fabric

How To: Shibori-Style Tie Dye

image1

Tie-dye is the iconic craft of summer. Most of us have made at least one rainbow spiral t-shirt in our time. But if you’re in the mood to shake it up a little this time around, you might try crafting something in the style of the ancient Japanese fabric dying technique: shibori.

Shibori is a type of tie-dying, traditionally created with indigo dyes (this is the same dye that makes your jeans their iconic blue!) There are many different techniques in shibori, used to create an endless array of patterns. Techniques involve stitching, folding, twisting or even wrapping around poles to change the dying effect. The tie dye look shown here is modeled after a shape blocking technique called  itajime shibori. It involves blocking the dye from certain areas of fabric using wooden blocks and ties. This technique creates an awesome finished look with distinct squares almost like little windows!

shibori dye folding

First off, you will need:
– cotton fabric
– RIT dye in your choice of color
– small blocks of wood
– rubber bands
– bucket
– rubber gloves
– stirring stick

To achieve this pattern, you’ll need to fold and bind up your fabric in a shibori style before dunking in dye. Start out by uniformly folding your fabric accordion style, lengthwise. I’m working with a pillowcase in the photos shown, to give you an idea of the approximate size.

fabric folding for itajime shibori
Then fold it up accordion style again, in the opposite direction. You want to end up with a square that’s a little bit bigger than your blocks.

wooden block tie dye

Bind it up with rubber bands or string. Use as many or as little as you like. More will help to resist the dye further, leaving extra white space.

riy dye tie dye

Mix up your dye according to package directions in the bucket. Be sure to use a bucket or container that you don’t mind staining! *Note* – True black is very difficult to achieve using simple dyes, but I wanted my color as dark as possible, so I actually used two packets of RIT dye and ended up with a dark inky purple.

shibori dying technique

Completely submerge your bound block into the dye bucket. Swirl it around and let it sit for a few minutes, up to half an hour, depending on how deep you want your color to be. Follow dye package directions here, as timing and technique may vary.

using RIT for tie dying - shibori

Allow the dye to set for at least 2 hours, up to overnight. I usually tie them up in a plastic grocery bag until ready for rinsing.

Rinse excess dye out with cold running water before untying. Continue to rinse as you gently cut the ties, remove the blocks, and unfold. Rinse until water runs mostly clear.

shibori style tie dye pillowcase

Voila! No two pieces will look exactly the same, which is really the fun of tie-dying! At this point you can go ahead and throw your pieces in the washing machine on the cold cycle, then dry.

shibori style tie dye

Shibori is a beautiful tradition, and a really fun twist in the tie-dying technique that we all know and love here in the U.S.! I think it lends kind of a sophisticated edge to this summer craft. Check out our Pinterest page for some awesome Shibori inspiration!

Happy crafting!

Try This: Fabric Covered Flower Pots

fabric covered flower pots
Potted plants are an awesome way to liven up any room. They also make a great hostess gift. Bonus points for both if your plants live in pretty, brightly colored pots!

Painted pots are so last year, so why not try covering some in fabric! There’s no end to the pattern possibilities or color combinations, and the texture adds a lot of interest. It’s an easy summer craft project that you can whip up in practically no time at all!

cloth covered flower pots
With just a few supplies, this is also a very inexpensive project. You might even have some of these supplies at home already.

scrap fabric covered planters
You will need: A small terra cotta flower pot, some patterned fabric (1/4 yard is plenty), a sponge brush, scissors, and some Mod Podge. I used the hard coat variety of Mod Podge because it’s what I had on hand, but any kind should do. If you don’t have Mod Podge you can even use Elmers Glue mixed with water.
how to wrap a flowerpot
Step 1: Cut out a piece of fabric that will fit around your pot, leaving about a one inch overhang for the top and bottom edges. You will end up with a curved shaped piece as shown above. The easiest way to do this is to lay your pot sideways on the fabric, hold a pencil against the edge, and roll it. Then cut one inch above and below the curved lines you’ve just created.
mod podge fabric pots
Step 2: Working a small section at a time, paint Mod Podge onto the pot and press the fabric on top, smoothing with your fingers as you go. Make sure to press firmly into the crease under the top lip of the pot. Once you’ve gone all the way around, leave about a half inch overlap and trim off any excess.
mod podge scrap fabric pot
Step 3: Cut the overhanging fabric into one inch tabs all the way around the top of the pot. Glue them down one by one, overlapping them as you go. Then do the same on the bottom of the pot.
diy fabric flower pot
Step 4: Paint a layer of Mod Podge over the fabric, covering the outside of the pot. This will seal and smooth everything down.
patterned mod podge flower pot
All done! Now go pick out a cute plant to live in your masterpiece while you wait for the glue to dry!
cloth covered pots
Try making a few in coordinating colors to plant a mini kitchen herb garden! Or make extra and bring a potted herb or succulent as a hostess gift to your next summer party. Be sure to share your summer projects with us on Instagram! Just use #WTDWLemons.
fabric wrapped plant pots