Kool Colors

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Learn about dyes and mordants (fixatives) when you tie-dye fabric with Kool-Aid™ and vinegar. The colored molecules in Kool-Aid™ form a chemical bond between the fiber and dye molecules. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on Archive.org. Activity write-up only, images are unavailable.]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Packets of unsweetened Kool-aid in dark colors
  • Vinegar
  • Small bowls
  • Warm water
  • Measuring cup
  • Rubber bands or string
  • 12-inch square pieces of white cotton fabric
  • Stir sticks/spoons
  • String or wire, and clothes pins or paper clips (to hang your masterpiece up to dry).


  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Bonding
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Acids and Bases

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • be mobile

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • TryScience


  • All rights reserved, TryScience/New York Hall of Science,