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March 2017

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dye vat

Tutorial: Pole-wrapped shibori (pictorial)

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This is a sample i did for my dyeing class. I took some process photos so you can see how the effect was created.

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I rolled the fabric up tightly onto a length of scrap PVC pipe.

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Then I secured it by wrapping it tightly with a spiralling length of strong twine.

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After tying off the twine, i scrunched the fabric down tightly to one end.

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Then, i dipped it into a large pot of simmering red dye.

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This would be a quick way to create organic-looking zebra stripes or similar. Once my students finish their projects (large 3-yard pieces with various shibori effects) i'll see if some of them will let me post the photographs of their results!


Wow, that's awesome! Is this just done on a cotton fabric? Is that what would work best?
Yes, i just used a scrap of quilting calico (100% cotton). You can do it with many types of fiber content though--silk, linen, rayon, anything dyeable, really, as long as you use the right dye for the fiber!
great, thanks for the FYI! :)
thats pretty shnazzy... does the pattern differ with longer lengths of fabric?
It depends. You can vary the effects with longer or shorter lengths, different widths, different diameter poles, even by wrapping on a diagonal! If you mess around with how you spiral the thread and whether you just scrunch it straight down or twist it on the pole while you scrunch it, you can change the outcome as well. It's fun to experiment with, every thing you do is different.
ack that is so cool! I have some ungly beige cotton that's not going to know what hit it ;)
I've been drooling over beautifully dyed veils I can't afford on ebay. Do you recommend any particular Crunchy Book of How to Dye Things, or is this the first in a series I can bookmark?
This will be the first of at least two posts, possibly three or four, so certainly keep an eye out for the others in the next week. However, in addition i recommend checking out this book:

Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing Tradition Techniques Innovation by Yoshiko Wada, Mary Kellogg Rice, Jane Barton

It's pretty much the shibori bible, full of TONS of illustrative photographs of a bunch of different shibori techniques (mostly B&W, but a color section as well), detailed instructions and diagrams, and a lot of historical information on the history of shibori as well.
That is very cool. I have a friend who's done a lot of fabric painting and dying for costumes but I've never tried it myself. This is basically tie-dying, but adding the pole gives it a really different effect. [interested staring]

Cool! I look forward to the other dye posts. I really want to give this a try, especially since I'm in the market for kimono accessories. Shibori is often used for obi-age, but of course, shibori scarves are incredibly expensive most of the time. But, buying some silk scraps and a couple bottles of dye would be nice and cheap!
You should really invest in that book i linked to a couple comments up from here--it has a lot of interesting info about shibori as a Japanese cultural phenomenon, and a ton of photos of various shibori-patterned kimono and obi designs. And yes, may as well try doing it yourself--it's fun and far more affordable!
That's really awesome! I've been tempted to try shibori dyeing for a while, and I think seeing this just tipped the scales. I know what I'm doing on my next day off work!



i need some info on how it is done, and what type of shibori this is!

Re: shibori

This type of shibori is called arashi shibori, and if the photographs and explanation in this post aren't explanation enough, check out an in-depth book like Yoshiko Wada's Shibori.


Problems dying

Hi, Thanks for all the information on Shibori. I use it frequently but now I am having a problem. I live in Egypt and use only natural dyes. However, when I use the pole type dying the color does not go all the way thru. I get a beautiful pattern on the end but it just get lighter as I unravel it. I tried wrapping it looser, I tried putting it in boiling dye, I tried letting it sit overnight, so far nothing has worked. I am using lightweight white cotton material. I've never had this problem before. Thanks for any help you can give me. Chere

Re: Problems dying

I admit, i don't have any advice because i almost never work with natural dyes. However, i can point you toward some folks who might! Try asking on the NaturalDyes email list, which is an international group of natural dye artists:


I am sure that several of them will have great advice for your problem!