Can you Dye Wool?


Well-Known Member
I'v never tried dying wool before, but I found this great brownish/greenish wool jacket at Old Navy last weekend.

turns out it's more brown than I though, but I swear it looked greenish in the store when I bought it.

Anyways, curious if anyone has dyed wool before with a decent turnout. Looking to dye this more green to get at least a hint more of green look to it.

Its a collared zip up jacket, in a style much like Cyclops wears in X1- Train station sceen.

Originally, I was planning on doing this costume for halloween, but never got around to it (kid came first) and couldn't find a decent jacket at the time either... Seemed like they were out there before, but just my luck, not available when you need one.

anyways. Needs some slight mods to it. 2 "captains" loops at the shoulders on top, 2 side pieces near the waist, and 2 front pockets. Easy enough to modify to look good, but I don't want to go thru the hassles if I can't dye it more greenish to begin with.

any pointers out there, or should I return it and keep looking for something else.



Well-Known Member
FYI.. found a picture on ebay.. someone selling the one I bought.

thought I'd post a few pics.. maybe just leave it the way it is. Does look a little more greenish depending on the light. Maybe just wash it a few times and fade it out a bit??

One I got




Sr Member
....never dyed wool, but I've dyed cotton.....both natural fibers, so wool shouldn't be an issue. I'd search for a dye specifically made for wool tho.....


New Member
The one time I dyed wool, it soaked up the color like a sponge- it looked, and still does look great. That was white wool though, and had not been treated with anything. I just used RIT


Well-Known Member
Thanks for the tips.

Will try it out with some Rit and see what happens.

Curious.. I saw online that they do sell a grey wool one in the same style. Just didn't have it in the store I bought at.

wonder if that would be better. It would still have the darker flakes, but the lighter ones in the grey may soak up the greenish tint better...



Well-Known Member

quick glance..
"Weld, mixed with sheep's feces (dark green) "

Great.. just great.. I get to smell like a barn after dying dark green. :lol


Sr Member
you can also get a dye remover as well. made by rit, ive found it easily at michaels, if the colour you want is lighter try this first, then you can dye it the colour you want if you find that colour dye of course, if the colour you want is darker then just try rit dye, could work out,

might be something to think of


Well-Known Member
Wool soaks up color wonderfully. You can actually dye wool with kool-aid, or with food coloring and vinegar, which is tons of fun. :)

Just remember that wool + heat + agitation = felt = lots of shrinkage. The usual toss-it-in-the-washer with hot water and dye method may result in a jacket about 1/4 smaller than the original jacket.

Edited to add: For your reference about how wool overdyes, this is a hat I knitted out of recycled wool. It was originally a very dark brown, but I overdyed it with red, blue, purple and green koolaid. I did not use any dye remover first.




Well-Known Member
Thanks for the Tips Steve.


when dying with Koolaid.. does it stick permanently? Beautiful hat you have there, but if it's snowing/raining.. does your hair turn colors?

Also, I hear you on the shrinkage thing.
Question.. The jacket has a lining sewn in, so would that keep the wool (might even be wool blend- haven't checked) from shrinking the coat?

Might do a bucket of water with dye, and hang dry it in hopes it won't shrink up too much.

thanks for all the tips..


Well-Known Member
Koolaid dye is definitely permanent. Koolaid works because wool is a protien fiber - you can also dye silk with koolaid, but not a non-protien fiber such as cotton. (If it's wool blend, only the wool parts would take the color.) Once you heat the dye, it sets it into the wool. You might want to try food color instead of koolaid (because you can get little tubs of Wilton's intense food color at cake decorating/hobby shops, but it would take a lot of packs of kool aid for a coat), or just go with RIT dye. You will want to rinse it well to get rid of any excess color, but after that you won't have any problems with the color running. The one drawback to Koolaid dying is that if you don't rinse well enough you smell nice and fruity for a while afterwards.

The lining won't keep the jacket from shrinking - instead you'll just have a shrunken jacket with a too-big lining bulging out all over the place. Trust me on this - I dyed a wool coat in the washer once. Nothing like learning the hard way.

Just heating the wool shouldn't shrink it much at all - it's heat plus agitation that does the felting. Agitation is used when dying to distribute the dye evenly throughout the fabric, but you can try just soaking it in the dye, then heating it. A teensy bit of agitation, like a very limited amount of stirring, shouldn't cause too much trouble. Heat sources can be a pot on the stove, a steamer, the microwave, an iron - I've heard of people wrapping dye-soaked wool items in black plastic and leaving them in the summer sun to set wool dye, so you can get creative here. :)

Kool Aid Dye link

Good luck.



New Member
You can use store bought dye, kool aide (great inexpensive suggestion.),food coloring, or even coffee to get the color you want. Most dyes should hold fast, but you can use vinegar or salt water to help set the color.
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