Dyeing Play Silks with Kool Aid

by Josée

A year ago, I purchased six 35″ x 35″ Habotai silk scarves from Dharma Trading Co. to dye into play silks. The silks got stowed away only to be discovered by my son last week. Today I got around to dying the silks. I was surprised by how easy the process was and want to share a few of my discoveries.

What are play silks?

Play silks are pieces of dyed silk that little ones can use for imaginative play. A piece of blue silk can become a river when laid on the ground or a piece of red silk can become a cape. Purchasing play silks can be quite expensive. They can cost around $15-$20 for one 35″ x 35″ silk.  Dharma Trading Co. sells their 35″ x 35″ Habotai silk scarves for $5.19 USD each. Even with the cost shipping and dye (Kool Aid) it is much more affordable.

How to dye play silks?

There are many blog posts on the topic of dyeing play silks with Kool Aid. I used this post as a guide. Here is an abbreviated walk through of how to dye silks with Kool Aid.

Kool Aid pouches (2-3 pouches per silk depending on size of silk)
white vinegar
a medium saucepan (3-4L)
wooden spoons
large plastic Ziploc bag
clothes rack

1. Wash silks to remove residue and oils. You can wash them in the washing machine or toss them in a sink full of warm water with a little dish soap, swish and rinse.

2. For one 35″ x 35″ silk, fill a sauce pan with 4 cups of water 1/2 cup of vinegar and two pouches of Kool Aid powder (same flavour). You can double or triple this to accommodate the size or number of silk you’ll be dyeing.

3. Mix and heat until boiling or quite hot. Add wet play silk to pot and stir around to disperse dye into the fabric. Boil for 10 minutes. The silk will absorb the dye. Continue to stir and shift the silk around to ensure an even dye.

4. Place the dyed silk into a large plastic baggie or microwave safe container with lid and place in microwave for 2 minutes. This helps set the dye.

5. Remove silk when cool enough to handle and hang to dry.

That’s it!

A couple notes.

Some colours absorb better than others. Red, orange and pink transferred well, while green did not. I didn’t try purple, blue or yellow but I’ve also read that yellow can be finicky.

Don’t trust the package colour. As you can see above I bought blue Kool Aid but it ended up being red!  Both Monkey and I were disappointed.

I have also read that the certain colours will fade over time.

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Anonymous November 16, 2011 - 6:44 pm

Great post!

Jane November 17, 2011 - 3:37 am

That's a great idea Josee!! Thanks for using your creativity & posting about it!

Julia November 21, 2011 - 5:00 am

Neat! I am dyeing yarn with Easter egg dye right now. Hope it turns out as well as your pretty silks.


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