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DIY Shibori How to Dye Fabric with
Indigo Tie Dye Kit
A few weeks ago I started seeing shibori tie dyed fabric all over pinterest and was blown away by the bright, blue indigo color and knew I had to learn more about it. I was lucky enough to take a class from Andrea Eastin of Fair Fit where she showed me how to use powder based dyes on fabric, using these shibori folding techniques. Then I used what she taught me to dye with indigo!
Indigo is one of the oldest dyes used to dye fabric and of course blue jeans. Indigo dye comes from a plant and the blue dye is made from the leaves of the plant. Dyeing with indigo is different than dyeing with other dyes because in its natural form it is insoluble with water - so it must go through a process to be reduced which turns it into a liquid form and actually removes oxygen from it! Shibori is a technique of creating designs in dyed fabric by using various form of folding and securing the fabric. Where there is resistance to the fabric, the dye will not seep through, leaving the original fabric color. Where the dye is absorbed turns the color of the dye you are using.
Let's get started! It is so much fun!!
What you need:
100% cotton fabric
clothes pins or chip clips
stirring stick (old paint stirrer)
2 wooden square boards
2" diameter PVC pipe if you want to pole wrap (shown below)
2.5 gallon bucket or bin
clothes line for hanging
**The Indigo Tie Dye Kit comes with rubber bands, gloves, 2 wooden boards, soda ash and reduction agent
DIY Shibori Tutorial -Fabric Dye with Indigo
1. Gather materials
2. I cut my yard of 100% cotton fabric (or other natural fiber fabric such as linen or silk) into 4 fat quarters by cutting up the middle and then cutting that in half.
You get 4 pieces that are 18 inches x 22 inches.
3. It is very important for you to fold your fabric accordion style. Lay your fabric out, fold bottom up.
4. Flip fabric over and fold up the previous section again.
5. Flip fabric over again to repeat this process until you have one single strip.
6. Now we are going to make a square shape. Once again, fold up the bottom, flip over and fold up that piece and repeat until you have one square.
7. You want your square about the same size as the wooden boards in your Shibori Die Dye Kit.
8. Use rubber bands, clothespins or clips to bind your fabric together tightly. Where you have the rubber bands and clips will resist the dye, leaving the fabric white.
9. For your next piece of fabric fold it accordion style again.
10. Secure your piece of fabric using rubber bands equally distributed along the fabric strip. I also added some clips. The rubber bands will stripe your fabric beautifully!
11. For the next fat quarter you will accordion style fold it and then fold it into a triangular shape.
12. Flip it over and continue to accordion style fold the triangle.
13. Secure with rubber bands.
14. If you want to try shibori pole wrapping, use a 2" diameter PVC pipe. Roll your fabric around the pipe and secure the bottom 4 or 5 inches with twine tightly.
15. Push the fabric towards the bottom of the pole, squishing the twine closer to the ones below it.
16. Continue wrapping and pushing your fabric down along the pole.
17. For the last fat quarter of fabric I used a gathering method using my sewing machine. I baste stitched equal columns then pulled on the bottom, bobbin strings to equally gather the fabric.
18. I had an extra fat quarter and made another triangle, but used fewer rubber bands to see the difference.
19. Fill up your bucket with 4 gallons warm water.
20. Empty the indigo dye into the bucket and stir.
21. Empty the soda ash and then reduction agent packets into the water while stirring.
22. Cover the vat with a lid and let it sit for 30 minutes. When you remove the lid it will look like this below. The layer that floats on top of the water is called "flower" or "bloom". If you push the bloom to the side, underneath the water will look clear yellow or yellowish green. It will not be blue. Now it is time to dye your fabric!
23. Thoroughly wet your pieces. Squeeze out air and water.
24. Push the flower or bloom to the side (or scoop it out into another container while you dye your fabric) and submerge one piece into the bucket. You can leave it in for one to several minutes, but do not let it fall to the bottom of the bucket. When you are ready to take it out, squeeze out the dye slowly and remove it. Place it into an empty bucket or on a plastic cloth to drip. **The fabric will look yellowish green when it comes out. As oxygen in the air comes into contact with your fabric, it will begin to turn blue. Leave it alone for 20 minutes while it oxidizes.
25. If you want a darker blue, redye your fabric by placing it back into the bucket for one to several minutes, squeeze out and let oxidize for 20 minutes.
26. If your fabric is dark enough, rinse out the dye until water runs clear.
27. Unwrap and untie the pieces of fabric to reveal your indigo tie dye!
Place the bloom back onto the top of the indigo dye bucket of water, stir the bucket in a circular motion, then reverse the stir, making sure the bloom is centered.Place the lid on top so air does not get into the bucket.
Let it sit for 60 minutes before using it again.
The vat will keep for several days and several dyes. I kept mine for 4 days and dyed plenty of fabric!
Here are some things I made:
*above left is triangular shape
*above right is fabric set on a square
*above left is pole wrapping technique
*above right is triangular shape
*above right is the long strip with rubber bands evenly spaced throughout.
*above is when I baste stitched and gathered the fabric
Are you going to give it a try? Doesn't it remind you of tie dyeing t-shirts when you were little?