How To Make Play Silks

Make Your Own Play Silks

One of my favourite DIY kids gifts is play silks. A piece of silk (they come in various sizes) that can become anything and everything your child can imagine. Honestly, it may just be the most versatile toy you ever give your child and you can make some yourself.

You can find the standard Jacquard Products 8 by 54-Inch Jacquard Habotai Silk Scarves, 8mm through Amazon (affiliate link).

Once you get the silk, you are going to need dye. You can also buy dye from Dharma but you probably have items around the house that you can use instead. I like the brighter colours that come from Kool-Aid so I am going to share with you how to use it. If you want to do-it-all-yourself, you can use natural items like red cabbage, black walnuts, and onion skins to create the dye.

Six Steps To Make Play Silks

  1. Soak all of your plain silk in a bucket or sink with three parts boiling water mixed with 1 part vinegar for 30 minutes. Make sure all the silk is under water add more water/vinegar as needed.
  2. Remove silk, wring out excess water and set aside.
  3. On the stove in a large pan, combine 6 cups of water and 2 cups of vinegar. Then mix in 3 packages of Kool-Aid.  Bring to a boil.
  4. Add silk and watch the magic. The colour will absorb within 3 to 45 minutes (depending on colour). I recommend boiling for a minimum of 20 minutes after the colour is absorbed to help set the colours.
  5. Remove from pan, rinse in cold water till water runs clear of dye.
  6. Wring out excess water and hang to dry.

How to make play silks

Do not throw out the hot water on the stove!  Add the next set of Kool-Aid colours, I use the same pan of water/vinegar mix to do all colours ending with purple and then red, except red all the colour transfer to the silks from the water/vinegar/Kool-Aid mixture.

Once you get understand the process of dying the silk all one colour, try to experiment creating patterns and multi-coloured pieces.

Plus, fun ways to encourage creative play with play silks.


  • Erin says:

    Just wondering what type and weight to order for playsilks, if I order from Dharma?


  • Veronica says:

    That’s awesome, but can you tell me what order you put the Kool-Aid colors into the pan of water and vinegar? Thanks!

    • Jennifer says:

      Personally I go light to dark…yellow, blue, green, orange, purple and then red. Pink is a tough one as sometimes I want a lighter pink and put it first, sometimes I want a darker pink and leave it to after the orange. There may be a little colour mixing when re-using the same water (but all the better colours I say!). Hope that helps.

  • mrspawluk says:

    I’m excited to try this. My baby is 13 months old so not sure if she’ll be really interested in the silks yet but I’m getting the 21×21 size to try it out.

  • MamaSykut says:

    I’m excited to try this for Christmas. I have 3 little girls on my list that love pretend play. I’m a little worried about washing them though. I don’t shy away from messy fun in my house and my washing machine gets a work out. Will the colors bleed? Do I need to wash them after dyeing them?

    • playmemama says:

      If you boil them long enough the colour should set (and you will know it did not set if when you rinse them with cold water colour keeps coming out of them), but because someone I know had to wash hers in the washer after a diaper explosion incident, the colour did come out, it was a pretty big mess. Realistically you won’t have to wash them all that often, a quick hand wash/hang to dry every once in awhile should be alright…if the colour does come out, you can always dye them again with another colour!