Tag Archives: shibori 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.

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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

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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.

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A basic accordion fold of a pillowcase

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

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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.

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

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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:

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And here is the accordion fold bound with wood blocks:

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And last but not least the pole-wrapped Arashi:

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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!