Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.
Making toys for our children is a favorite hobby of my husband and I. Over the years we’ve made quite a few of our children’s playthings and given some of our homemade toys away as gifts to other favorite young people in our lives.
Some of the most played with and most versatile toys at our house are also the simplest: playsilks. Beautiful, open-ended, gender-neutral, and creativity nurturing, these toys are also very easy (and fun) to make yourself.
Over the weekend my ten year old daughter Jillian, four year old daughter Lucy, and I dyed up some playsilks for baby Amelia.
I took a few photos so that I could share with you how we did it in case some of you want to try your hand at dying your own playsilks, too.
Toymaking: how to dye playsilks
- dye (we used Easter egg dye)
- hot water
We used Easter egg dye to dye our playsilks (head over to The Artful Parent to learn how to dye playsilks with kool-aid). I purchased a large quantity of egg dye on clearance after Easter this year to use for dying yarn and playsilks.
Source for silk blanks:
These smaller silks are great for peek-a-boo, baby doll blankets, tying into simple dolls, and more. The ladies handkerchief size is what we used for this tutorial.
Step by step
Step 1: In a non-reactive container (we used glass mason jars), place 3 Tablespoons of vinegar.
Step 2: Add your egg dye tablet and 1 Cup of hot water. Watch it fizz!
The Basic Recipe is 1 egg dye tablet + 3 Tbs. vinegar + 1 C hot water for each silk hankie.
Step 3: When the tablet is completely dissolved, place the silk in the jar. We used the egg holders that came with the dye kit to push the silk down until it was completely submerged.
Step 4: Set it in a sunny place and let the sunshine help dye your silks. We set ours on the picnic table and left them there for a few hours.
Step 5: Once the dye appears to be completely soaked into the silk, and there’s not much left in the water, rinse the silks in cold water until the water runs clear. Hang them up to dry.
That’s it! You’re done and now you have a pile of pretty silk hankies for peek-a-book, dolly blankets, play scenery, puppet shows, or stuffed animal super hero capes.
Note: even though the eggs dyes use vinegar as a mordant and are heat set (we used the sunshine, you could also microwave for a few minutes) I’m not 100% sure about their colorfastness, so to be on the safe side, keep these playsilks out of baby’s mouth and don’t let them get wet, okay?
I plan to dye two larger silks as capes (the 44 inch size) to go with Max and Lucy’s super hero masks as part of their Christmas presents this year. These small handkerchiefs that we dyed over the weekend will go in baby Amelia’s stocking.
Don’t forget that August’s Holiday Kids’ Gift Craft-along link-up with be this Saturday, the 25th. How are your homemade holiday kids’ gifts coming along?