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Home | Tip of the Week | Dying Feathers with Kool-Aid

Dying Feathers with Kool-Aid

Dennis Han
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For those of you who process your own feathers for fletching, here is an easy method for adding color to them. I decided to try this "how-to" I found on the Internet, which gives detailed instructions for dying feathers with KOOL-AID. I have used green and orange, and the color transfer was very good. I soaked them in water to see if the colors would run, and they are colorfast.

Here is the link: Dying Feathers 101 from, a site for flyfishermen.

You will need three bowls and several packets of KOOL-AID in the color you prefer.

Prepare one bowl for washing/degreasing that contains water and Joy liquid soap. Agitate the feathers in this solution and let them set while you prepare the other two bowls.

In the second bowl, combine water, a dash of white vinegar and a couple of drops of Joy soap.

The last bowl should be a microwave-safe 8" x 8" glass dish. Fill it 1/3 full of water and add a splash of vinegar and a few drops of Joy soap. Dissolve two packets of KOOL-AID into this solution.

Transfer the feathers from the degreasing bowl to the water/vinegar bowl, and leave them there for five minutes.

Transfer the feathers to the KOOL-AID dye in the microwave-safe dish. Microwave it on high for two minutes, let it stand for two minutes, then microwave it again for two minutes.

Remove the dish from the microwave and use tongs to examine the feather. If it is too light, let it stand longer. The KOOL-AID acts as an acid dye, and the dye will transfer from the water into the feather. The water will actually get clearer as the feather absorbs the dye. If you desire a darker shade, remove the feathers, add another packet of KOOL-AID, and repeat the microwaving process. Once the desired shade is achieved, rinse well and dry the feathers.

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