It never ends....

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Dave Evans, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. Dave Evans Active Member

    Posts: 529
    E. WA / N ID
    Ratings: +98 / 0
    Okay, just when I think I am all set I find a new direction for this hobby (obsession) of fly tying. My latest is dying materials. I was working on a pattern that called for green hackle. No problem I thought, lots of people use kool aid so I will learn that, but none of our local stores carry lemon lime which is the green for most of the combinations. I started looking around and found an article saying to never use kool aid or Rit, so no problem, I will use what they recommend. One suggestion was Veniards, but I could not find any sources in the US. They also suggest Jacquard which I can probably find at Joann's. Short of using a magic marker, what do the rest of you use? And more important, where do you get it?
  2. Mark Mercer Member

    Posts: 1,133
    port orchard, wa
    Ratings: +493 / 0
    I've use both cool aid and ritz without any problems, the colors might not last as long as good dyes, but I'll loose the flies long before the colors fade. You can also try food coloring. If you are going to dye large amounts of hackles, like
    a few necks or saddles I'd think about using Veniards, but not for small amounts.
  3. Jack Devlin Active Member

    Posts: 1,194
    Western Washington, Puget Sound area
    Ratings: +929 / 1
    Mostly always use Veniards dyes purchased from UK (Veniards, Essential Fly etc). Recently, I have tried RIT and Kool Aid. Seem to work ok but I prefer Veniards.
    I am curious about the article you mentioned and what was said about using Kool Aid and RIT.
  4. darwin101 New Member

    Posts: 29
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    I mostly use Jacquard's and the house brand from Dharma Trading. Good quality and consistent quality, products made for dying feathers and fur.
  5. Dave Evans Active Member

    Posts: 529
    E. WA / N ID
    Ratings: +98 / 0
    Jack- I found it using google. The post I found is here:

    But I got curious when it said it was from this forum, and found out it is a post from FT! See post number 6 here:

    That is where I got the idea of using Jacquard's.

  6. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 3,943
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,532 / 0
    The colors are limited but I've done well using hair dye.

    Back in the day... you couldn't find grade A brown dry fly hackle feathers ... this was back when Metz was the most popular brand and something happened to the Rhode Island Reds (I can't remember the circumstances)... anyway, you couldn't find decent brown hackle feathers.

    So I bought a cream neck and used hair dye to change the color to brown. It worked quite well.
  7. Jack Devlin Active Member

    Posts: 1,194
    Western Washington, Puget Sound area
    Ratings: +929 / 1
    Thanks Dave. Some interesting reading in both links. I printed out to "digest" later on this evening. I can agree to one point made about Veniards in that it is difficult to get the same color twice. But, I never minded that too much because I like to experiment and see what happens. I have been trying to get a certain olive color and so may try the Jaquards and see what happens.
  8. Norm Frechette Active Member

    Posts: 594
    Norwich, CT
    Ratings: +72 / 0
  9. Jack Devlin Active Member

    Posts: 1,194
    Western Washington, Puget Sound area
    Ratings: +929 / 1
  10. Dr Bob Member

    Posts: 188
    Woodinville, WA
    Ratings: +11 / 0
    I have not colored lots of hackle, but when I just need some for a dozen flies or so, I use permanent markers. If I want a full or partial neck or saddle, I have my daughter (hair stylist) dye it for me using hair dye. With all the wacky hair styles today, there are lots of colors.

    Dr Bob
  11. Dave Evans Active Member

    Posts: 529
    E. WA / N ID
    Ratings: +98 / 0
  12. FT Active Member

    Posts: 1,239
    Burlington, WA
    Ratings: +100 / 0

    If you use Kool Aid, don't forget to put white vinegar into the dye bath or the dye will bleed out because it hasn't been set into the hackle feathers. Kool Aid's colorant is acid dye, which is what to use on protein-based materials such as feathers and fur, so it works OK to dye materials.

    The downsides to it are: limited colors, you pay for things in the package that are not dye, the color is not the same with each batch number, even with the same flavor on the package, and you need to use the whole pack of Kool Aid to make the dye bath. Also, lemon-lime Kool Aid is a pretty light green, which might not be the color you want.

    Jacquard's is found in a lot of craft stores, especially the ones that sell wool. I don't know if Joan's carries it, but Dharma Trading Company carries both it and their own house brand of acid dyes. They have superb customer service. And a 1/2 oz container of Jacquard's acid dye is only $5.00 or thereabouts. And it will dye several onces of feathers or fur. In other words, it is actually cheaper than Kool Aid.
    Dave Evans likes this.