This week, we had another wonderful get-together with our local Waldorf playgroup! This time, we decided to do something I’ve been wanting to do for a really long time–dye playsilks with the kids!! Playsilks are wonderful, open-ended toys that have a million and one uses. Basically, they’re scarves. Just silk scarves. You can dye them in a multitude of ways, I’ve even seen people paint the most beautiful silks. Children can use them for pretty much anything. Ours, at the moment, are flags, hair kerchiefs, capes, blankets, and beds. they also make great backdrops for puppet shows, playscapes…whatever you can imagine! We even have a couple of sets of handkerchief sized silks that I’m going to make puppets out of!
We ordered our silks from the Dharma Trading Co. They give discounts for bulk orders, and so we just all went in together, and it worked out really well. The dyeing process itself was pretty simple, much more simple than I thought it would be!! We got kool-aid, and more or less used the mixtures we found at Tried and True. We did find that the the darker blue there ended up a fairly dark purple instead. So, we only had light blue. It was OK, though, it made the prettiest silks, kind of mottled, with what looks like clouds. PERFECT for sky play!
We mixed the kool aid packets with 1/2 cup of vinegar, and stirred very well. Then, we added warm water to fill the quart sized mason jars, covered, and shook VERY well to mix completely. After that, it was crazy simple. We wetted the silks in clean water, and then squeezed out the excess. Then, we put the dampened silks into the jars and let them sit. We didn’t have a time period, just until we figured they were done. We then took the silks out of the jar, and squeezed out the excess kool aid. Then, we put them in ziploc freezer bags, and popped them in the microwave for 2 minutes. (Hint: Don’t seal your bag all of the way, it WILL pop!) Remove the bags, and let them cool for a few minutes, then microwave them again for 2 more minutes. When they’re cool enough to handle, we rinsed them in the sink, until the water ran clear. Honestly, it didn’t take that long, the dye set VERY quickly in the microwave! In fact, our hostess remarked about how much more quickly the dye set than when she had used Wilton dyes to dye playsilks before.
After the silks were rinsed, we just hung them on the porch to dry! The kids played and the moms talked, and, as usual, it was a beautiful afternoon. I absolutely love our local playgroup. We have the most lovely bunch of women, and I’m so blessed to be part of them.
So, a couple of tips: Wear gloves if you don’t like your fingers and nails being stained. Most of the kool aid has come off of my fingers, but my nails are still a charming shade of maroon. ;) Also, we ended up with lots of mottled-looking silks. I think a bigger jar, pot, or bowl would work better if you wanted a “perfect” silk. For us, I like the organic looking imperfect ones. :) My kids love them all, so it’s all good.
We had so much fun dyeing playsilks, and I had bought a TON, so I still have more to dye! We’ll be working on these the rest of the summer, perfecting our shades and process, I’m sure.
Have you ever dyed playsilks? What’s your favorite make-it-at-home toy? Leave a comment and let me know!