How To Create Beautiful Shibori Textiles Using indigo Dye
I have long been a fan of Indigo dyes ever since our first trip to Rajasthan in 2007, when the deep blue indigo hue caught my eye. I noticed Shibori designs trending in interiors and diy. Ever since, I have always wanted to give Shibori folding and tying techniques a try. Initially, I found the final pictures intimidating because the fabrics always looked visually stunning, which led me to believe that the process was complex. I found out the process can be simplified and even a beginner can have beautiful results. The beauty and simplicity of the outcomes are both modern and timeless.
The overall project took me 2 hours from start to finish, although I planned this project for about 1 week in advance. Much of the work was planning and ordering the materials at the beginning of the week. Once I had them all together, I was ready to begin.
You will want to gather your supplies in advance. Read on to see the project photos, materials list and fabrics that I suggest.
Favorite Shibori Supplies and Materials for BEGINNERs
I found some basic items to experiment with around the house: green rubber bands, leftover tea towels, cardboard, and fabric remnants.
Here is what I purchased for this project:
For the fabric pieces that I wanted to dye, I used mostly all cotton items that I had around the house, I only bought one new kids t-shirt for this project. Later, I found the perfect linen tea towels for dyeing!
All of the pieces, I had prepared throughout the week by folding and soaking the fabric in water in advance. I spent about 1-hour folding the pieces in advance.
I tied off the 2 cotton toddler t-shirts, one for my son and one for a neighbor. For the design, I used a ruler to make a grid. I wanted the rings to be strategically placed and to be relatively small. I saw many tips that said to use beads, I found many small round, plastic and glass beads that I used. I randomly created a double ring in 1-2 times on each piece. Later, I ordered the natural wooden beads listed above.
Originally, I had planned to use a 5 gallon bucket, instead I opted for a low wide plastic container along with a deeper vertical one that I had in my studio. Next, I split the contents of the indigo dye, soda ash and hydro packets into the two vats filled with warm water and followed the Indigo Dye kit instructions.
About 15-20 minutes later, the dye was ready to go! (Tip: I used the gloves that came with kit, but I think longer gloves, would be ideal for this type of project.
I submerged all of the pieces in the dye bath and then rung the excess water out.
Some of the pieces, including the shirts, I dipped again and allowed it to remain in the bath about 5-7 minutes. I decided not to double dip the 2 pillow cases to experiment with a faded look.
Rinse, Cut and Untie.
Next, I took them over to the sink to rinse them out. The process of untying the pieces to reveal the white marks was the biggest thrill. The artistry of the folding influences the piece as it unfolds to reveal it's marvelous markings.
Below at left, you can see a tea towel wrapped around a 1-inch thick wooden dowel tied with twine, bunched and secured. The result at right, is both predictable and surprising! I had anticipated thin wavy lines from the twine, yet the exact pattern and direction is more spontaneous.
Here is part a peak of the textile collection from my latest workshop, after the tea towels were all rinsed out and hung to line-dry! I promise to share with you future Shibori DIY.
Until then, Happy Monday and happy folding!
HI, I'M HILARY.
I offer creative workshops to inspire you to live your best life by connecting to your creativity and others.
A Day in the Life, often features natural dye methods, Shibori textile techniques, travel, wellness, and California design. I love dreaming up clothing and objects for a sustainable handmade home. I hope to meet you in person at one of my workshops for creative people like you!
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