Dyeing Yarn and Roving

How to Dye Yarn in the Microwave: The Ziploc Bag Method

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This is one of my favorite ways to dye yarn. It is a lot like steaming vegetables in a bag. I like that you can seal the bag to minimize mess.


  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Glass Pyrex bowl
  • Wool – Yarn I used Lion Brand’s Fisherman’s Wool, but any 100% wool can be used. You can also use some wool blends. I have had success with blends with 80% wool. You can also use a super wash wool and not have any worries about felting.
  • Wilton Icing Colors – I used Kelly Green and Royal
  • 2 Pyrex measuring cups
  • Gloves
  • Paper towels
  • Aluminum foil
  • Ziploc heavy duty freezer bag gallon size

    How to Dye Yarn in a Microwave - Ziploc Bag Method
    Yarn Prepared for Dyeing

Step 1

Prepare your yarn. In order for us to dye the yarn we need to wind your yarn into a hank, or a large ring of yarn. You can do this with a nitty noddy if you have one. If you don’t have a nitty then you can use my tutorial on how to tie your yarn into a hank with a chair.

Step 2

Prepare your work space to protect your counter tops. I like to use aluminum foil to cover my work area. I also laid down paper towels. Keep the paper towels close by for a quick clean up. Gather your supplies. Don’t forget to wear the glove to protect your hands from staining.

Step 3

Soak your yarn in a water and vinegar solution. For this batch I used a ratio of 1 part vinegar to 6 parts water. Let soak for at least 30 minutes.  You can mix your dye while your yarn is soaking.

Preparing Yarn to Dye
Let the Yarn Soak in the Vinegar and Water Solution for at Least 30 Minutes

Step 4

Mix the dye. Fill Pyrex measuring cup with 2 cups of water and1 tablespoon of vinegar. Dip a fork inside of the icing color of your choice. Stir into the measuring cup. You can also add some food coloring if you like. I decided to mix two dye colors for this batch. I used two forks full of Royal for one of the measuring cups, and 2 forks full of Kelly Green for the other measuring cup.


Mixing the Dye
Add One Tablespoon of Vinegar to Two Cups of Water
Dyeing Yarn with Wilton Icing Colors Ziploc Bag
Add a Fork Full of Dye
Dyeing Yarn in a Ziploc Bag in a Microwave
Use a Paper Towel to Check the Color Saturation
I Used Two Forks Worth of Dye for Each Color

Step 5

Microwave your dye for 2 minutes. Stir again to break up any chunks of icing color that still need to dissolve. Set aside for at least 40 minutes.

Step 6

Transfer your yarn into a Ziploc bag.  Gently squeeze out the excess water, but do not wring it out.

The Yarn in the Ziploc Bag

Step 7

Pour dye into the Ziploc bag a little at a time.   I poured the blue on the left side and the green on the right side.  You can use a spoon or your gloved hand to make sure the dye reaches the inside of the hank.  I ended up using all of the dye.

Dyeing Yarn
Pouring the Blue Dye
Dyeing Yarn in a Ziploc Bag
Pouring the Green Dye
The Yarn is Ready for the Microwave

Step 8

Place the bag in the microwave, and microwave for two minutes, then let it rest for two minutes, and then microwave for two minutes.  Repeat microwaving and resting at two minute intervals until the water in the bag is clear.  I had clear water in four cycles.

Dyeing Yarn in a Ziploc Bag
When the Water is Clear the Dye is Set


Step 9

Wash your yarn in the hottest water that will come out of your faucet.  Use a few drops of dawn dish detergent, gently swish yarn, and rinse well. Be careful not to let the water flow directly onto the yarn.  Too much agitation and dramatic temperature changes can cause your yarn to felt.  Hang the yarn to dry.

Dyeing Yarn in a Ziploc Bag
Hang the Yarn to Dry


I hope that you enjoyed this post, and will create your own colorways.  Please help other people find my blog by sharing this post on Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter!

How to Dye Yarn in the Microwave: Ziploc Bag Method

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