I finally worked my way into a friend’s house with a microwave to make a set of playsilks. We did our dyeing with Kool Aid which resulted in lovely, vibrant colors.
Aren’t they beautiful?!
I just want to eat them up.
Playsilk Dyeing with Kool Aid
What you’ll need:
- Plain white playsilks
- Kool Aid in a variety of flavors & colors (See the Kool Aid Dye Colors guide below)
- Glass bowls, one per color
- Distilled white vinegar
- A microwave
Rachel and I split my order of 12 undyed Habotai 30″ silk scarves from Dharma Trading Co.
I bought about 20 packets of Kool-Aid and felt a little funny taking them up to the register. Kool-Aid was not a part of my childhood. We frequented the “health nut” coop before it was remotely popular and ate things like carob chips and home-ground flour. I always wanted to be “normal,” but alas, it turns out that buying Kool-Aid does not a normal person make you.
We thought we’d dye two scarves at a time in each color, but it turned out that there was just room for one at a time. And the color from the Kool-Aid was gone from the water after one silk was dyed so we couldn’t reuse it. I had to make another run to the grocery store and repeat my Kool-Aid buying experience.
Dyeing with Kool Aid :: The How To
First soak all undyed silks in hot water with a dash of vinegar (we used distilled white vinegar) for half an hour.
Then, for each silk, mix the following in a glass bowl ::
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 3 packets of Kool-Aid
The kids loved helping with this part.
Then add the playsilk, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for three minutes.
You’re supposed to let it sit for three minutes, stir, then repeat the microwaving and sitting three times total for each silk. Others had commented on how dark the silks get and I wanted to try for a lighter playsilk, so I just did the whole process once for my silks. Rachel wanted to try two rounds of microwaving for hers, although I don’t think the color was appreciably different.
After the microwaving process, the silks are supposed to be hung to dry. Then washed in cold water (I put them in the sink with dish soap one at a time–the red bled a little bit) and dried again. For the second drying, I put them in the dryer with a couple of towels for a very short short, cool cycle.
The tutorial also calls for ironing them, which I haven’t done yet. I like the wrinkled look (and don’t like to iron). However, I wonder if it’s part of the color-setting process.
Update: Our kool aid dyed playsilks have lasted 6 years now with little fading.
Kool Aid Dye Colors
Here are the flavors of my playsilks from left to right (if I remember correctly):
- Lemonade Kool Aid = Yellow
- Orange Kool Aid = Orange
- Pink Lemonade Kool Aid = Pink
- Cherry Kool Aid = Red
- Lemon Lime Kool Aid = Apple Green
- Grape Kool Aid = Purple
We tried for a blue playsilk with a blue Kool Aid packet of tropical punch but ended up with another red. And black cherry looked like it might be purple but turned out to be a dark red with a purple tinge. (I owe Rachel a trade for one of her three reds)
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