June 9th, 2014

Dyeing Yarn with Sharpies!

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If you’ve spent any time on Pinterest you’ve probably seen the posts about dyeing t-shirts with sharpies, our Customer Service Supervisor, Theresa, wondered if it could be done with yarn, and it can!

Dyeing yarn with Sharpies! You'll need yarn, sharpies and rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle

You’ll need yarn, your choice in colors of Sharpie markers, and rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle – it takes A LOT of the rubbing alcohol, we used almost 12 fl. oz for this project. Place skein of yarn on swift and untie the securing threads, if your yarn is not in a hank you can wind it onto a swift to make the dyeing process easier.

Dyeing Yarn with Sharpies on the WEBS blog

Color your yarn being careful not to damage the strands, and make sure you flip the skein over to color the other side! Then spritz with alcohol, on both sides, until the colors begin to bleed. Set your yarn aside to dry. You may want to take this in stages letting the yarn dry completely between colors.

Dyeing Yarn with Sharpies on the WEBS blog

My final yarn color reminds me of my sister’s favorite fun-fetti cake mix! Give it a try and let us know how you do.

Tiny Tea Leaves Cardigan knit with Valley Yarns Charlemont, dyed with Sharpies

Theresa chose Valley Yarns Charlemont in natural and used her dyed yarn as an accent for a Tiny Tea Leaves cardigan and blanket for her new granddaughter.



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29 Responses to “Dyeing Yarn with Sharpies!”

  1. Linda Says:

    I think covering the spindles of a wood swift with aluminum foil might be a good idea.

  2. Judy Rosen Says:

    i would love the pattern for the blanket….where can i find it??
    thanks so much!

  3. Michelle Defarge Says:

    Any idea if this is colourfast?

  4. Gayla Says:

    I’m assuming the yarn needs to be washed after it dries from the alcohol, right?

  5. IrishEyes Says:

    My one question is, don’t you have to ‘set’ the color with white vinegar?

  6. Katherine Says:

    aren’t sharpies toxic and flammable? Is this a good idea for baby clothes?

  7. Sara Delaney Says:

    Hi Katherine,

    Once you’re done the yarn is rinsed and heat set, only the color remains much like the normal dyeing process for yarns.

  8. Sara Delaney Says:

    Hi IrishEyes,

    You will have to heat set once you’ve washed and rinsed the yarn but no vinegar is needed.

  9. Sara Delaney Says:

    Hi Gayla,

    Yes, a few rinses until the water is clear and a soak in Eucalan before heat setting.

  10. Sara Delaney Says:

    Hi Linda,

    If you don’t have a metal and plastic swift then it would definitely be a good idea to cover your wooden one!

  11. Sara Delaney Says:

    Hi Judy,

    Theresa wove the center portion of the blanket on her Schacht Flip loom in plain weave and then used a modified version of the edging from Ysolda Teague’s Hap Blanket


  12. Sara Delaney Says:

    Hi Michelle,

    Once the yarn is rinsed and heat set the colors are permanent.

  13. Phyllis Says:

    Can dyeing with Sharpies be done on all fibers, or does it need to be protein only or plant? Can acrylic blends be used?

  14. Judy Rosen Says:

    it’s just beautiful! thank you for the information but i think it might be a little too advanced for me……

  15. Sara Delaney Says:

    The original blanket pattern has a simple garter stitch center section 🙂 Theresa just loved the edging and added it to a piece she had already woven.

  16. Judy Rosen Says:

    well, maybe i could try, i could just knit a square ….does Theresa have an actual pattern for the edging as i notice the corners are a different pattern than the rest of the edging? her edging is so unusual and much prettier than the original blanket…. 🙂 thanks again

  17. Marion Says:

    Im wondering what heat setting exactly is and how it is acheaved ?

  18. Sara Delaney Says:

    Sorry Judy, she improvised as she went along.

  19. Sara Delaney Says:

    Hi Marion,

    Once the yarn was rinsed and dry we heat set the dye with a steamer, the same way you would block with steam.

  20. Sara Delaney Says:

    Hi Phyllis,

    We used Valley Yarns Charlemont which is a 60%Wool/20%Silk/20%Polyamide blend, not sure how it would work on 100% man-made fibers but give it a shot and let us know!

  21. Judy Rosen Says:

    very impressive, indeed….thanks!

  22. Jeremy Says:

    …I’ve gotta be perfectly honest here. This scares the glitter out of me. The look on my face with this is horror, not “ooh, let’s try that!” I have a lot of friends who are indie dyers, and this just makes me weep for those people. Kool-Aid dyeing is bad enough, but Sharpies? Isn’t there enough badly dyed and/or ugly yarn out there without this?

  23. JoJo Says:

    Just FYI, for questions about using the above method for baby items, permanent color Sharpie markers are nontoxic. This is printed on the side of each marker.

  24. Jennifer Says:

    I’m wondering about using this to paint on a warp that is already threaded on a loom. Tricky with the lack of rinsing ability maybe. But can you heat set with a hair dryer?

  25. Silly Little Sheep Says:

    Very nuce result, I was just looking for yarn sharpie dying ideas when I came across this. It is interesting how the colours have faded into almost fluorescent tones, but the overall result is very pleasing.

    Just a question though, having never dyed yarn myself – how do you heat set?

  26. Sara Says:

    Great question!
    I wrap the damp, rinsed yarn in parchment paper and place that in a covered microwave safe dish. Heat on med for 45 secs, or 30 secs at high heat and then let sit until cool.

  27. Susan Says:

    Cool idea. I’m thinking of adding some speckles to a skein of already bought colored yarn

  28. lorraine Says:

    What’s the point of the alcohol? If you don’t want it to bleed you don’t need it? And then why would it need rinsing? Or heat setting for that matter since a Sharpie is permanent ink. Help, my mind is spinning. I’d like to go with the Sharpie, let it dry and just knit. Doable?

  29. Karen Says:

    Sharpies can be cleaned off of surfaces with alcohol. They aren’t as permanent as people think. Excellent idea that I have to try!

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