Naturally Dyed Play Silks

Naturally Dyed Play Silks Activity

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See more activities in: Second Grade, Fabric Projects

Whether it's the trail from a piece of spaghetti or the spray from a cup of juice, food has a way of decorating clothes. Now your child can get as messy as she wants by making these beautiful play silks with dyes found naturally in vegetables. As you watch the cabbage lose all of its color, you'll be amazed by the silk's transformation! Play silks make a terrific open-ended toy that your child can use as a belt, cape, purse or even a body of water.

What You Need:

  • White silk scarf
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • Small purple cabbage
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Spoon
  • Soup pot
  • Water
  • Drying rack
  • Newspaper
  • Iron


What You Do:

  1. Head to the kitchen and begin to wash the cabbage and chop it into pieces with your child. She can then separate the pieces of cabbage and place them in the pot.
  2. Add the vinegar to the cabbage and add enough water to cover the cabbage.
  3. Bring the pot to a boil, and then turn down the heat to simmer it until the cabbage starts losing its color. This is a great time to talk about how vinegar helps move purple color from the cabbage into the water, creating a strong dye.
  4. When the cabbage has lost most of its color, remove it from the water.
  5. Submerge the play silk in the water, and stir it around until it is completely dyed with purple. As the color changes, your child can decide when the silk looks done. Chanting "Double, double, toil and trouble!" is optional!
  6. Hang the play silk over a drying rack, above some newspaper that will catch the drips. It should be completely dry within a few hours.
  7. Iron the silk to remove wrinkles.

To keep amazing your child, experiment with different vegetables, like beets, onions and coffee!

Updated on Jan 20, 2012
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See more activities in: Second Grade, Fabric Projects
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