Last one in is a rotten egg! Just about any blogger who does kids crafts and toys has done these. But just because they've been done a gazillion times over doesn't mean they aren't still cool.
Play silks are another one of those Waldorf-y open ended toys that I love. They can be used as canopies, capes, sword scabbards, wigs, blankets, water, grass, snow, flags, wings--whatever your child can imagine really.
I tried to add a new dimension to this project and had planned to dye them using natural dyes from plants, foods and spices from the kitchen. You know, turmeric, spinach, blueberries, saffron, beets, etc. Sounds cool, right? It didn't go great. It's not that these things don't work, it's just that they don't work well. The colors are very soft, and they generally aren't light fast or color fast so they fade either over time or after one washing. Not good for something sticky little children will be playing with. It's also much more time consuming. Take my advice and don't waste your time.
So I just did what everyone else does and dyed them with good old fashioned Kool Aid. That's right, KOOL AID! The stuff our mothers used to feed us? It works great as a color and light fast dye! So well in fact, it ensures that I will never, ever, ever feed this to my kids. The silks pictured above were dyed 2 YEARS AGO and they are still this vibrant!
I used the instructions from Make Baby Stuff. I liked how Amber's came out a very solid color instead of mottled like many I've seen online. The secret is using a larger dying vessel that allows the fabric to spread out a little and really swish around, rather than bunch up. I also liked that she didn't use the microwave oven for hers, just very hot tap water, because I have a smallish microwave that doesn't have room for the whole larger dyeing vessel thing.
Anyway, get yourself some white vinegar, the supplies listed below, load up a page with Amber's tutorial and get busy.
For the dye I used 3 packets of Unsweetened Kool Aid for each scarf in these flavors: Lemonade, Orange, Cherry, Lemon-Lime (green), Blue Ice Raspberry, & Grape.
My total cost for 6 play silks = $27
Approximate cost online = $50
STREAMERS & BELTS
8 x 54 8mm Habotai silk scarves from Dharma. $1.45 each.
For the belts I used Kool Aid and just put the belts into the dye bath along with the 35 x 35 scarves. BUT...I waited and added them a little later so they are a much lighter shade than the scarves for a little contrast.
For the streamers I used Kool Aid but only 1 packet in order to get a soft pastel color.
For the wand I used a branch from when we pruned the chokecherry bushes out back and some little eye screws ($1.99 a box at the hardware store).
Cut the stick to desired length, sand the ends a bit, screw hardware into one end, thread the silk through and tie it in knot.
My total cost for 2 streamers & 2 belts = $10
Approximate cost online = $40-50
A great accessory to go along with playsilks is a set of large wooden clips. We got ours from Birchleaf Designs on Etsy.
I sound like a broken record, but put a set of clips and a set of silks (rolled up individually and tied with ribbon or twine) in a thrifted basket and you've got yourself a fabulous handmade gift for your child or to take to a birthday party. Besides being open-ended, play silks really grow with a kid. I'd give this to a 2 or 3 year old as well as a 7 or 8 year old.