Wednesday, December 22, 2010

We've Dyed and Gone to Playsilk Heaven

I've shared some more about playsilks in a previous post. Now we are finally ready to dye!

I used the ideas from the Artful Parent's blog about dyeing with Kool-aid, but I changed a few things. I also have some other comments to add.

First I soaked the silks in a pot with some hot water and some vinegar for about thirty minutes.

In the meantime, I gathered up a bunch of containers. The kids put three packets of Kool-aid in each container and I added a splash of white vinegar. My rudimentary understanding is that the acid in the vinegar helps to set the color. Maybe someone who understands the process more can comment.

I kept water going in my stock pot and in my tea kettle so I had a fresh supply of hot water all the time. When I got some hot water, I'd pour it in the container and stir to make sure the kool-aid was dissolved. We didn't do that with the first one and there are some purple spots in the middle of the blue. Then we added a silk to the container and stirred and waited.

Another interesting point of information I learned is that Kool-aid will dye animal fibers but not plant fibers. So if your silks are hemmed with cotton thread, the cotton will stay white. I understand a lot of people dye wool yarn with Kool-aid as well.

Hannah had never seen Kool-aid packets until we went to a friend's house and she used drink mix packages to color salt dough we turned into Christmas tree ornaments. Upon questioning Hannah, I realized she has no other concept for Kool-aid other than as a colorant. That makes me giggle.

We left the silks to soak while we kept adding water and silks to new colors and jars. Different colors soaked in faster than others, which is something I had already read about. The lemon-lime turned a nice shade of green and the surrounding water went clear almost immediately. The lemonade was also fast. The purple and blue took a lot longer and the water became cloudy instead of clear. I just left them until the water lightened up a bunch or the color looked nice when I pulled the silk up.

We discovered the more water in the container, the more room the silk had to move around and that gave a much more even dye job. We had one orange one that didn't get stirred much and was in a small container. So I dyed it again with three more packets. It was more vibrant and the dye was the most even of the bunch.

Also, remember to have your children wash their hands after dealing with the Kool-aid powder, before they touch anything else. John helped me spread out this yellow silk with purple powder on his hands.

They are hanging up to dry in places all over the house and back porch. After an hour, the first ones were mostly dry. I can't wait to get them down and play with them. Oh, and they smell positively lovely, as well.

Here is a color guide.

Ice Blue Lemonade=Blue (The lighter blue was done with only one packet, the other one had three)
Cherry=Red (We only had two packets of cherry)
Lemonade = Yellow
Lemon-Lime= Green


Mary said...


JeniferRiddle said...

I love em! Do you think K&E would be too old for such as those?

MamaHolly said...

If John's not, I don't think they would be! They should come over and play with them or I could bring them to coop sometime!

Carissa said...

That's awesome! After hearing the story and seeing the silks in person, it was cool to go back and see the actual process.