I recently ordered some undyed play silks (basically 3×3′ pieces of silk that can be used for costumes, capes, whatever, that are much cheaper than pre-dyed silks) for Gabriel. Someone suggested dying with Kool-Aid, so Gabriel & I dyed his silks this afternoon–it was one of my favorite craft activities yet!
We used the very simple microwave instructions that I found on this web site: http://www.thepiper.com/fiberart/koolaid/basic-howto.html I used Grape, Lemon-Lime, Strawberry, & Orange Kool-Aid (1 packet of Kool-Aid per silk) and then did a beautiful yellow one with 1 t saffron using the same process described on the Kool-Aid dye site.
I also let Gabriel paint dye (including a home-made blueberry dye with 2T blueberries, 2 T boiling water & 1 T vinegar) on one silk, then processed it as described in the microwave to make this funky tie-dye colored one. He painted his silk (in his diaper because it’s very messy!) while I dyed the other ones and he had a blast! He had to go straight in the bath, of course, and my fingers are pretty stained (they recommend gloves and I didn’t use them…Oops!).
The silks are gorgeous and even though the color is not 100% even across the entire silk, they still look great for the $2 it cost me to dye them. I’d really like to try some felted-wool projects and may try dying the wool myself now that I know how easy this was. Gabriel is so excited about his silks (he was already playing with them before we even dyed them!) and wanted to play with them while they were still wet. I hope they dry before he gets up from his nap. I also let Gabriel use up the rest of the blueberry dye painting on some water color paper and I have to say that I wish I’d done a whole silk with blueberry.
It’s such a gorgeous color on paper and the little bit that made it on to his silk is also a very pretty color. I was going to try a pomegranate dye, but tried bottled juice and it just looked too dull. Some other things I would consider are raspberries, cherries, and turmeric (which may be more cost-effective then saffron). What a fun afternoon project. It’s so exciting that he’s finally old enough to do these types of things with me. I’ll have to post some pictures of our silks in action once they’ve dried…