Raising Silkworms

My children have played with beautiful playsilks since they were little babies. Silks have been capes for knights, pretty table cloths for tea with fairies, butterfly wings. They truly are the most versatile of all playthings.

Imagine how amazed my children were when I told them that the silk they play with comes from worms! They didn’t believe me. OK, I said, let’s raise silkworms and you’ll see.

We started with a bunch of eggs. It was fascinating to see them hatch in to teeny tiny little worms, as small as a pencil mark on a piece of paper.

Raising Silkworms on The Magic Onions

We scoured the neighborhood for a large mulberry tree and brought home some mulberry leaves for our silkworms. They ate and ate and we found ourselves visiting the mulberry tree more and more often. They grew huge! As fat as our fingers.

Then one day, a worm started to spin itself a cocoon. Beautiful white thread… Silk, I said!

Raising Silkworms
A week or so later, we were delighted to find that a moth had emerged from a cocoon. A beautiful white moth, with the sweetest little face. They are such peaceful creatures… they don’t fly away! But, if they get on your nose, they tickle!

Raising Silkworms on The Magic Onions

Raising Silkworms on The Magic Onions

Raising Silkworms on The Magic Onions

Raising Silkworms on The Magic Onions

We explored the cocoon. Soft and fluffy on the outside but really strong on the inside… wow, all this spun from a worm!

People unravel the cocoon to use the fine silk threads to weave into silk.

Raising Silkworms on The Magic Onions

Raising Silkworms on The Magic Onions

We cut a cocoon open… to find a chrystalis inside… along with a little shriveled up skin of worm.

Raising Silkworms on The Magic Onions

Raising Silkworms on The Magic Onions

We have watched our moths mate and lay hundreds of eggs. We are eager to see how long it takes for them to hatch.

Isn’t nature amazing!!

If you want to raise silkworms in your own home, you can buy the eggs online… Google ‘silkworm eggs’. Have fun.

Here’s a Discovering Waldorf article from the archives on the Magic Of Playsilks.

Blessings and magic,

Donni

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Comments

  1. Donni, not sure if you know, but you can dye the cocoons and use them in different ways, If you take one of the ones you opened, you can separate it in very thin layers. They would make wonderful coats for fairies or even hammocks in a fairy garden.
    You can also use silk roving, easier to purchase it really, to make ‘silk paper’ a little like felting wool, but you need a bit of something like thinned children’s glue to hold the layers together. (some people use wall paper paste, but the chemicals to stop it going off aren’t too safe for kids.)
    I guess rather than try to find links, you could probably find places online which work better for your desired results.
    Sandy in the UK

    • Great info, Sandy… thank you. We’ll try separating a cocoon this afternoon for a fairy coat!
      When our eggs hatch we are going to try raising them on beetroot leaves instead of mulberry to get a pink cocoon :-)
      Blessings and magic,
      Donni

  2. What a lovely idea. I remember going to a silk factory when I was at school and being fascinated by the cocoons. Once my little one is old enough to make the link I then we’ll give these a go.

  3. That is just fabulous! Wish we had a mulberry tree. . .

  4. Were growing a mulberry tree with the hope it will get enough leaves to survive and raise some silk worms. Those moths are so sweet, what a bonus. I wonder how many leaves it takes to raise a silk worm?

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