How to Dye Fabric: Shibori Folding Technique

With the Shibori folding technique, you can create geometric patterns like squares, triangles and hexagons by simply folding the fabric in different ways. You can also clamp flat objects to both sides of the fabric before dyeing. The area that is covered will remain white, adding another element to the pattern.

Want to get the printable PDF instructions? Sign up to our mailing list to download the PDF. Sign Up Here!

Materials

  • Rubber bands
  • Salt (optional)
  • Containers for dyeing
  • Spoon
  • Rubber gloves
  • Plastic to cover your workspace
  • Pot for boiling water
  • Iron (optional)
How to Dye Fabric - Shibori Folding Technique - Materials

Video

Instructions

Step 1: Fold the fabric

For best results, use a fabric made from natural fibers like cotton, and pre-wash the fabric.

Accordion fold your fabric in one direction. To get crisp folds you can iron as you go, but this isn’t necessary. The larger the folds, the bigger the pattern will be.

Then fold the corner of one of the ends down to create a triangle. Accordion fold the triangle until you reach the end. By folding the fabric like an accordion, the dye will be able to reach all the edges of the fabric, which is what will create the pattern.

Hold the fabric together with a rubber band.


Step 2: Dye the fabric

Make sure your work space is covered with plastic or something to protect it from staining. Soak the fabric in warm water.

For the dye bath, heat at least enough water to cover the fabric. With the water near boiling, pour it into a container. You can either submerge the whole piece or just dip in the edges. I going to do both with two colors.

Put on rubber gloves and add the dye, shaking it first. I’m using aquamarine Rit dye. If you’re dyeing cotton, rayon or linen fabric, adding salt will help the dye absorb better. Stir the dye bath thoroughly.

The amount of dye you use will depend on the color you want to achieve, the amount of water you’re using and the amount of fabric.

Place the fabric into the dye and let it sit for about 10 minutes or more. You can move it around and open up some of the folds a little to allow the dye to get deeper into the fabric.

Prepare another dye bath with a different color. I’m using navy blue Rit dye.

Take the fabric out of the first color and squeeze out the excess dye. Then dip just the edges in the dye. You can also use different colors for each side or another color for the corners.


Step 3: Rinse the fabric

Rinse in warm water, then cold, until the water runs clear.

Machine wash on cold and dry.


Feeling inspired? Browse our selection of Rit dye!

Questions & Comments

Have a comment? We want to hear! You can use the questions box to leave a comment too.