handmade holidays :: kool-aid play silks

these were the one mama-made gift the boys found in their stockings Christmas morning.  they are play silks, simple scarf-sized pieces of silk dyed in different colors. as a toy, they have limitless potential—so far in our house they have been a way to carry cars, a cape, an umbrella in a fake rainstorm, water under a boat adventure, something to float in the air while you are dancing and on and on.  we had these growing up in a shiny, metallic fabric and we must have used them for everything.  probably the hardest working toy in our house back then.  in a boutique kid’s shop these can get expensive.  so, I was thrilled when I came across this tutorial that goes step by step through how to make them with the food safe dye available in every grocery store in the country–kool-aid.  yup.  it dyes more than just tongues.  I didn’t read the directions closely on first read so I didn’t grab enough packets of kool-aid when I was at the store. as a result, the colors came out a bit week and mottled as you can see:


I was especially worried that the yellow would become almost a cream color so I scoured the internet for natural dyes (once I get going on an activity I really don’t have the patience to stop and pick up missing supplies, it leads down lots of interesting roads).  I discovered that turmeric is a great natural dye and we have tons of it.  so, I boiled a big pot of turmeric water for 30 minutes or so before adding the kool-aid and the silk scarf.  the color turned out fantastically vibrant, I am thrilled with the amazing sunshine look. I was less excited about the smell that resulted from combining turmeric and lemonade flavored kool-aid.  in fact, I was fairly certain I had managed to somehow poison myself and rushed around opening windows.


{the silk goes into a pot of boiling water with the dye}

but, it was worth it, don’t you think? look at that color! I got my white silk scarves from dharma trading company, which has everything dyeable under the sun. for anyone interested in doing your own color dying, they are incredible.

well, I’m finally at the end of all my handmade holidays.  from here on out it’s all about looking forward onto the horizon of 2012! which, quite frankly, is looking awfully bright and involves lots of sewing.  I do still do that every once in a while!

7 Comments on handmade holidays :: kool-aid play silks

  1. Julie
    January 10, 2012 at 10:07 pm (6 years ago)

    Yes! Love. It’s been on my list of things for the girls forever and the silk scarf resource has been my holdup. Now, I’m overwhelmed with TOO many choices. Which ones? Silk? Crepe? Satin? Habotai? What the hell is habotai? Please advise… Muchas gracias.

    • ahappystitch
      January 11, 2012 at 9:16 am (6 years ago)

      Your girls would LOVE these, I’m about to burst just thinking about the kind of dress-up/imaginative games they will be thinking up. So, here are the details: 1) Silk (for sure) 2) Habotai (it’s inexpensive and seems to be the one most widely used for this purpose) 3) We used the 30″ X 30″ size and it is fantastic…fits around the waist and neck for a skirt/cape and it also big enough to be a tablecloth on a kid-size table, etc. Julie, beware….I fear for your productivity in other areas of your life once you travel down this road. It is so easy and so fun and I can imagine you getting carried away with creating your own colors based on different combinations/natural dyes, etc. Traverse carefully friend.

  2. kristen gilmore powell
    January 11, 2012 at 10:01 am (6 years ago)

    love it!! i was going to ask which scarves you went with, so many choices!

  3. mama-pan | mary frances
    January 13, 2012 at 7:53 pm (6 years ago)

    so cool! I ordered some dyes from dharma a while back for a me-project I want to do, but now I think I’m going to have to order some silks to go into the vat with them!

    I have been behind on blogs–you are dishing out the good stuff, missy!

    • ahappystitch
      January 13, 2012 at 8:19 pm (6 years ago)

      thanks friend!!

  4. Beth
    January 23, 2012 at 9:23 pm (6 years ago)

    somehow missed adding your new site to my reader – my you have been busy! what fantastic ideas. i <3 those aprons too.

    i think a set of these scarves will show up in our house sometime this coming year too! thanks for the project notes.

    • ahappystitch
      January 25, 2012 at 9:33 am (6 years ago)

      I can’t to see yours Beth. Your girls will love them and you might even have a few helpful helpers! Boiling water and two boys don’t mix in our house!


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