Summer Fiber Fun: Solar Dyeing

If you can’t beat the heat, use it to dye yarn and fiber! Solar dyeing is an easy way to add color to yarn and fiber by harnessing the power of the sun on a hot day. Just follow these simple steps to get stunning results!

Supplies for solar dyeing yarn and fiber


-1 large glass jar with lid (1-2 gallons)

-Wilton Gel food Coloring (or other dye materials as preferred)

-1-2 tsp. citric acid (to set the dye)

-yarn or fiber to dye (no more than 100 g. total)


Here’s what you do:

1. Fill jar approximately 1/2 to 2/3 full with tepid water.

2. Add 1-2 tsp. of citric acid and stir to dissolve in water.

add citric acid to dye bath

3. Begin to add food coloring gel, starting with a small amount because a little goes a long way! For more complex hues, consider mixing a few different colors in your dye bath.

add dye to bath

4. Once you are happy with the color you’ve mixed, add your fiber! There is no need to pre-wet your fiber before adding to the jar – just make sure that the fiber is completely submerged in the dyebath (you may need to use a stir stick to gently encourage this to happen!).

fiber in dye bath for solar dyeing

5. Close the lid on the jar and set in a sunny spot for 1-2 days until dye bath exhausts (you will know this happens when the dye bath is nearly clear, which means that all of the color has been transferred to your yarns or fibers). If you prefer a more uniform color, make sure to gently stir your yarns or fibers periodically. If you would like to achieve a more variegated color, there is no need to stir!

yarn and fiber dyeing using the summer sun

6. Gently remove yarn or fiber from the jar. Note: If you are not sure that the dye has fully exhausted, make sure to wear gloves or use tongs to prevent dye from transferring to your bare hands.

removing fiber from dye bath

7. Roll fiber in a clean towel to squeeze out excess water.

squeeze out excess water using an old towel

8. Lay flat to dry before carding or spinning!

solar dyed fiber drying next to exhausted dye bath

Make sure to share your fiber dyeing adventures with us on social media using #strauchfiber in your posts!

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Summer Fiber Fun: Solar Dyeing Fiber

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