Wednesday, April 13, 2016
DIY: Shibori - Adventures in Indigo Dyeing
For a while now I have been infatuated with indigo and shibori dyed textiles - I've even had dreams about them. Then after happening upon a well written DIY post, I realized that I too could dye my own shibori. I bought a Jacquard Indigo Tie Dye Kit, a stack of Cotton Craft Napkins, Flour Sack Towels, and even some extra cotton fabric and got after it. Now, after two shibori days, I can say I am in love. Don't expect a textile business any time soon, but there might be some shibori present gifted away, because I really enjoy the process and love undoing the binding to see the final result.
The results of my second Shibori Day. The second time around, I let the fabric soak longer and for multiple times to get darker, richer blues.
First thing you have to do is bind your cloth. Shibori is basically really, really advanced tie-dying. There are many, many ways to bind your cloth and all have special names and interesting techniques. You can wrap beans in the fabric, use thread to make cones, rubber bands, pieces of wood to sandwich the fabric and much more. In case you're curious, I bought these two books: Shibori Designs & Techniques and A Handbook of Indigo Dyeing.
Following the directions of the indigo kit, I mixed the dye and the other chemicals in a big tupperware container. You can do it in a regular bucket, but they recommend that you have a tight-fitting lid to minimize its contact with oxygen so the dye will last longer. When you first mix it all together, it kind of fizzes and then forms this crazy metallic film on the top. Apparently, this is a good thing.
Then I took all my prepared fabrics and put them in a bucket of water to soak. When you are ready to dye, take one out, wring out the water and prepare to dye.
I definitely recommend wearing the big, long gloves. Here I am dying my first piece.
The dye comes out bright green at first and then as the dye oxidizes it will turn indigo. You can see here that the insides of the fabric have not been dyed, because they are still white.
A range of colors - the green just came out of the vat, then turquoise has oxidized a bit, then the darker blues are fully oxidized. Science!
Here is a beautiful piece that was accordion folded, then sandwiched between two square pieces of wood and held together with rubber bands. When I unfold this, it will have a square pattern.
I unfolded this one first - it was folded into triangles and then sandwiched between wood pieces. As it comes out, some of the interior folds haven't seen oxygen yet and are still green. It is so much fun to unfold or unbind the fabric. Definitely the best part of the process.
Here, I've taken my trusty seem ripper to undo the cone-shaped wrapped sections. It has a very tie-dye feel, but far more sophisticated.
The results of the first Shibori Day! After unbinding the fabric, ensure that everything has oxidized, then you can rinse in fresh water to get rid of excess dye. Afterwards, I threw all the towels in the washing machine and rinsed a number of times to get rid of the dye. I am hoping they no longer bleed, but to be safe, I'll wash them with darks this next time.
Seriously, it was SO MUCH FUN. Looking forward to getting another set of napkins and towels and maybe even a table cloth and some white shirts.
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