A simple guide to shibori

Posted: 1st Aug 2019

Are you looking to unleash your inner creative side? Well, this project could be ideal

It's all about discovering the art of shibori - the traditional Japanese dyeing technique uses indigo to create patterns on the fabric.

As fun and innovative techniques go, it presents you with the ideal opportunity for playing around with textiles to bring a breezy, summery feeling into your home.

That's why we've spoken to Rebecca Snowden, Interior Style Advisor at Furniture Choice, who is offering her 4 tie-dye tips to let you get on with it...

1. Tools at the ready

Being by laying out your tools at the start - it will ultimately make the process a lot easier. You will need fabric dye, rubber bands, white cotton napkins, a bucket, empty squeeze bottle, rubber gloves and salt.

2. Napkin prep

Begin by machine washing the napkins. This ensures the fabric will absorb dye faster, and then, it will be best to use them as soon as they're out of the machine while it's still damp. When you are washing the napkins, avoid using fabric softener, as this could end up repelling the ink.

Then, prepare the dye by using the instructions on the packet - add salt to absorb the dye easier, and you can then mix it well in a packet.

3. Tie and wrap rubber bands

The four designs (swirl, crumpled, stripes and circles) will need plenty of rubber bands to make sure they achieve the necessary pattern when the dye gets poured onto it.

- Swirl design

The swirl and crumpled method are quite similar - when it comes to the swirl, simply lay the napkin out flat and then pinch and twist the centre. Keep on twisting until you end up with a flat rose shape.

- Crumpled design

For the crumpled method, simply crumple and twist the napkin until it looks like a ball. Then tie rubber bands around it to split it into sections.

- Stripes pattern

The stripes method is the most straightforward. Simply fold your napkin from the bottom up in pleats to ensure you have a long thin shape. Then, use 5 to 8 rubber bands along the piece of napkin.

- Circle design

If you're looking for a circle design, just choose the area of your fabric where you are looking for the dyed circles to appear. Then, pinch and pull these areas and then tie a rubber band around them to let the fabric stick up.

4. Tie dye begins

To start the process, pour the dye into a squeezy bottle to begin the process. Squeeze the ink onto the tied area where the rubber bands are and then leave them tied for 24 hours.

5. Rinse and machine wash

You can then reduce any dye bleeds by rinsing napkins with some cold water until it starts running clearly. After this is done, you can remove rubber bands and start rinsing with some warm water - it's then time to stand back and admire what you've done.

You can machine wash the dyed napkins again, but you need to ensure you do it without clothing, just in case the dye starts to bleed. Then, iron them once they've dried - they're now ready to use!

Opting for the carefree shibori tie-dyed napkin look gives you a playful, chic way to achieve a summery feeling to your dining room. You can perfectly complement it by using some organic elements, including wood, rattan and sea-inspired artwork.