Shibori Dyeing with an Artists & Fleas Vendor
May 22, 2020
Over the last year, tie-dyeing has had a resurgence, and now with more time at home everyone is trying their hand at it. Artists & Fleas vendor, Catherine Ruhl, the creator and founder of Onyxmatter, shared with us a step-by-step Shibori dyeing process
Shibori is a Japanese dyeing technique that typically involves the folding, twisting, or crumpling of cloth and binding it, then dyeing it in indigo. Whatever is used to bind the fabric will resist the dye, which results in the distinctive blue dye in patterns. There are so many unique possibilities and beautiful shades of blue when it comes to shibori. Check out Catherine’s website and Instagram for more inspiration:
- Something to dye- pillow/t-shirt/or tea towel
- String or yarn
- Dye kit- Jacquard dye kit is great
Step by Step
1) Select the piece you want to dye. I recommend a tea towel, t-shirt, or white pillow cover. You can dye anything that is a natural fiber: cotton, linen, rayon, modal, bamboo, or any blend of these things. Shibori is a great way to upcycle an old piece of clothing that might have a stain or be looking a bit dingy.
2) Iron the piece flat and then fold it in half. Methodically fold the half back and then forward to make an “accordion fold”. See the video tutorial for a visual. Keep folding it back and forth until you reach the end of your fabric. For best results iron as you make each fold. Once the fist side is folded, turn it over and fold the opposite side in the same way.
3) Once you have accordion folded the entire piece it should look like a long and thin rectangle. Tie the string around the middle of the rectangle and wrap the string around it tightly. Keep wrapping the string up the rectangle until you get to one of the ends. Once you reach the end, keep wrapping back down the piece toward your knot. Keep the string as tight as possible. Once you have wrapped back down to your knotted middle- keep wrapping to the other end and then back to the knot. Tie the end of the string off in the middle.
4) Mix up your dye. You can use any indigo kit- there are many kinds. Follow the instructions in the kit for mixing the dye and water. Remove the film on top. You can also use a fiber reactive dye kit if indigo is not available. Dharma Trading’s website has a lot of great options. Recommended: put down a floor covering or table covering under the vat to protect your surface. If you have access to an outside space that is also good.
5) Dip your piece! Dip the entire piece and submerge evenly. Remove the piece from the dye and check in the folds to see if you like the distribution of dye/resist. Re-dip if desired. Once you are satisfied with the look of it, squeeze out excess dye and let it rest for a few minutes to 24 hours.
6) Time to reveal your Shibori! CAREFULLY cut the string and remove it from your piece. Unfold it and behold your creation. Each piece of shibori is completely unique and beautiful. Let it dry completely.
7) Wash your shibori. Put the dry shibori into the washer alone and wash on hot with natural phosphate-free laundry detergent for best results. Dry on hot. Wash alone for a few washes before mixing into your other laundry.
8) Show off your beautiful creation! Post your process and/or your finished product on Instagram – tag @onyxmatter and @meatpackingny. We love to see your creations!