Dyeing a Rainbow Playsilk

Dyeing a Rainbow Playsilk

Dyeing a Rainbow Playsilk

How to Dye
A Rainbow Playsilk

A Simple Craft in Color Mixing

There is a special wonder that happens when children learn how mixing colors create new ones. As we dye a silk rainbow using yellow, red and blue food coloring, the colors magically blend to make orange, green, and purple. This project and process will delight both children and adults alike! Sarah hand dyed her first rainbow Playsilk in her kitchen sink in the early 90’s. Since then our rainbow has had a special place in our collection here at Sarah’s Silks.

What You'll Need:

  • White Playsilk for dyeing - we offer them here
  • 4 mixing bowls
  • 2 bottles of food coloring in yellow, blue,
    and red
  • Vinegar
  • Warm water

Preparing your silk and dye:

Hand wash your white playsilk in a bowl of warm water and soap. Rinse out the soap and let soak while you prepare the bowls of food coloring dye

Add 2 bottles of food coloring to each bowl with 2 cups of warm water. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to each bowl

To Dye the Rainbow:

 Wring out your white Playsilk. Open your silk into a square - it’s helpful to have a second pair of hands for this.

Fold your silk in half.  Repeat folding in half again in the lengthwise direction.  You should now have a long strip of silk ready for dyeing.

Start with the yellow dye and the middle section of the silk.  Hold both ends of the silk to make a U shape. Dip the middle third of the silk in the yellow dye.  Wring out with your hands.

Dip one end of the silk in the red dye - watch as the red overlapping the yellow makes orange.  Wring out this side.  Dip the other end of the silk in blue - making green as the blue overlaps the yellow. Wring out this side.

To make purple - dip the very end of the blue silk in the red dye bowl.  Wring out.

Open your silk out into a square and hang to dry.  Once dry, use a warm iron to brighten it’s sheen.

Rainbow wishes to all,


Sarah & Madlyn

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  • A year or two ago, I think you had another set of pictures showing how to dye the whole silk scarves with food coloring. I think there were six little glass jars with the primary and secondary colors. Could you send me those instructions? I teach a class to inservice teachers at Sherbrooke University and I wanted to do this project with them. I have already bought the white silk scarves.

    Anne Catherine McConnell on

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