Tag Archives: shibori dyeing

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!


DIY Friday

One of the great things about blogging, with a weekly deadline and a commitment to our readers, is that we’ve been more likely to set aside time specifically for making things.  In the nearly two months since we started Red House West we’ve made some crafty projects, such as my bleach batik planter and re-imagined door chime and Katie’s hand-printed fabric and tasseled shower curtain.  The joy of making and sharing these projects has sent us back to our bookmarked archives to see what else we (or maybe you) might be inspired to create. We’re not abandoning Good Score (send ’em in, people!) but we’d like to make DIY Friday a semi-regular feature here at Red House West.  We’ll each share photos and links for DIY projects from around the web that get our creative gears turning.  Here we go!

From my DIY archives: I have a vague idea for creating a canopy over Opal’s bed once she transitions out of her crib and into her “big girl bed.”  In my mind it’s very Bohemian-Granny, and vintage embroidery bunting has a starring role.  See the post here: See the post here.

I’ve been seeing a lot of Shibori dying lately.  I love indigo, and the tie-dye patterns speak to my hippie heart circa 1992.  I’m thinking pillow cases: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

From Katie: It has been years and years since I’ve attempted creative painting like this, but I’m really inspired to try making a painted tablecloth like this one from Oh Happy Day.  The loose, abstract pattern seems doable, and I can imagine it in my favorite shades of blue and teal. Painted Floral Tablecloth from Oh Happy DayPainted Floral Tablecloth from Oh Happy Day 2

My recent foray into the world of concrete made me recall HomeMade Modern’s tutorial for a concrete-topped little stool and I’m thinking maybe now I’m brave enough to try it.  It reminds me of the cute Serena & Lily stool in Mera’s bathroom and it’s hard to beat the $5 project cost! bucket stool from Homemade Modern

And finally, I’ve had this paper clay barnacle tutorial from Design Sponge on my mind for a while.  They’d be darling with little air plants in them or for holding rings, and they appeal perfectly to my marine scientist’s heart. Paper Clay Barnacle DIY from Design Sponge Are you planning to tackle any DIY projects over the long weekend?  We’d love to hear about them! Check back in with us on Monday when Mera gives us the forecast for her breakfast nook.  TGIF!

********** UPDATE**********

Since writing this post, we have tried out a couple of these DIYs!  Check out Mera’s post on Shibori dyeing here, and Katie’s posts on making a shibori lampshade here and making paper clay barnacles here.