"In this classroom, relationships are fostered, families are respected, and children are honored.
In this classroom, nature's gifts are valued and children's thoughts are captured.
In this classroom, learning is alive and aesthetic beauty is appreciated." -Unknown

Friday, August 17, 2012

Kool-Aid Dying Play Silks: A Colorful Adventure

When I began teaching preschool, a dear friend of mine, who also teaches preschool shared her wisdom about dying play silks with Kool-Aid. I had seen how her play silks had turned out so vibrant and beautiful and already knew the possibilities for use were endless with a child's imagination, so I knew I had to do it for myself. That was five years ago and I can't tell you how many hours of play have occurred due to the presence and possibility of these items. Needless to say, my original play silks have seen better days and I decided to embark on this endeavor once again. My friend, Shannon has a Facebook page for her preschool and I invite you to pay her a visit and check out all the fun she has going on over there, as well. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Small-Wonders-Preschool-of-Fall-River/131075993649811

We started by ordering the silks. We get ours from Dharma Trading Company. The more you order the lower the price, so usually Shannon, my dear friend, Jula, and I usually order together to get the lowest price. I believe Shannon ordered the 30" x 30" Habotai scarves and since we ordered more than 12 our price was lowered from $4.39 to $4.12 per scarf. The arrival of the items after order is very quick and I've always been extremely pleased with all products I've ordered from them. http://www.dharmatrading.com/html/eng/1741-AA.shtml?lnav=scarves_silk.html

Once you have received your silks, you'll need to gather all the other items for the process.

I usually do 6 scarves in the rainbow colors: Red, Orange,
Yellow, Green, Blue, and Purple. Purchase two packs of each
color. I purchased three of the lemonade trying to get a
deeper yellow. It didn't really make it darker, so two is enough.
For blue, you'll need the Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade.
The Tropical Punch comes in a blue pouch, but it's actually
red, so be sure to get the raspberry lemonade.

You'll need 1/4 cup of white vinegar,
1 1/4 cup water, a small bowl,
a medium microwavable container with lid,
and gloves.

Combine the vinegar and water in your bowl and submerge
one silk in it for 10-15 minutes.

After 10-15 minutes, take out the silk and wring out all of the
liquid that you can.

Loosely place the scarf in the microwavable container and
sprinkle the chosen color of Kool-Aid on it. With your
gloved hands mix the Kool-Aid powder into the damp
silk trying to cover as much area as possible by rotating
the scarf, rubbing the silk against itself, etc. Flip the scarf
over and sprinkle the second pack of the same color on as
before, trying to cover as much as possible.
*While doing this place your second silk in the
vinegar/water mixture to be soaking.

It should look something like this.

Loosely place lid on container so that it doesn't close and
place in microwave on high for 30 seconds. 

**Remove from microwave VERY CAREFULLY. It will be hot.
Carefully remove the lid to let out the steam and "smoosh" the
scarf a little to make sure the color is distributing well.
Place back in microwave with loosely fitting lid for another
30 seconds. **I have a high powered microwave so
I only put the scarf in for the 2 30 second cycles. If your
microwave isn't high powered, it may take 3 cycles.
**You want the scarf to be somewhat dry, no loose liquid in
the container. **If you cook it for too long it could CATCH
FIRE, so be very cautious with this step. 

Remove the scarf from the container.

Rinse the scarf out completely with cold water. (No, the red
scarf didn't turn orange. I forgot to get a photo of this step
with the red scarf, so I captured it with the next color)
Wring out all water, then hang to dry, making sure the scarves
don't touch each other while drying.

After mine were dry, I placed them together for a photo.
You can see that the yellow still didn't get extremely brilliant
using 3 packets, so I'd just use two. The blue isn't a primary
blue, but a brilliant blue still. And the purple is really cool!
When you put the purple KoolAid powder in it looks black,
but don't worry, it will make a deep, violet for you.

I spread them out on the railing for you to see how they look
side by side.

Play silks have the potential to be anything you and/or your child imagines them to be. I've used the blue for water in the block area and the green for grass/forest, as well, but most of the use has been in wearing them. They've been dresses, skirts, superhero capes, princess headdress, pirate headdress, and more. I'd love to see your your play silks turn out! Please send a photo to me at the For the Children Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/For-the-Children/170943436350531?ref=hl

A huge thanks to my friends, Shannon and Jula for sharing this fun project with me!


  1. This. Is. Awesome! Truly awesome!! Looks like I better go get me some silk!

    1. Thanks, Deborah. I love how they turned out. I did have someone ask me if you could do it with the kids. Part of it you could, but the part with the microwave and letting out the steam would be too dangerous for them.

  2. This is amazing, as is your blog!!

    I would love to try this with my students.

    1. Thanks so much, Joanne. I don't know if you read my reply to Deborah above or not, so I'll repeat it here. I did have someone ask me if you could do it with the kids. Part of it you could, but the part with the microwave and letting out the steam would be too dangerous for them. I think kids would love it, but there are parts that would be best for the adults to do

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  4. So sorry, everyone. I gave credit to my friend, Shannon for telling me about the kool-aid dying, but just found out from Shannon that our good friend, Jula was the original one that told us both about it. She is the teacher/director at the Redding Cooperative Preschool. You can find her preschool's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/redding.preschool

  5. What an awesome idea! Looks so easy, too! Thanks for sharing :-)

    1. Thanks, Chrissy!! It really is easy to do once you get the rhythm going of each part. Good luck!!

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  7. This is such a fun idea! I would love for you to share this on my weekly link party Blog Stalking Thursday. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Thanks, Katie! I just visited your site and added this post. I also added your site to the link parties I visit on Thursday. Thanks for the invite!