couldn't find RED NYLONS in her little size! Yay for Kool-aid !
    Also which did u wear for the Comic-Con the sheer kool-aid dyed nylons or the food color dyed nylons? Thank u so Muchhhh I love ur blog

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I actually ended up wearing BOTH! I wore the opaque pair and then pulled the sheer over on top of those...it made a wicked cool gradient effect :)

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  14. homestead survival shared this on FB. thank you.

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  15. Does anyone know if the color bleeds off onto your skin?

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  16. I used the kool-aid method and I didn't rinse with vinegar I just soaked it in ice water after and rinsed a little. A little of the red kool-aid dye came off on my daughters toes and I think it was because I really didnt rinse well I didnt want the color to come out the nylons . It came out with soap and water

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  17. How do these hold up to washing with soap and water? If they get wet when you are wearing them do they cause and skin coloring?

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  18. Can you wash and re-wear? I'd imagine not, but I'm curious!

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  19. Thanks for sharing this, I ended up desperately in need of a way to dye some lace and nylons after fabric dye failed. I used the food color method and very true about adding more food coloring while doing the nylons, they do tend to pull the dye out out of the water and kind of get stuck on a color, after adding more color and more vinegar they got to the shade I wanted. Thanks for posting this for those of us who needed a way!

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  20. Thank you so much!!!! I'm going as Miss Martian to a comi-con and didn't really want to paint my legs green X) Thanks again!

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  21. If you wet your item first it will help with the healthiness. As the item is already wet it will absorb btter

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  22. This post is the best! I am going as a fairy this halloween and I already have a tulle skirt for it but it's an odd sort of teal. I don't just want to do black tights or anything, so I'm not sure what color to do these in or what food color/koolaid color combo to use. Any suggestions?

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    1. Honestly I like the idea of food coloring better and starting off with a colored hose.

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  23. Thanks for the tutorial, I am going to give this a try. I like the idea of using the colored hose or white hose and food coloring, so I think I will go that route.

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  24. Hi Guys!!! I know I'm probably not the only parent up right now putting finishing touches on their kids' costume. I tried Method #1 but instead of using sheer nude stockings I used a very opaque pair of white stockings from Walmart (under $2). I used Kool Aid flavor Mixed Berry and the whole process was honestly VERY EASY! I did want to add a tip I had to figure out along the way. The color soaks into the stockings VERY QUICKLY (probably due to me using white stockings versus nude). I got a blue that was a little too blue. I freaked out but was gladly able to fix it. If your find yourself in this situation just boil another large pot of water and stick them back in there. You will immediately see the color start to fade. Pull out when you have your desired color. YAY! I wanted to thank Jordan for this EXTREMELY HELPFUL post! It was a lifesaver!!! My daughter is also going to be Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas and thanks to you I have homemade tights. I'm feeling very crafty! :) Happy Mom!

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  25. Thank you so much! I'm being Elphaba from Wicked for Halloween, and this is perfect for making it look like I have green legs! This is probably the first DIY that I didn't horribly fail at, so thank you soooo so much <3

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    1. I'm glad it worked out for you! Wicked is one of my favorite plays!

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  26. Great idea! Thanks!! I sell hosiery, and it's hard to find different colors. Now I can but white tights that cost $1 and use this method!

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  27. Is the result different if you dont add the viniger?

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    1. I add the vinegar to held with the dye adhesion. You could certainly try it without!

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  28. What can I do to make it darker I tried doing red and blue with the food coloring on white leggings. It turned pink and light blue, but when I rinsed the color the blue washed right off. It sat on stove for about a hour.

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    1. Sometimes you have to add a LOT more food coloring/koolaid to the water than you think you need. I add color in until it gets to the shade I want :)

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  29. What can I do to make it darker I tried doing red and blue with the food coloring on white leggings. It turned pink and light blue, but when I rinsed the color the blue washed right off. It sat on stove for about a hour.

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  30. Thank you so much for this post. I couldn't find green gloves for my ivy costume anywhere so I died white ones I had using this method. They look great.

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  31. The food color & vinegar method worked well for Tinkerbell! I used white stockings & it looks great.

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    1. Also, I used a Paula Deen pot with a black bottom. Would definitely reccomend a metal pot bc its hard to see your color as you mix it!

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  32. This is AWESOME! I'm going as a green skinned Twi'lek for Star Wars Celebration in April and my leggings show just a teeny amount of leg, but I wasn't looking forward to just airbrushing my knees. Lol! This is the perfect solution.
    One two-part question- how big was your pot (not the drugs ;) Heehee!) and how much water did you use? I guess the first part is the more important one, since you say enough water for the hose to 'swim around' in.
    You, my dear, are my superhero of the day with this. :) Thank you!

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    1. Fantastic! I've wanted to cosplay Aayla Secura for a while now! I didnt really measure the water to be honest, I just filled a regular sized sauce pan about 3/4 way full...you just dont want them to be too cramped or they wont dye evenly :)

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  33. i want to try but does it stain your skin after wearing all night and sweating?

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  34. Can't wait to try this for a Touka Kirishima cosplay

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