Cool-Aid Colored Capes - Fly Fishing Forum
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  #1  
Old 04-01-2008, 01:29 PM
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Jim Miller Jim Miller is offline
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Cool-Aid Colored Capes

I've been having a hard time finding capes in the colors I want. Recently I've been dyeing my own. Unsweetened Cool-aid and vinegar yields some nice pastels. Strong coffee and vinegar ... a nice tan.



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  #2  
Old 04-01-2008, 05:39 PM
PopnesetBay PopnesetBay is offline
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Kool-aide dyes

Jim - what is proportional mix vinegar/kool-aid and????? and how long do the saddles sit in mix. Some really good looking colors. Any info greatly appreciated
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Old 04-01-2008, 05:59 PM
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PB
here's the lowdown.... as easy as dyeing easter eggs.

2 oz of vinegar, 6 oz of water, one pack of unsweetened cool-aid. Bring mix to boil.
let cool down. Clean cape w/ soapy water. rinse off. Put cape in dye solution till desired color saturation or till water is clear (of dye). Remove cape from solution and rise w/ soapy water. Blow dry cape .
Here are some links:
http://www.thepiper.com/fiberart/koo...art-medium.jpg
http://www.thepiper.com/fiberart/koo...sic-howto.html

Note to moderator: links are non-commercial
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  #4  
Old 04-01-2008, 07:31 PM
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Jim,That's a great idea on the formula! Thanks...maybe a good project for me when I am down the Cape this summer.
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:49 AM
PopnesetBay PopnesetBay is offline
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Dye Formula - Site

Jim - Thanks for info. Looks like another project to "pi##-off" the wife!!!!! Oh well, things were running too smoothly around here anyway.
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  #6  
Old 04-02-2008, 01:29 PM
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Kool (no pun intended, well maybe a little)

I have an excessive amount of grizzly saddles I've accumulated somehow and was above to give these to a couple of my students.

This simple dying technique will help me avoid a purchase (fiance will appreciate) and I can customize the colors.

Thanks Jim!
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  #7  
Old 04-03-2008, 06:23 PM
flytyer flytyer is offline
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Jim,

As you have found, using Kool Aid to dye materials gives you nice pastel colors. The reason for this is the coloring agent in Kool Aid is acid dye, which is why you need to use vinegar to set it. A better detergent to use is Synthrapol because it is both a detergent and a dye dispersent (this means it helps the dye evenly color the material in the dye bath). Synthrapol can be gotten at Pro Chemical & Dye, which is located in MA.

Although Kool Aid works, I prefer using acid dye when I dye. There are two main reasons: 1) Kool Aid has a lot more flavoring in it than dye, which is why you have to use a full packet of unsweetened Kool Aid to dye one neck or saddle); and 2) you can't get good, bright colors with Kool Aid.

A third consideration is that acid dye is actually cheaper in the long run because it takes very little of it (about 1/4 teaspoon) to dye a full oz of material, several necks, saddles, or tails. Acid dyes also are available in floresent hot pink, fuschia, chartreuse, orange, and chrome yellow (very bright true yellow), black, hot purple, scarlet, olive, dun grey, bright green (non-florescent), gold, several yellows, several blues, etc. that you cannot get with Kool Aid. Plus the acid dyes in true blue, crimson, and yellow can be mixed together to produce any color you wish, just use a color wheel to do so.

Anyhow, a 1 oz container of acid dye powder runs around $6.00 and it will dye at least a pound of feathers. Pro Chemical & Dye, Fly Dye (a part of Orco Dye Company), Jacquard's, and Dharma Trading Company are places I regularly get acid dyes from.

One caution I've written about several times before, never use Veniard's dye because almost all the colors are blends of different acid dyes, including different type of acid dye (there are three main types and they all set in different times), which causes problems if you use a different amount of dye or water or material the next time you dye. Also, using acid dyes is just as easy as using Kool Aid, you just have a much larger selection of colors.
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Old 04-03-2008, 07:54 PM
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Thanks flytyer
some great info. As I mentioned I'm just getting started w/ dyeing my own stuff. The cool-aid seemed to be a easy first step..... and one not too prone to mess up my wife's kitchen.
next is acid dyes .... maybe add RIT dye to the list?
In any event, it sure is nice to not be limited to the colors available commercially. It opens up great possibilities for color combinations to explore.
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Old 04-03-2008, 08:12 PM
PopnesetBay PopnesetBay is offline
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Jim Miller

Do you "strip" the saddle (bleach) prior to dyeing and if so what do you use to do it? Household bleach?
Thanks
Pete Readel
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  #10  
Old 04-03-2008, 09:01 PM
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Pete
no.
I just soak them in dish soap and water for a few hours to clean out any grease, oils etc. Then I rinsed them in clean warm water and then dyed. Washed again in clean soapy water and then clean water to get out any excess dye.

Different Topic:
You can "burn" feathers with a bleach solution to thin them out and remove the barbs. A application for this is for a Heron subsitute in Spey flys and some guys are using the wispy hackles in saltwater tyes. You have to be careful burning hackles as it can happen very fast and ruin the material. I've done a little of this "burning" but I can't say I've perfected the method.

Perhaps flytyer or others can chime in....
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Old 04-04-2008, 05:21 PM
flytyer flytyer is offline
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Jim,

RIT is not a good dye to use, despite A.K. Best writing a book about how he uses RIT for dying feathers and fur. RIT is a so-called union dye, which means it is composed of many different types of dye so it can be used on synthetic fibers, natural cellulose fibers (cotton and linen), and protend fibers (think silk). This means that there is a huge amount of dye stuffs in each package or bottle of RIT that doesn't do any dying on protein based fibers (feathers, fur, tails, hackle necks, etc.) used in fly tying. In other words, you are paying for stuff that doesn't dye your material. In other words, most of the dye in the dye bath simply goes down the drain.

Also, because of the variety of dye types combined in RIT, it is difficult to repeat your color unless you dissolve RIT powder dye in a small amount of warm water, store it in an airtight vial, then shake it vigorously before measuring for use in a dye bath. Plus, you have to use a lot more of it than a good acid dye.

The last problem with RIT is that it is difficult if not impossible to get bright, clear colors with it. Granted, when I started dying my own materials back in 1980, I used RIT because I didn't know any better and it was available at my local grocery store. I was never happy with the results I got with it though.

Then in 1985 I was introduced to acid dye in the form of Veniard's Dye. It was far easier to dye with it, but I was not happy with the lack of consistency in color with the majority of Veniard's Dye colors from one time I'd use it to the next even with careful measuring. About 1989 I found out why it was nearly impossible to get the same color or shade each time with Veniard's Dye, it is because nearly all the Veniard's Dye colors are combinations of multiple colors and even types of dye. This is important because different types of acid dye set in different times. It is also important because unless a clear, non-blended color is used in the mix, you can't get consistent colors when you dye with it.

This is what I mean, if you blend blue and yellow together you would expect to get green and can make it darker green by using more blue or a lighter green by using more yellow. However, if the blue you started with already has a little yellow in it to lighten it, you will have a near impossible time getting the proprotion right to get the green you want. This is not a trivial problem.

About 1988 I found out using about Kiton Acid Dyes (then can be gotten from Pro Chemical & Dye) and Wash Fast Acid Dyes (they can also be gotten from Pro Chemical & Dye). This was also when I found out about Synthrapol. What a huge difference these dyes and Synthrapolmade. Color was consistent from dye bath to dye bath (provided I used to same amount of dye powder in the same amount of water) and as an added plus, the dying took only 10-15 minutes (except for black which takes 2x's the dye powder and takes 30-45 minutes) for complete color saturation.

I've not used anything other than the acid dyes I mentioned in my previous post on this thread since then.

Regarding "burning feathers", I don't recommend it for several reasons. Granted it will remove the little hooks that hold feather fibers together. But it also makes the stem brittle and you have to watch the process very closely or you will ruin the feathers.

If you simply must "burn feathers", you need to use a solution of 25%-35% bleach to warm water. Don't get any of it on your clothes or they will look like moths have been having a feast! Wear rubber gloves (the bleach will dissolve vinyl ones) to protect your hands.

1) Then you have to swish the feathers around in the bleach solution with your gloved hands to make sure all the fibers get wet and for the bleach to do its dissolving.

2) After 30 seconds, take the feathers out of the bleach solution (yes, all of the feathers so you don't ruin them, one of the reasons this is a pain to do) and neutralize the bleach with a strong vinegar and water solution (it should be 60% vinegar). You must use an acid like vinegar and not baking soda (which is what A.K. Best says to use to neutralize the bleach) because baking soda is an akaline just like bleach, which means baking soda will not stop the action of the bleach. I really wish A.K. Best would never have written that or that his editor would have caught it and changed it to vinegar. Unfortunately, because A.K. is so well-known, this potentially dangerous practice is repeated by unsuspecting people because he told them to do it in his book.

3) Check to see if your feathers have had enough of the web removed to allow them to flow freely and not clump together. If not enough has been removed, put them back in the bleach solution for 15 seconds, take them out, put them in the vinegar solution, and check them again. I know this sounds like a lot of put it the bleach take out, put back in, take out, etc. but is really is the only way to make sure you don't ruin the feathers by burning them too much.

4) After you get the feathers burned enough so they don't clump together, rinse them thoroughly and then put in them in a solution of hair conditioner and water to keep the stems from being too brittle.

By-the-way, I don't recommend the burned goose as a heron substitute because the stems are very thick and this makes it very difficult to have a nice neat head on a fly, not to mention the problems it creates when wrapping them around the body.
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  #12  
Old 04-04-2008, 06:03 PM
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Jim Miller Jim Miller is offline
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Happy you chimed in. What a thesis on the topic.... shoot... you are half way to a book just on this thread!
A confession.... I bought A.K.'s book. Not too much other info out there for the public and certainly not alot in one place. I'm sure guys like yourself experiment and trade secrets and techniques with each other. But us "hacks" are relegated to searching up info as best we can.
Thanks for sharing your hard earned knowledge with Us! It's much appreciated.
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Old 04-04-2008, 09:18 PM
PopnesetBay PopnesetBay is offline
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Amen!!!

Just like to add my "Amen" to Jims thanks, flytyer. Sharing your info, gained over many trial and error disasters is greatly appreciated by this "newbie" and, I am very sure, many others. Jim - Thanks for starting this thread. As you have so clearly said, there has been more info gained in just this thread than in hours of "googleing" and then not being sure that what you got is what you really were looking for. To both of you my sincere "THANK YOU".

Pete Readel
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Old 04-05-2008, 04:15 PM
FishHawk FishHawk is offline
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Back in my sea run trout fishing days there was the Pero streamer . We used a RIt yellow dye but the secret ingredient was sea water from an unnamed secret UDl. It was a basic muddler minnow which imitated the mummie that frequented the secret stream. How's that for a formula? FishHawk
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Old 04-05-2008, 04:20 PM
flytyer flytyer is offline
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Jim and Pete,

Thanks for your kind words, but I'm just trying to share what I've learned the hard way over the last 28 years about dying materials so others don't go down the dead ends I did. I'm not sure what the market might be or the willingness of a publisher to put out another book on dyeing fly tying materials is. I suspect it would be difficult to get a publisher to put it into print.

Jim,

It doesn't surprise me that you bought A.K.'s book on dying. I even went out and bought a copy of it shortly after the first edition was published because some folks I know as acquaintances told me how great it was. I was sorely disappointed with it because it rehashes as lot of the poor advice on dying that has been put out by fly tyers over the years. Unfortunately, it is the only book on the subject for fly tyers on the market, which means many more tyers are going to go down the same old, well-worn, less than ideal ways to dye fly tying materials. Don't get me wrong, A.K.'s book is not completely bad, what he has to say about keeping notes so you can repeat the color, measuring properly, using the proper amount of water, making sure your materials are clean, and how to best dry them are very good. Unfortunately, he fell down with his advice to use RIT and his mention is passing of what he calls "super powerful dyes" like Veniard's.

By-the-way, if you guys do a search for dyeing, you will find other stuff I've written about it over the past 5 or 6 years.
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