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Making DIY Glow-in-the-dark Knitting Yarn
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Published
Nov 03 2017 by HobbyDragon
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Knitting yarn that glows in the dark, I had seen it online and I wanted it but I couldn't find a store that sold it anywhere. Giving up on the idea of buying it, the idea grew to try if maybe I could make it myself instead. I did a fair amount of searching online, found enough info to know that it could be done and even better yet, that it would likely cost far less to make than it would cost to buy if I would ever find any.
That's when the hunting for materials started. There were a few things that I had to keep in mind when looking for materials to use. From other crafting projects I have done I know that glow-in-the-dark paints and pigments really only work well when used in or on light coloured materials, so for the best results the yarn of choice would have to be white. Another very important thing to consider is that I use my yarn to make toys and doll clothes for children, which means of course that the paint I was going to use had to be non-toxic. The paint also needed to be good for use on all porous materials. Last but not least, since I wasn't 100% sure that any of this would actually work, I wanted my materials to be fairly inexpensive.
After a bit of exploring around, I found a nice 100g ball of inexpensive, white, fully acrylic yarn (UK: £1, PoundWorld). For my paint, considering the child-safety factor, I thought the best place to look was in the children's section of a crafting shop and I found a 150ml bottle that seemed to be exactly what I needed (UK: £3, Hobbycraft). To avoid that it would all become a rather messy adventure, I also made sure to have a squeaky clean empty bucket to use.
Ready for my experiment to begin, I started to unwind the ball of yarn and winding it around an empty box. I used an empty box because that's what I had on hand but any other item that can be used to go from ball to skein will work just as well. After the winding was done I tied left-over bits of bright coloured yarn around the white yarn in 4 different places to make sure that the yarn wouldn't start knotting up as soon as I took it off of the box. Once I had my yarn ready to go, it went into the bucket and I soaked the yarn in water until it was really dripping wet through and through. I drained the excess water from the bucket but left the yarn completely soaking wet.
Bit by bit I started adding the paint by squirting it over the yarn and massaging it into the wet yarn really well with my hands, making sure that it got into the yarn everywhere including the parts where I had tied the yarn to stop it from knotting up. I found myself glad that I had chosen to do this at night because it allowed me to check the results by holding the bucket under bright light for a minute and moving to a dark corner of the house to see if I was getting a good all-over glow effect. I wanted my yarn to have a strong and bright glow effect so I used around 100ml of paint from my bottle until I was satisfied with the results but a nice, slightly milder glow effect can already quite easily be achieved by using far less paint than I chose to use.
All that was left to do now is to dry the yarn. I chose not to try drip-drying the yarn by hanging it because what I had just done was essentially painting the yarn rather than dying it and hanging it to drip-dry would cause the paint to largely move from the top of the skein to the bottom, giving 1 side of the yarn a far stronger glow effect than the other. Instead I chose to dry the yarn lying flat on an old towel, turning the skein over every 6 to 8 hours. It took around 3 days for the yarn to fully dry out. I had wondered if the paint would cause the yarn to go hard or become crunchy but I was happy to discover that it didn't do any of that. In fact, the yarn still felt almost exactly the same as an unused ball of the same yarn that I had bought to be able to compare.
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I'm really pleased with the results of my yarn painting experiment and now I'm looking forward to using my DIY glow-in-the-dark yarn in my knitting projects. I have even already ordered some more of that paint just in case I want to make some more glow-in-the-dark yarn in the future. I decided to share this because it was so easy to do that I couldn't escape the thought that there would be other happy crafter online that might like to try this too. It wasn't so easy to get a proper photo taken in the dark so the photo is a bit blurry but it should suffice to show the glow effect my yarn ended up with.
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