This was really fun. I've been looking at playsilks for the kids for a while now, but at $16.00 a pop for 100% silk ones, they may only ever have had one to play with! But, with a little DIY, we now have 10 lovely silkies to imagine with, each only about $2.50. I loosely used the instructions found here, and experimented a little with timing and coloring.
After ordering my 22 x 22" silks from here, I unearthed my Wilton cake dyes from a previous yarn dyeing project and made my color choices. With my very limited selection, I was going for a blue, purple, pink/red, orange, and green.
Starting with "Kelly Green," I filled my soup pot about 1/2 full and heated to boiling. Turned it down to med-low, and added my food coloring (about 1 1/2 tsp.) and white vinegar (about 3 Tbsp.). Mix it all together, and add your scarves (which you have previously gotten wet, so they will take up the dye easier). Stir them around, and "steep" for about 15-20 minutes. Rinse in a colander in the sink with cool water, squeeze out, and hang to dry. Easy. Do it again for the other colors you want.
One catch: the cake dye can be completely unpredictable, and colors *often* don't turn out the way you expect. My Kelly Green scarves? Where are they?
After steeping, the green color totally washed out in the rinse, and I was left with a pretty turquoise blue. Lovely, but not what I was going for. I tried it twice to make sure I hadn't goofed something, but for some reason the blue is all that stuck (hence the four blue scarves). I plan to try to over-dye the lighter two blue scarves with another green at a later date. My pinks were a little unpredictable too, with the "Creamy Peach" turning out just a shade lighter than the "Pink" dye I used. The "Violet" was a rousing success though, and I've got two more undyed scarves to get my yellow/orange color on later.
Great fun overall, and the set as it stands now will be going to the little girl for a first birthday present! I chose to make playsilks that are 22" square, because I thought the smaller size would be more suitable for my little ones. They'll probably be mainly used for peekaboo, music and movement, and of course, general silliness. Because anything you can put on your head is still supremely funny around here.
So, if you've done any dyeing, can you point me to some reliable greens and oranges?