Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Dyeing Playsilks

I've seen and read lots of things about play silks, both on a forum where I am a member, and also in blogs I am following. Other mums enthuse at the myriad of play opportunities they enable. As well as looking beautiful, they stimulate the imagination and can be used in such an open ended and creative way.  So I thought I'd have a go at making my own for the little people to enjoy!

This is how I did it.

Firstly, I ordered my playsilks from http://www.silkcraft.co.uk/ but you can also get them from ebay. We got 6 hanky sized and 6 45cmx45cm, as well as 2 large ones (90x90 i think!). I ordered them at 11am and they came the following day! Very impressive service!

Most instructions I found used white/distilled vinegar. But I couldn't find any, so we used malt. It sent the playsilks a beige colour at first, but once they were dyed there was no difference! I measured 2 cups of hot water to 1 cup of vinegar and soaked the playsilks for 30 mins.

Next, I mixed up some more vinegar mixture. Again one cup of vinegar to two cups of water. (About 3 cups of vinegar and 6 of water was enough for the 6 colours I needed). I split this between 6 jars and added food colouring. I mixed green, purple and orange using the primary colours I had.

I then soaked each playsilk in each colour.

 I microwaved each one in turn for 1 minute then stirred, repeating for 3 mins in total.

 After this I rinsed each silk in the sink until the water ran clear.

And this is how they turned out! Excuse the crinkley-ness! They have been well played with so far, from pee-po to a river for dinosaurs to cross, as well as being muddy puddles to jump in!

I also made two large rainbow ones- one with stripes and one where the children just painted on the vinegar/food colour mixture randomly. To do this, I laid some cling film out on the table, and laid a silk on top. The vinegar/dye was then painted on with paint brushes. Next I rolled the silk and cling film together, like a swiss roll. I then microwaved it for 1 minute as above. I forgot to do pics of this bit though! Apart from this one!

I'm planning on doing some larger ones soon, so will maybe take more pictures then. I must do a lovely arty washing line shot too!