How to Dye Play Silks

December 26, 2009

I thought I would make a tutorial for anyone who wanted to dye their own playsilks.  This was a fun and easy way to do it with simple ingredients. 

Things you will need to dye your own playsilks :

Vinegar, Wilton’s Icing Colors, a pot, and some 100% silk scarves. 

I think Wiltons is probably the most colourfast way to do this, I don’t recommend food colouring or Rit dyes as they do not hold their colour as well.

You can get the scarves at Dharma trading or Thai Silks online.

Fill a medium pot with water, put in a spoonfull of the icing dye.

Mix it up until its mostly dissolved.

Wet the silk scarf in the sink then immerse it into the dye bath.

Bring it to a boil until its nice and steamy hot.

You can see how the silk has not absorbed a lot of colour yet.

Push the silk to one side of the pot and pour in a big glug of vinegar.  Try to not pour directly on the silk as it will not dye evenly.

The vinegar helps the silk to take up the dye, see the colour difference now?

Next I put the lid on the pot and turned it down to simmer for 20 minutes.

20 minutes later you can see the colour is quite deep blue now.

There is not a lot of dye left in the water, the silk has absorbed most of it.  Now I leave the pot on the stove to come to room temperature.

Now I pour the silk out into a strainer.

Then rinse with cold water until it runs clear.


This is the red and purple at the end of their dye bath.

I made one in each colour, one pot at a time.  If you wanted a tie-dyed effect you could use string or elastics to tie them up, I just kept mine solid.

Then I put my washing machine on the delicate cycle and filled a small load with hot water.  I put in a cup of vinegar and tossed all the scarves into the wash.  This helps to wash out any leftover dye.  I then put them in the dryer and this is how they turned out.  The golden one on the bottom left I dyed with coffee.  This was a christmas present for my daugter who loves using the silks when she sets up her little toys or plays with her dolls.  They also make great dress up accessories!


4 Responses to “How to Dye Play Silks”

  1. Ella Says:

    yay! thanks for the links. i’ll tuck this away for a March project. i’m going to use koolaid to color the scarves.

  2. Thanks for the tutorial! It has been suggested to me to use the frosting dyes for play silks but I wasn’t sure exactly how to do it. Now I can start dying up scarves for Christmas presents! 🙂

  3. Aleksandra Says:

    Did you purchase each colour or did you mix blue and red for purple, etc? Which colours did you use for the silks in your basket?

  4. Stacey Says:

    Thank you so much for this great tutorial! I know it is from a while back, but I was so glad to have found it last week. Happily making some silks right now as I type. Thanks again! My kids will be so thrilled to receive these for Christmas! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: