Shibori dyed items are all the rage right now. From clothing to home decor, you can shibori dye almost anything. It’s a super fun project to do at home and is something I love doing for my shop. I am really intrigued by the history of Shibori dying as it has been around for thousands of years and is one of the oldest ways to create textile design. It is breathtaking what skilled traditional shibori artists can do. I’ll write a post on that later! For now, you can enjoy this detailed guide on how to create with shibori at home
Supplies: Jaquard Shibori Tie Dye Kit, 5 Gal Bucket, Stir Stick, Cooling Rack, Baking Sheet, Gloves, Items to dye
Prep: 4Gal water in bucket, Jaquard Kit in bucket, Stir, Wait 10 min while you tie your damp items.
Dying: Squeeze item and submerge fully in vat, Massage + move the item in the vat for several minuets.
Oxidization + Rinse: Carefully set item on baking rack, Let sit for 10 min flip sit for 10 more min or until dark blue, Rinse in water going from cold to hot until water runs clear, Wash with detergent + dry
You will need items with natural fibers to dye. It can get a little tricky classifying what fibers will accept the dye well so I would just stick with anything that is at least 60% cotton and contrasting with blue! You could use a pink or white shirt- whatever you’re feelin’! The more cotton, the better it will dye, so ideally use something that is 100% cotton. If you are wanting to dye yarn just make sure it is wool and you are good!
You will also need a Jaquard Shibori Tie Dye Kit which you can buy on Amazon though this link HERE. This will be enough to do a bunch of stuff so you may want to collect a few items to dye. It has everything you need in terms of dye and comes with detailed instructions. This kit is the best and takes all the measuring out of creating a vat. If you want to do small batches more often you can check out a later post on small vat dying!
You will also need a 5 gallon bucket and stick. I would get one at HomeDepot. They are super cheap there, make sure to stop by the paint station for a few stir sticks as those are also very necessary! I forgot to pick these up last time I was there and have run out resulting in me using a literal stick from the yard haha. Really you just need something to stir with. Keep in mind that there are chemicals in the shibori vat, so if you use something from the kitchen you wont want to use it for food prep later. If you are trying to do a more low key batch of shibori you can use a gallon sized pitcher. Just make sure never to use it for punch or water later!
Lastly, you will need a cooling rack. You will use this to let the item oxidize in the air with the dye. You can place saran wrap on a cookie sheet and place the cooling rack on that. That way when it drips it will be caught in the tray, yet the dye will avoid your cookie sheet. You may want to purchase or repurpose items from your kitchen here!
Once you have these three things you are all set to get your vat going!
STEP 1: Prep
Set the items you want to dye in a small bowl of warm water. This will help you tie the design later as well as open and relax the cotton fibers for the dye. While these are soaking you can set up the vat.
If you are using the entire Jacquard Kit, this part is fairly easy. There are super easy to follow instructions included with the kit. Fill the 5gal bucket with 4gal of water and add the contents of the kit. Stir with your stir stick. Close the lid and let it sit for 10 min. While the vat is processing you can tie your items.
Fully wring out the items you are working with. You can set them for a quick spin cycle in your washer or wring them out by hand. You can also throw them in your salad spinner to spin out excess water. Once they are damp and not wet, you can tie them. Use the suggestions from the kit or simply crumple up the fabric and bind it. This is my favorite pattern and the one you see on clothing most often. I also love the folding pattern where you just accordion fold your item one way and then the other. Bind your item tighter to create more white space. If you want more blue and less white use your rubber bands to create a loser bind. Once you have your items tied up you are ready to dye them!
DYING, OXIDATION + RINSING
Open your vat and use your stir stick to move the blue film aside. Squeeze all the air out your item and submerge it releasing slowing as you go. Massage and stir the item in the dye for several minuets. If you want a darker dye you are going to want to do this for closer to 5 minuets. If you want a lighter dye remove after around 3 minuets. Depending on the fabric, you may even want to do 5 minuets a couple times! One you feel your item has been dyed well enough you can place it on the cooling rack over the baking sheet.
This is where the magic happens! You can watch the magical transformation from the greenish hue to a vibrant and deep blue. I love watching items oxidize, it happens fairly quick so watch out. You want to let your item sit for around 10 mins before you flip it to sit for another 10 mins. This makes sure that all the areas with dye, even deep within your binds, will have time to oxidize. Once you rinse and unbind your item you will not be able to re-dye it with the same pattern. Double check to make sure it is a bit darker than the shade you are going for. Rinse in the sink going from cold to warm/hot water while it is bound until the water runs clear. Untie your item and gleam in the beautiful thing you just created! Finish rinsing your item and throw it in the wash with some detergent. You can dry your item in the washer or save on your projects carbon footprint by hanging to dry!