Monday, December 6, 2010

Back To Basics~Homemade Happiness

Play Silks~

Recently, I was searching Etsy for some high quality, open ended toys (toys that can be used in more than one type of playing). I had often read about play silks in various books and blogs and thought that they might be a good addition to our toy collection. They come in every color under the rainbow, have very easy maintenance (just hand wash in cool water whenever dirty), and take up very little space. Only one problem, the price. At around ten to twelve dollars each, there was no way that I could afford to buy enough for all the daycare children. Mama bought a few multi colored ones for her house. But I still wanted some for my house (I take my daycare children to my house from nap time through the end of the day) and I was NOT going to pay those prices to get them.

I began looking for a cheap solution to my play silk problem. I checked out scarves, but they just didn't have the same feel as the real thing. I tried using baby sized blankets, but the children were not fooled by my attempt to turn a blanket into a cape, a toga, or a magic carpet. They always ended up using the blankets as, well, blankets. Finally, I decided that I would like to buy plain white silks and dye them myself. Google came to my rescue. I typed in "how to dye play silks" and ta-da, this site popped up into the results. It has everything, even the link to where to buy the silk. My problem was solved at last.

Once the silks came in (just a few days later), Hubs picked up some Kool-aid packets and vinegar at the store. And I waited until Bunny was sleeping to make my first attempt. I pre-soaked the silks in vinegar and water for 15- 20 minutes. While this was going on, I mixed half vinegar and half water with one or two Kool-aid packets of my desired color. I then placed the silk into the Kool-aid mixture. The flatter the silk, the more even the color. Likewise, the more bunched up the silk, the more blotchy the color. Both are beautiful in their own way. I microwaved the silk (still in the mixture) for three minutes. Then I refridgerated the whole thing until it was luke warm. After wringing out the silk (wear gloves if you do not want colorful hands), I shook it out and hung it to dry. Once dry, I washed it in cool soapy water and dryed it in the dryer on low heat. I like the wrinkly look but you can iron it if you prefer. The silk turned out beautifully, and I have made many more, in many different colors, since then (some with the help of my daycare children).

I do not own this picture.
I found it here.

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