We LOVE playsilks around here. They’re one of those things that I kind of thought would be cool, and have turned out to be one of the best toys in our house. Why? To start, they’re open ended, which rocks. They’re beautiful colors and feel amazing. And kids of all ages can play with them, so they’re just as safe for the baby as they are fun for the big kids.
Ryan got a handful of them for Christmas last year, and they were the HIT of the day. Even my brother and sis-in-law had fun with them, and we all decorated the dog!
Making them is silly easy, too.
Silks (I buy mine from Dharma Trading Company)
Gel Food Coloring (can be bought at any craft store in the cake decorating section)
I always prewash my silks, so I can only recommend doing that. They wash and dry beautifully.
Presoak them in a lot of vinegar and a little water (enough to cover) for about 20-30m. This is not rocket science and it really doesn’t matter how much you use (a cup, maybe).
Boil the water in the big pots. How much you use will depend on how many silks you’re dying any one color. I’ve done this in large batches (when making lots for gifts) and in smaller batches (this year, for Finleigh).
Add 1/4t to 1t of dye, again depending on how many silks you’re doing and how deep you want the color to be. I’ve found the blues/purples to “stick” the best and end up very saturated while the reds seem to fade more when rinsing.
Add a tablespoon to 1/4c of white vinegar.
Drop your silks in. The more room they have to swim, they more even the color will be distributed. If they’re squashed, they may wind up pretty mottled. But they really do look cool either way.
If you can, leave them on the stove, simmering, until all the dye is out of the water (and in the fabric).
Rinse them in very cold water until it runs clear.
Hang to dry.
Play with them!!!
Finleigh’s getting these this year, and they’ll be stuffed into a handmade box for her to pull out, just like tissues, but less wasteful and I won’t be pulling eaten, slobbery tissues from her mouth all day.
**Note, if you’re making the smaller handkerchief sized ones, you can do this in the microwave. Same method, but instead of boiling in pots, dissolve the dye in some boiling water in a mug, then add the silk, then nuke for 2-3 minutes. Rinse and dry as above.
And, if you’re just not crafty, or don’t have any desire to cover yourself and possibly your kitchen in food dyes, there are a whole bunch of etsy sellers making them.