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How to Dye Play Silks with Kool-Aid and Food Coloring

play silksEasily dye play silks with Kool-Aid or food coloring and some white vinegar! The results are incredibly vibrant colors that are dyed safely and cheaply.

What are play silks? Only the best imagination inspiring toys ever! No really, I was skeptical at first too, until I saw children playing with them. They are completely "open ended" which means that the only limit to their use is your imagination. Younger children play peek-a-boo with them and liked to swish them around and watch them gracefully float through the air.

With older children, they will play a huge role in pretend play. A purple one becomes fairy wings, a black one becomes a wizard's cape, a green one on the ground becomes a pasture for small animal figures and a blue one becomes a pond for boats. A red and orange one can be fire for a pretend bonfire and a white one can be snow...

If you buy these already dyed they cost at least $10 each but you can dye them yourself for much cheaper using Kool-aid or plain old food coloring and vinegar! The vinegar is the acid that sets the dye so you must use it for this to work. I use these 35" x 35" ones that are very affordable and are the perfect breezy weight.

Kool-Aid & Food Coloring Dyeing Instructions:

You will need 3 packets of dye for each playsilk or food coloring, white vinegar, containers to dye, gloves and hot water.

play silks kool-aid

First, throw the scarves in a pot of very hot water with 3 cups of white vinegar and let them soak while you prepare the dye bath.

food coloring play silk dyeing Wearing gloves (because even Kool-aid & food coloring will stain your fingers) open the three packets of Kool-Aid and dump the contents into your dye container. I used a big turkey roasting pan, but any pot or glass bowl will work. Plastic containers will sometimes stain, so avoid using ones you don't want dyed. Add two cups vinegar and a few cups hot water and mix completely until all the powder is dissolved. If you are using food coloring, simply put several drops into your water/vinegar bath until a dark, rich color is reached. I use about 20 drops of food coloring.

Once mixed, drop in your silk and swish it around, so it is fully covered. Continue to stir it to get even results. (however, uneven results are quite beautiful too!) When the dye has fully set (about 2 minutes) the water will have much less color to it and may even have a milky white cast as shown in the photo with the yellow.

Finally, gently take if out of the bath, and dump down your drain and begin rinsing your play silk with cool water. Rinse until it runs clear (about 2-3 minutes) and then let it hang to dry and move onto your next color. In my experience, red and purple tones (cherry/grape if using Kool-Aid) will take a longer time to run clear.

play silks food coloring

Once they are completely dried they are all ready to be played with! If they get dirty, simply hand wash in cold water and hang to dry.

play silk kool-aid

Enjoy this simple dyeing project, and don't forget to buy a scarf to dye for yourself too. You can also experiment with tie-dyeing, marbled effects and multiple colors!

Go to the Make Baby Toys Section for more project ideas!

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