Psst. Have you heard about playsilks? Playsilks are one of the most open-ended, imaginative “toys” available. Our children use playsilks as dresses, scarves, hats, veils, skirts, shirts, belts, baby doll blankets and slings, streamers, flags, stretchers, handcuffs, peek-a-boo blankets, props for dancing, forts, tents and houses.
Kool-Aid dyeing your own playsilks is simple and it’s a fun and interesting project to do with your children. It also makes these lovely, colorful silks affordable for the rest of us, less than half the cost of purchasing already dyed silks.
- Silk material or scarves. We used these high quality Habotai scarves from Dharma Trading Co. The traditional size for playsilks is 35 x 35. We purchased several of those as well as a few of the 55 x 108 veils for tent building.
- A variety of colors of Kool-Aid. (I suggest using the name brand for nicer color blending.) Pink Lemonade for pink, Grape for purple, Cherry, Strawberry, Black Cherry and Fruit Punch for red, Blue Raspberry for blue, etc.
- Quart size canning jars if you want to do a multi-color effect
- Stirring utensils
Instructions for making a solid color playsilk:
1. Soak the silks in hot water. (Some suggest adding white vinegar, but this is unnecessary because Kool-Aid has sufficient acid to set the dye without this addition.)
2. Empty and mix a package of the desired flavor color of Kool-Aid into a pot of nearly boiling water on the stove top. One package of Kool Aid for a 35×35 will yield a rich vibrant color.
3. Wring out excess water from the silk and add the silk to the Kool-Aid mixture over med-high heat. Stir the silk to ensure even absorption of the dye, although some variation in the saturation levels add to the hand dyed beauty and appeal of the silk.
4. Check it often and bring it out when the color looks right to you. If you want a rich shade, leave the silk in the water until the water is nearly clear. You can achieve a more subtle shade by limiting the time in the dye.
4. When you are pleased with the color, rinse the silk in cold water until the water rinses clear. Red is the only color that takes a while to rinse clear at our home.
5. Hang your playsilk to dry and then enjoy.
Can you believe it is that easy?
Instructions for making a rainbow or multi-colored playsilk:
1. Pick the colors that you want on your playsilk. Remember to think about color mixing when deciding which colors will be next to each other. Our favorite combination has been yellow (Lemonade) next to blue (Blue Raspberry) next to red (Cherry). Where the colors overlapped we ended up with a lovely green and purple resulting in a beautiful rainbow.
2. Fill 1 quart size canning jars 3/4 of the way with water and then dump one packet of Kool-Aid into each one. You should end up with one jar of colored water for each color you are planning for the playsilk.
3. Place the jars in a large pot of water on the stove and heat.
4. Divide the silk into the sections that you want the different colors to be.
5. Put each section into the appropriate jar and stir to evenly distribute the dye. If you are doing a silk larger than 35 x 35 you may want to use 3 or 4 different pots of water to allow more room for the silk rather than the quart jars.
6. Pay careful attention to the parts between the jars. If you want the colors to overlap and mix be sure to move some of the already colored section from one jar over into the other.
7. When you are happy with the color saturation of each section and the blending, remove the silk and rinse.
8. Hang the silk to dry!
Now sit back and enjoy watching your children’s imaginations go.
Other Tuesday Tips:
Sasha at Cherished Moments is participating in Tuesday’s Tips for Mum (you’ve got to love that Australian slant) and she shares how to keep sleeping babies asleep. Can you believe that even after 9 children it is something that never occurred to me?
Kimarie at Cardamom’s Pod reminds us that they are children after all so stay flexible.