Learn how to create a speckled yarn using acid dye powders! Speckled dyeing is the process of adding miniscule amounts of dye powder to yarn, creating unique color combinations with unlimited possibilities for projects!

Acid Dye Speckle

Acid Dye Speckle

Supplies Needed To Get Started!


  • Shower Curtain Rings: put these through the hanks to get a grip on them and hang then up without tangling.
  • Apron: Not required, but nice to have on hand.

TIP: Write everything down as you go! There are many steps and you do not want to rely on memory for your calculations. This is also helpful to go back to if you want to re-create a certain dyed fiber.

STEP 1: Start by weighing the amount of fiber you will be dyeing. Consult the yarn label for the weight if you do not have a scale.

STEP 2: Fill rinse bucket with warm water and add either 1/4 cup of white vinegar OR 1 Tbs of citric acid per lb. of fiber. Stir and make sure it is all dissolved.

  • This activates the acid dye and makes the color adhere to the fiber.
  • Unlike white vinegar, citric acid has no smell, which may be more appealing to use. It can be found with canning and preserve supplies at the grocery store.
  • Per 100g skein of High Desert Bare:
    • 1 tbs or vinegar or 0.5 tsp citric acid

STEP 3: Soak the fiber in acidic water for at least 15 minutes.

STEP 4: Remove yarn from acidic water and squeeze out the excess water. Lay yarn out in the pan.

STEP 5: Gloves on! With your gloved hand, take a SMALL pinch of dye powder and sprinkle over the yarn in the pan.

*Be aware that colors placed close to each other may mix*

  • Red and yellow next to each other will mix to orange.
  • Blue and orange next to each other will mix to brown.
  • Fades and ombres are also possible with this technique.

TIP: You need much less than you think you do. A little goes a long way as the powder will dissolve into the damp yarn.

STEP 6: Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in oven for for 30-45 minutes.

  • Longer dye periods generally create more saturated colors, but do not leave yarn more than an hour or it may scorch.
  • Blues typically take closer to 45 minutes.

STEP 7: Remove pan from the oven and let it cool for several minutes.

  • While it cools, prepare your splash sink or rinse bucket with COLD water.

STEP 8: Remove fiber from pot and rinse THOROUGHLY with COLD water. Gloves on!

  • Continue to rinse until water runs clear.
  • The cold water preserves the vibrancy of the color.
  • Gently squeeze out any water once it runs clear and hang up to dry.

STEP 9 (optional): Soak the dyed yarn in warm water and wool wash/light detergent for 15-20 minutes, rinse, squeeze out excess water, and hang to dry.

  • This removes all the excess dye left behind. The reason some yarns bleed when your finished product is blocked is because this step was not done.

TIP: Place a sheet of Shout Color Catcher into the wash water during Step 9. This absorbs any dye that is free-floating in the water. Also do this when wet blocking finished projects to contain bleeding. They can be found in the laundry detergent aisle at the grocery store.

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