Thursday, December 5, 2013

Quick and Crafty Kid Gift: Dye Playsilks with Food Coloring

This Christmas, I’m giving my nieces and nephew princess dresses.

SC Princess

Superhero capes.

SC Cape

Ponds with fish…

SC Fish in the pond

and fire?!?

SC Fire dog

Actually, I made them play silks. They’re large squares of silk dyed in bright colors that help kids use their imaginations. They’re so quick and easy to dye with paste food coloring and unsweetened drink mix (like Kool–Aid). Silk takes up color with the assistance of acid. A few glugs of vinegar in a hot dye bath of food coloring does the trick. Unsweetened Kool-Aid comes with its own acid in the form of citric acid. Even egg dye and vinegar works to permanently color silk.

No need to relegate the pots to craft use only after dyeing because everything but the silk is edible. I simply simmered some water in a large pot, stirred in enough food coloring to make a strong color, added a glug or two of vinegar, and threw in the wet silk. When the silk color was dark enough, I pulled out the silk and rinsed, rinsed, rinsed out the excess dye. Scientific, no?

My results:

Blue food coloring is great. I’ve had trouble with purple food coloring breaking toward blue, but I understand grape drink mix stays true. I dyed my square blue and then overdyed it pink to get a good purple. Red food coloring came out a sickly rose, so I used four packets of fruit punch to get the orangey red. Pink food coloring is awesome. It’s a perfect pink. I had to add a lot of yellow to the green food coloring because it came out more turquoise the first attempt. The yellow food coloring set better when I nuked the wet scarf in the microwave for a minute. Lemon–lime drink mix did not set even with added vinegar.

I gave the box of silks to the kids at Thanksgiving because we aren’t spending Christmas together. They became princesses, pirates, and superheroes within minutes. Suzy was happy to pass on the silks to the kids.


It’s not too late to keep on crafting! I still have a few projects in progress.



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