This year, I figured that the perfect gift for the scientist to make for his little sisters, was new playcloths, in a rainbow of colors. The boy *loves* food coloring - seriously folks you would not believe the vast quantities of food coloring that we buy. I ordered the scarves from Dharma Trading Company. In the past we always have used koolaid - not sure why. The colors are so much nicer with food coloring! And no yucky smells either.
I also ordered for the girls, from the same place, some silk triangle shawls with silk fringe - so cute, and a perfect addition to the dress up box I'm putting together for their main Christmas gift. I had planned to dye them ahead of time, but ran out of time - I'll have them dye them with me tho which will be way more fun :)
Dharma has so many gorgeous silk items - I couldn't help myself - I also got some gorgeous silk camisole night gowns for the ladies of the house - I dyed one for my oldest in her favorite shade of blue. It's a gorgeous thick satiny silk too. I was a bit disappointed in the silk long underwear I bought tho - not the greatest fit, and it snags really easily.
The play silks have gotten a lot of use around here, and I like to replace them now and then when they wear out. I've never had a whole rainbow at once tho! I love rainbows!
This photo just doesn't do the colors justice - I got a nice vibrant shade shade of each color.
I've described the process before - it couldn't be easier - for silk fabric I just get a small pot of hot water going on the stove, add a good glug of vinegar to help set the color, and then start adding the food coloring until I like the color. You can test on paper towels for the colors that need more mixing like purple. If the silk sucks up all of the color from the water and isn't as dark/permeated as you would like, just scoop out the scarf, add a little more color and put it back in for a few more minutes. Let them simmer on the stove for a good 20 minutes or so, rinse and dry. I like to iron them with a low heat iron when I'm done. I bought some long skinny scarves too and dyed them in watery colors - these work really nicely in setups as water. That's it :) I like to keep a few extras on hand for last minute birthday gifts. I love homemade gifts, and this one is so super kid friendly. If you don't want them working near the hot stove, you can mix them cold on the table, and then an adult can heat it on the stove later to set. I'm really comfortable with my kids being around the stove - they all are, pretty much as soon as they can stand - with adult supervision at first of course.