Tag Archives: indigo pillowcase

I Tried It: Shibori Dyeing

When we debuted our semi-regular feature DIY Friday, one of the tutorials I mentioned wanting to try was Shibori dyeing.  I gave it a go this weekend, and I’m really happy with the results!

Shibori is a Japanese method of dyeing cloth by binding, wrapping, or folding the cloth to create different patterns. On the recommendation of this tutorial from Design Sponge, I bought an indigo dyeing kit.


The instructions were simple.  Basically you just dump the contents in a bucket and gently stir. I didn’t want to use the whole thing, so I just eyeballed 1/2 of each of the three substances and poured them in.

Materials gathered.

Materials gathered


Mixing the dye

The dye has to sit for about 30 minutes after you mix it, so the next thing I did was to fold my fabrics.


A basic accordion fold of a pillowcase


I tried the accordion fold different ways, and I bound them differently, just as an experiment.


Another accordion fold, but bound between wood blocks.

I also tried a technique called Arashi, or pole-wrapping. I took another pillow case and wrapped it around some PVC pipe. I then tied strings tightly up the pole in about one-inch intervals.


Once I had all the strings tied on, I scrunched the pillow case down to create folds and pleats.


Next, I wet the folded fabrics thoroughly, and then submerged them in the dye bath.

Indigo bath.

My dye wasn’t deep enough to submerge the Arashi Shibori, so I used a foam paint brush to apply the dye while it was standing in the bucket to catch the drips. Each piece of fabric stayed in the dye bath for about 5 minutes. When they first emerge, they are a sickly green color, but exposure to air quickly changes them to a rich indigo. I let each fabric oxidize for a few minutes and then gave them another dose of dye. For the accordion folds, after the second time in the dye bath, I rinsed them in cold water and then unfolded them and let them dry before washing them in the washing machine. For the pole-wrapped version I let the dye dry overnight before rinsing them, just to give the dye a better chance of penetrating the inner wrapped layer of the pillow case.

I really like the results!  Here is the accordion fold that was bound only using rubber bands:


And here is the accordion fold bound with wood blocks:


And last but not least the pole-wrapped Arashi:




Just because no Red House West blog post is complete without a kitty pic.

The whole process was very easy, and unwrapping each folded fabric after dyeing was a fun surprise.  I will definitely try this again–I’m thinking reusable wrapping paper, and maybe a tablecloth for the breakfast nook.

Have you conquered something on your DIY to-try list lately?  We are always inspired by your projects!