One of my favourite DIY kids gifts is to make play silks.
A play silk is a length of fabric, silk or other light weight fabric, that may or may not be coloured. Used most often in Waldorf educational settings, play silks are one of the best imagination items to add to your child’s play.
Honestly, it may just be the most versatile toy you ever give your child and you can make play silks yourself.
5 Reasons To Make Your Own Play Silks
Before I show you how to make play silks, here are five reasons you need to add play silks to your child’s toy box:
Play Silks Are Non-Commercialized
Play silks are commercially produced but you are not going to see an aggressive marketing campaign advertising them to you and your child.
Play Silks Are Gender Neutral
The perfect gift for any child in your life because imagination has no gender.
Play Silks Are Eco-Friendly
Silk is a natural material created by silk worms. Silk can be dyed using natural processes and involves very limited chemical processes to make it soft. Peace silk or vegan silk are created after the silkworm has left its casing behind.
Play Silks Have No Age Limit
Play silks are one of the few toys that truly grow with your child. From encouraging grabbing during tummy time as a baby, using them in dance during their teens, to using as a head wrap while off at college; a play silk collection is truly a great investment.
The number one reason you need to make play silks for your child is open-ended play .There is nothing more magical than watching your child using a play silk for anything and everything during play.
Silks can be an item of clothing, a fort, a road, a rope, or a field. The possibilities are only limited by your child’s imagination.
Getting Started With Play Silks
Play silks can be bought or you can follow my tutorial below to make your own play silks in various colours.
You can find the standard Jacquard Products 8 by 54-Inch Jacquard Habotai Silk Scarves, 8mm through Amazon (affiliate link, here’s how they work).
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
- 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.
- Remove silk, wring out excess water and set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove from pan, rinse in cold water till water runs clear of dye.
- Wring out excess water and hang to dry.
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.