You may be wondering what “play silks” are. They are simply silk scarves, in various colors, that can be used in imaginative play. In our house, the silks have been baby blankets, doll hammocks, super hero capes, princess gowns, veils, armor, and tents. The silk is easy to tie, so it stays put better than using a blanket for the same purposes.
Commercial Play silks are expensive – about $12-$15 a piece from specialty toy stores or Etsy. But you can also make them for very little money and with very little effort.
I ordered my silks from Dharma Trading Company.
- White silks (I recommend 35″x35″)
- Various colors of unsweetened Kool-Aid packets
- White distilled vinegar
Boil a large pot of water. Put the heated water in large bowls, one bowl for each color. You will want enough water in each bowl to cover each silk.
Add about 1 TBS vinegar to each bowl.
Pour the Kool-Aid in the bowls and mix until the powder dissolves. It will take 1-3 packets of Kool-Aid per bowl, depending on how bright you want your colors. I put three packets in each bowl.
Put one silk in each bowl and stir with a spoon until the color saturates the entire silk – DON’T STIR WITH YOUR HANDS! IT’S HOT!.
Let the silks soak in the color until the water is clear. This takes about 10 minutes. Stir periodically if you want the color to be even. To achieve the marbled look, just leave ‘em alone once they’re in the colored water.
Using a spoon or tongs, pull the silks out one at a time. Dump the colored water down the drain and squeeze the liquid out of each silk with your hands (it will squeeze out clear water and no dye).
Hang your silks to dry, making sure they do not touch each other, as the colors will bleed.
Washing instructions: Hand wash with a very little amount of soap. If they get washed a lot, you may need to re-color them periodically.
*Note: Because of all the hot water and dye, this is not a project to do with young helpers. Just let them enjoy the fruits of your (minimal) labor!*