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DiY Playsilks :: Dyeing with Kool Aid

by Jean Van't Hul
March 25, 2008

How to Dye Playsilks with Kool Aid

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.

I mentioned wanting to do this Kool-Aid dyeing in my post about dressing up and playing pretend. It’s one that I found on Kristen*Can, with the original tutorial here.

Playsilk Dyeing with Kool Aid

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Rachel and I split my order of 12 undyed Habotai 30″ silk scarves from Dharma Trading Co.

Kool Aid for Dye

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

Preparing White Silks for the Kool Aid Dye

First soak all undyed silks in hot water with a dash of vinegar (we used distilled white vinegar) for half an hour.

Dye Playsilks with Kool-Aid

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.

How to Dye Playsilks with Kool Aid

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.

How to Dye Playsilks with Kool Aid

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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DiY Playsilks - Dyeing with Kool Aid for Vibrant Colors

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