Friday, January 13, 2012

How To: Dye Playsilks with Food Dye!

When I first heard of them, I thought the idea was crazy. Was my kid really going to play with some dyed silk squares for years and years? Well, I made my first batch when Eleanor was 8 months old and I have to say that I am a convert! She loves them and so does Emmett!

What are they for? Well, they are the ultimate imagination toy. They can be on the ground as a blanket, tablecloth, or river. They can be worn as clothes, they can be used to dress up toys. They can simple be flung up in the air for fun! They are the best! I liked them so much  Santa made some larger ones for Christmas.

I dye my own because they are very expensive from Etsy and I wanted to make sure they are non-toxic.

Here's how you do it:

First, get your silk. It must be pure silk. I buy the Silk Habotai Squares from Dharma Trading. Now go to your supermarket and buy packets of Kool-Aid. Yep. And try not to be embarrassed at the checkout. You can also use food dye. You'll also need some white vinegar.

Start by soaking your scarves in water until they are thoroughly wet and heat up a pot of water on the stove until boiling.

Now, dump a pack of Kool-Aid into the water.

...and put your scarf in. Give it a stir and glug in a good 1/2 cup on vinegar. Then forget to take a picture of the red, so pretend that it's magically changed colour.

 You see here that the water has started to go clear. When it's pretty clear, rinse the scarf out and hang it to dry (or put it in the dryer).

This is a great project to do with older kids too as it's pretty magic seeming. The funny thing is that it doesn't matter how much water you use as the silk fibres just sucks up whatever dye particles are in there! Wow!


  1. I've been wondering about these for awhile! What size did you use for the big ones?

  2. I used the 30 x 30" size for the big ones - they are big enough to tie around my kid's waist as a skirt. The smaller ones are about 20 x 20 or so.