Play silks were a bit of a mystery to me until we made some and now we love them!
(The little girls with their cousin. They were all dressed up for a pirate festival and the play silks made excellent head scarves and sashes!)
They provide lots of opportunities for open ended play. They may not have an obvious use to us but for the two little girls the silks can help their imaginations run wild… including blankets for our baby dolls and teddies (particularly Panda Boo), the ground for our worlds (the blue one is always being used for the sea with our animals), capes, slings and bandages for doctors and nurses and so much more. If you don’t have any please make some – they really are so much fun and easy to do. The two little girls think it is magical making them too.
What you will need…
– silk scarves (We found our silks at rainbowsilks and we buy the Silk Ponge 5 Square Scarves – 90cm x 90cm. If you want a heavier weight silk go for the Ponge 7 but they are a bit more expensive.)
– Dye (use liquid water colours, food dye, Kool Aid or vegetables such as beetroot water!)
– a bottle or two of white vinegar (depending on how many you are colouring)
What do do…
The first thing to do is clean your silks. Take a big pot of boiled water and add a cup of vinegar (there are lots of different quantities of water to vinegar on the internet and frankly it all seems to work so don’t worry about measuring too much). We were dying 3 so we unfolded them and popped them all into the big pot and boiled them gently for 20 minutes.
With the Kool Aid method…
A friend bought some back from Canada for me but you can get it on Amazon and you do get really vibrant results. (In the past we have also used food colouring and it works well too using the same method – use half a bottle of the little bottles you can get from the cake sections of supermarkets for good results).
– Add half a cup of vinegar and stir (my ‘little’ girls are 6 and 4 so I let them do this with a spoon and supervision)
– When your silks are ready carefully take them out (you don’t want greasy fingers for this bit as you have just cleaned your silks), squeeze them out, unfold and add them to your bowl.
– Let the children squash them down and move them around (the water is still hot so you will need to stay close to very little ones or just do this bit with them watching). The silks will start to soak up the colour. As the water cools I let the girls put their hand in and make sure each silk is unfolded and swished about. It will probably still end up looking darker in patches but either way the effects are always lovely.
– Leave them for 10 minutes in total. Then rinse them in lots of cold water until it runs clear and dry! Beautiful play silks done.
Using Beetroot water…
– We had some lovely purple water from the beetroot we had par boiled for Sunday lunch and felt we needed to put it to use. We followed exactly the same steps as above but just used hot beetroot water (just microwave it) – add the vinegar after microwaving it. It resulted in the lovely pink one on the right of the photo below. We haven’t tried it yet but I am told red cabbage water makes a nice blue one!
Enid Blyton Rating: 10 out of 10 (there really is something magical about seeing a pure white silk take on such a vibrant colour. The girls have played with them so much and they always come in handy for something!)