15 July 2009

How to Hand Dye Silk Play Scarves

Playsilks are silk scarves of any size that children can use in imaginary play. As opposed to cold, hard synthetics, toys crafted from natural sources provide children with warm sensory experiences. I had purchased playsilks before, but they were costly. Then I found Dharma Trading on the internet. The link will take you right to the page where they sell the very affordable scarves. I bought a package of twelve 11 x 11 scarves for under $6 USD. International shipping is reasonable too.

You will need the following:

- Kool Aid crystals or food coloring
- white vinegar
- silk scarves
- water in glass jars such as mason jars

This whole project will take you about 15 minutes and yield gorgeous results.

Fill each mason jar most of the way with warm water and a splash of vinegar. The vinegar acts as a mordant to help the color adhere to the silk. Next add your Kool Aid or a few drops of food coloring until you have the color you desire. Push your scarves in with a spoon until they are fully immersed. The better the scarves can fan out, the more evenly your color will be distributed.

Transfer your jars to a shallow pot of water on the stove top. Boil the water then turn it down to simmer. The heat from this process sets the color.

I waited about 10 minutes for the scarves to "cook". The mix in the jars will look a little cloudier than when you started. Simply remove your scarf, rinse it in cold water until the water runs clear, then hang to dry.


mamaTAVE said...

Thank you for this tutorial! I am so pleased that I now know how to make these play silks for about 1/3 of the money I have purchased them for in stores.

I used a quart size mason jar for a 21x21" silk and got a tie-dyed effect I wasn't going for... Do you have any ideas of a bigger jar/container to use for dying? Would love to hear any suggestions. Thanks again!

Lenetta said...

I'm fascinated by playsilks and really appreciate the easy dye instructions and the cheap source! I linked to this on my weekly roundup - the post is here. Thanks!!