Playsilks, some of the most beautiful open-ended toys with the most versatile and longest lasting lifespans. All the things I look for in choosing toys and I really wanted some for my little one but the pretty, hand-dyed ones I found on Etsy were cost-prohibitive for us right now. So I did a little google search and found some tutorials on how to dye your own. I ordered silks from Dharma Trading Co. and the rest of the materials I had on hand. After reading through several posts this is what I did:
- Wash the silks. I washed them with my regular laundry and hung to dry and I carefully cut off the little tags. (I always wash on cold with a natural detergent.)
- Soak silks in hot tap water with a bit of vinegar to prep. I allowed each silk to soak as I dyed the one before. (I did not change out this water.)
- In a large pot you won’t mind possibly getting stained combine equal parts hot (nearly boiling) water and vinegar and a generous amount of food coloring to achieve desired effect. (The amount of dye bath you need is determined by how many silks you are dyeing at a time and the size of the pot you use. I used two cups each, but should’ve probably used more as it was hard to cover my entire silk the dye bath was so shallow in the big pot I used. I didn’t measure the food coloring, just eyeballed it. The only color I wish was a bit more vibrant is the orange, but I can always dye it again to make the color stronger.)
- Let sit on low heat, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes or until the dye is absorbed. (I added more coloring as needed to the dye bath by clearing the silk out of the way before pouring it in. When a secondary color needed more dye I mixed it in a glass, added a TBS of water/vinegar from the pot to check the color, and then added it to the pot.)
- Rinse in cold water until it runs clear. (My water ran clear from the beginning, the color didn’t run at all.)
- Change water/vinegar for each new color. (I changed for each “set” of colors. For example, I did red and then added yellow and red to the same water to do orange, but changed the water for yellow and green and then again for blue and purple.)
- Dry in the dryer. Iron if you wish.
Notes: some tutorials suggested using gloves to keep your hands from getting stained. Because my dye bath was so hot I used kitchen tongs to stir and move my silks until they were cool enough to handle. My hands were not stained at all. My pot is stainless steel and also did not get stained. You don’t have to worry about using a special, non-cooking pot if you use food coloring like you would with acid dyes. For my rainbow silk I measured the first 10” section and then just eyeballed it from there. I used metal clothes pins to pin it to the sides of the pot so only the section I was dying at the time got in the bath. I was also very mindful of keeping the edges rolled up and out of the way of my gas stovetop. I rinsed it in between each color and I was careful to rinse down towards the already dyed sections, just in case, even though my dyes didn’t actually run. This was a really fun, easy project and only took a little over an hour from start to finish to do all seven silks. We have had lots of fun playing with them already!
All the best,
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