DIY: Shibori

Shibori is the Japanese technique of resist dyeing on fabric, and you can achieve so many different looks with knotting, folding and bunching. It’s also the high-fashion take on the tie-dye you used to do at summer camp. We started with a kit on Amazon. The different folding techniques and added items like wooden discs, means only the exposed fabric will be dyed. 

Things you need:

-5 gallon bucket with lid

-smaller bucket filled with water

-gloves

-tarp or newspapers (this is an outdoor activity!)

-t-shirts, flour sack towels, pillow cases, any fabric you would like to dye

-items to do the shibori, like rubber bands, clamps, plastic or wooden discs or squares, string, etc.

-paint stirrer or something you can easily clean to stir the dye

Instructions on preparing the dye:

-Fill your bucket with 4 gallons of warm water. Mix in dye and soda ash (stopper) according to kit instructions, stirring it in with stirrer. Put on lid and let sit for at least 20 minutes. A film may appear at the top, so move to the side when you are ready to dye.

Preparing the folded fabric:

Accordion fold: Accordion fold fabric into 3- to 5-inch folds, and then fold into triangles. Add two popsicle sticks and secure with rubber bands.

Center: Pick up a point anywhere on the fabric, and then gather it. Add rubber bands down the length of the fabric.

Triangle fold: Accordion fold fabric into 3- to 5-inch folds, and then fold into triangles. Add two popsicle sticks and secure with rubber bands.

Knotted: Knot the fabric in the four corners of the shirt. Grab a bunch in the middle and secure with a rubber band, if desired.

Sideways accordion: Repeat the directions for the accordion fold, but on an angle. Start in a corner.

Bunched: Pick up pieces of the fabric and rubber band them, repeating in random spots.

Accordion fold with rectangle resist: Accordion fold the fabric. Place fabric between two pieces of wood and secure with rubber bands.

Accordion fold with circle resist: Accordion fold the fabric. Place fabric between two pieces of wood and secure with clamps.

Accordion fold with circle resist: Accordion fold the fabric. Place fabric between two pieces of wood and secure with rubber bands.

Dyeing the fabric:

When you are ready to dye, grab your folded piece of fabric and put it into the water bucket. Squeeze the fabric, letting out the trapped air. Transfer it to the dye bucket, holding it so it doesn’t sink to the bottom. It helps to squeeze the fabric, helping the dye spread. Hold under the surface for around a minute. Remove from the dye and squeeze out the extra liquid. It should be lime green! It will start oxidizing as soon as it hits the air, and will be ready for a second dip in about 15-20 minutes, or once it has turned dark blue. The results above are with two dips, but you can do a larger number of dips and/or hold your fabric in the dye longer to create a darker color. Just don’t forget to let it sit between dips.

Rinsing the fabric:

Once you are ready to rinse, remove the resists, rubber bands, knots, etc. One by one, take the piece of fabric and rinse out until the water runs clear. (Be careful! This dyed my sink, but I was able to clean it with a magic eraser). Once you have done that to all of your fabric, run it in the washer with a water-only cycle. Dry as usual.

You are ready to use your new dyed pieces!

 

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