Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid: Part I

posted by Beret.

koolaid

I never really cared for the taste of Kool-Aid, but oh, how I have always loved the smell of it. That aroma smacks of childhood, warm days, and cheerfully destructive running pitchers:

From www.galleryhip.com
From http://www.galleryhip.com

I don’t really want my kids drinking Kool-Aid, either; luckily, there are plenty of other things to do with it. For the first installment of this two-part series, I hereby present the following projects: scented play dough, hair dye, tie-dye, and slime.

A few notes and suggestions before we start.

Always use unsweetened Kool-Aid powder; it’s more concentrated and much less sticky to work with. Also, it is super cheap.

As for color:

Grape Kool-Aid smells fabulous but makes a grayish-lavender colored playdough. Add purple food coloring unless you are looking for a pastel color.

Kool-Aid blue is awesome but beware! Use the Blue Raspberry Lemonade powder for blue dye. Tropical Punch packets are blue on the outside but that flavor turns things red!

Lemonade makes a pastel yellow. Add a few drops of yellow food coloring to add pizazz.

Cherry (red, obviously) and Orange are both great.

Also, I couldn’t find Lemon-Lime packets around these parts–as well as loads of other flavors that supposedly exist–but you can always mix the colors! Try a little Mixed Berry with lots of Lemonade, for example, to get a pastel green. I also tried Blue Raspberry Lemonade with regular Lemonade. Nice, but I added a few drops of green food coloring to get the bright green you see below in playdough.


Scented Playdough:

Not pictured:  vegetable oil! Very important! Recipe is in Gina's post.
Not pictured: vegetable oil! Very important! Complete recipe is in Gina’s post.

This was a breeze. I just followed Gina’s instructions for the best homemade playdough ever–far superior to the regular salt dough recipe–and added a packet or two of Kool-Aid for fragrance and color.

I stirred everything together at once. Here, I mixed a little Cherry with an envelope of Black Cherry. You can see the color results in the next photo.
I stirred everything together at once. Here, I mixed a little Cherry with an envelope of Black Cherry. You can see the color results in the next photo.

playdough creations

That’s it. Feels great. Smells great. Tastes terrible.

Lest you think that play dough is for toddlers--I had a house full of 9-11 year olds digging it.
Lest you think that play dough is for toddlers–I had a house full of 9-11 year olds digging it for an hour and a half.


Hair Dye:

Miss 9 wanted cool hair for the first day of school. I obliged. That is not surprising, since I also caved in for pierced ears and foster kittens.

koolaid hairThere are about a million suggestions for how to do this on the web. The directions I liked best were by Jes Schoenhals on Youtube. Definitely watch the link for an idea of how much of a mess this can make!

In a nutshell…

1. Start with clean, dry hair.

2. Wear an old shirt. Jes forgot to mention this very important step.

3. Boil a cup or two of water, depending on how much dye you need.

4. Add three or more packets of unsweetened Kool-Aid per cup of water. Stir until completely dissolved and allow to cool to a tolerable temperature. Heat helps the coloring process, but no need to boil your hair!

4. Divide your hair into two parts, and put elastics on tightly. The dye creeps a little, especially if you use regular hair elastics. Rubber bands work better because they don’t absorb the dye and allow it to spread as much. Now we know.

You can see the dye creeping past the hair elastics. Whoops.
You can see the dye creeping past the hair elastics. Whoops.

6. Dip your hair for 5-7 minutes.

7. Squeeze out excess Kool-Aid and wrap the ends with tin foil. The longer you wait before rinsing, the longer the color will last.

hair dye foils

8. Rinse and condition the ends.

9. Amaze your friends with your punk rock hair.

Tie Dye

You could dye anything made from smooth, cotton fabric: a dish towel, t-shirt, napkins, tights!, et cetera. All you need is cotton fabric, a fork, and a couple of rubber bands. And Kool-Aid, of course!

Plus..a place to hang your wet fabric after dyeing.
Plus..a place to hang your wet fabric after dyeing.

1. Before you begin, add one or two packets of unsweetened Kool-Aid to a half cup of boiling hot water. Continue stirring until completely dissolved. If you need more liquid than that–depending on the size of your fabric–just add more hot water and more packets of Kool-Aid. Some folks like to add a tablespoon or two of vinegar to help set the color. My kids can’t stand the smell, and weren’t terribly concerned about permanence, so we skipped that.

We mixed up red and blue dye in mugs and used a square of cotton muslin to make a bandana.

2. Place your fabric on a smooth, flat surface.

3. Pull up the very center of the cloth and tuck it into the tines of the fork.

Miss 11 shows off her mad day camp skills.
Miss 11 shows off her mad day camp skills and her kick-ass bandaid.

4. Gently twist the fork. Coax the fabric into a spiral.

tie dye twist
Gently guide the fabric with your other hand, so it stays in a neat spiral, more or less.
This wasn't our first Kool-Aid project, as you can tell by the color of Miss 11's thumb.
This wasn’t our first Kool-Aid project, as you can tell by the color of Miss 11’s fingers. Definitely use rubber gloves if you wish to avoid this look.

5. When the fabric is in a ball, fasten it tightly with rubber bands.

tie dye ball 2

6. Miss 11 dipped one half of her ball into the red for a few minutes, and the other end in the blue for a few minutes.

7. Squeeze out excess dye so it doesn’t drip too much, and carefully remove the rubber bands.

8. Hang to dry. Avoid hanging over a white rug or an angora cat, for obvious reasons.

tie dye hang

As a possible variation, you could skip the dipping and use medicine droppers to apply the dye instead, like the Chocolate Muffin Tree suggests here.

Slime!

slime

Most recipes for slime involve Borax and glue. That actually makes a much sturdier slime, but this recipe is super easy, cheap, and it’s non-toxic. Plus, it’s gross, so it is fun to make and handle.

What you need:

slime materials

A cup of water, a packet of Kool-Aid, one tablespoon of Metamucil or other fiber powder with psyllium husks, and a microwave-safe receptacle. I used CVS store brand fiber powder for the first batch, which I do not recommend. Too grainy. It never got all lovely and translucent. Keep in mind that the flavored fiber powders have a color to them. For example, orange Metamucil is–orange. When mixed with a blue Kool-Aid this makes for a hideous and horrible color of slime, perfect for Halloween.

1. Dissolve the fiber powder completely in warm water.

Yep. You guessed it. Orange Metamucil.
Yep. You guessed it. Orange Metamucil.

2. Add the Kool-Aid and stir until dissolved.

slime kool-aid

3. Set the bowl in the microwave and fire it up. WATCH IT LIKE A HAWK. Seriously.

This photo is from one of my failed attempts. You can see it bubbled up on the sides because I did not know about hawk eyes.
This photo is from one of my failed attempts. You can see it bubbled up on the sides because I did not know about hawk eyes.

I had many unsuccessful slime projects because the directions I found online neglected to clarify this point: it is essential to remove the mixture from the microwave RIGHT WHEN IT STARTS TO BUBBLE. In my microwave, this took about 90 seconds on full power, but every microwave is a little different.

4. Remove and stir. Allow to cool slightly.

5. Repeat #3 and #4. DON’T FORGET THE HAWK EYES.

6. Repeat #3 and #4.

Voilà. It should be viscous and clammy feeling. If not, you can continue to repeat steps 3 and 4, but if you have left it to boil for a while, it will never be anything except soup.

 

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Author: Beret Olsen

Beret Olsen is a writer, teacher, and photo editor for 100 Word Story. She loves toast, the Oxford comma, and all your comments and questions.

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