Shibori tie dye

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I recently had the honour of joining a talented group of female bloggers and social media gurus, at the very first Sisterhood Camp, organised by Little Green Shed and held at the inspirational Loveland Farm, in a secluded corner of Devon. For three days we were encouraged to indulge our creative and adventurous natures – exploring the nearby dramatic coastline, learning new crafts, and simply connecting and becoming friends. A renewing and energising treat for the mind, body and soul, that we can all benefit from, I wanted to share some of the delights of the weekend with you on my blog, so you can try them, too. First up: my first introduction to the Japanese art of Shibori tie dye (courtesy of Decorator’s Notebook and Growing Spaces):

You will need

indigo dye (we used one by Dylon)

a bucket and stick, for stirring

rubber gloves and an apron (you don’t mind getting dirty)

string and scissors, or elastic bands

a piece of 100% cotton or linen fabric, to dye

1. Prepare the dye, according to packet instructions.

2. Next, take your piece of fabric. The principal behind Shibori tie dye is that where you tie a knot, secure a crease using your string or elastic bands, or attach a clip, you will create a beautiful blue/white colour contrast after dyeing. Different folding and tying methods will produce dramatically varying results (such as those shown above). I’ve always been one to experiment, so I simply had a play around, knotting the corners, gathering some parts of the fabric into little twirls and clusters and securing, and folding other areas in a concertina fashion.

3. You may wish to be more ordered in your approach – there are numerous tutorials on Shibori if you search Google and, as you can see from the picture (which features the efforts of my Sisterhood Camp companions) despite starting with similar blank canvases of fabric, our outcomes couldn’t have varied more. Here are two of the main techniques to try- but whatever you do, just have fun. There are no mistakes in Shibori tie dye:

Arashi (pole-wrapping): wrap your piece of fabric around an old plastic pipe/tube at a diagonal, then bind with string and scrunch the material together a bit more – this creates a rippled line effect

Kumo (pleat and bind): concertina the material then gather at intervals at bind – this will produce spiderweb-like explosions

4. One you have your tightly tied bundle of fabric (the tighter you tie the string, the starker the colour contrast is likely to be), it’s time to get dirty. Wear an apron and rubber gloves for this part, unless you’d like blue hands, and place your material into your bucket of dye, stirring it for around 15 minutes or so, before leaving it to soak for a further 45 (depending on packet instructions).

5. When ready, carefully remove the fabric from the liquid, and allow them to dry and set slightly. Next, give the bound bundle a rinse in cold clean water, then undo your fastenings. You may need to rinse your material a couple of times to remove any excess dye. Finally, hang your handiwork out to dry and stand back and admire the beauty of your humble washing line!

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One thought on “Shibori tie dye

  1. Beautiful! I’m going to try doing some more I think – going back to my early nineties roots! It was so nice to meet you, wish you’d stayed a bit longer! x

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