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Tie-dyeing process: How to get Shibori style dyed fabric

by Jean Boyd

Yesterday I gave you some basic information about using the Rit Indigo Shibori Dye Kit. Now let’s start folding fabric and getting the dye bath ready so we can start creating some wonderful fabric designs!

For this week’s project, I used pieces of PFD (prepared for dyeing) fabric that are approximately 11″ x 20″. The fabric must be wet before putting it in the dye bath. I found it easier to do the folding first, and then place the fabric in a basin of water until it is thoroughly wet. There are many suggestions for folding the fabric in the instruction booklet included with the kit, or you can experiment and create your own wrapping and folding techniques.

Fabric is folded and clamped with clothes pins or rubber bands or folded around craft sticks

Fabric is wrapped, tied and clamped.

While the fabric is soaking, get the dye bath ready.

Clamped and tied fabric is soaking in water in a white basin

Fabric is soaking in water.

To dye one pound of fabric, mix ½ bottle of Rit Indigo Dye (4 oz) with 3 gallons of hot water (140°). Use your kitchen scale to weigh the fabric. For the fabric I used, one pound was about 2 yards of fabric.

Fill a plastic container or stainless-steel sink with hot water. To enhance the color, add 1 cup of salt. To help promote level dyeing, add 1 tsp of liquid dish detergent.

Wearing rubber or plastic gloves, add the well-shaken dye.

Now the fun begins!

Carefully place the wet, folded fabric in the dye bath.

Wet fabric is in the blue dye bath; Rit Indigo Shibori Tie Dye Kit, Rit Indigo All-purpose Dye

Fabric in the dye bath

Sometimes, the fabric floats to the top. I used my tongs to help keep the fabric under the surface. You can use any heavy article to weigh the fabric down.

Use tongs to help weigh floating fabric down into the blue dye bath; Rit Indigo Shibori Tie Dye Kit, Rit Indigo All-purpose Dye

Use tongs to help weigh fabric down.

When you’re satisfied with the color, remove the fabric from the dye bath. 3 – 5 minutes is usually long enough, but you can leave the fabric in the dye bath for up to 20 minutes. Remember, the dyed fabric will be a lighter color when dry.

Now itʼs time to use the Rit ColorStay Dye Fixative to enhance the color and reduce bleeding. Mix ½ bottle (4oz) of Fixative with 3 gallons of water. Remove fabric from the dye bath and leaving it tied or bound, place it in the fixative and water bath.

Stir slowly and continuously for 20 minutes.

Dyed fabric wrapped using rubber bands, craft sticks and clothes pins in the ColorStay Dye Fixative solution in a white basin; Rit Indigo Shibori Tie Dye Kit, Rit Indigo All-purpose Dye, Rit ColorStay Dye Fixative

Dyed fabric in the ColorStay Dye Fixative solution

And now for the big reveal! Remove bindings, elastic, or string and get ready to admire your newly created fabric.

Rinse fabric in cool water until the water runs clear.

You can start using the fabric as soon as it’s dry. If you wish, you can wash your fabric in cold water with a mild detergent, rinse and dry.

4 pieces of Shibori–style dyed fabric each in a different pattern; Rit Indigo Shibori Tie Dye Kit, Rit Indigo All-purpose Dye

Shibori–style dyed fabric

This piece had too much white in it for what I wanted, so I dipped it back in the dye for about 1 minute,

Original blue and white fabric after dyeing has too much white and little blue pattern; Rit Indigo Shibori Tie Dye Kit, Rit Indigo All-purpose Dye

Original fabric after dyeing

And here’s what I have now. A much more useful piece for me!

Over–dyed dark blue and light blue fabric; Rit Indigo Shibori Tie Dye Kit, Rit Indigo All-purpose Dye

Over–dyed fabric

When I pressed my fabric, I used Mary Ellen’s Best Press starch alternative in the Best Press Spray and Misting Bottle, which really got rid of the wrinkles created by all the twisting and folding!

Mary Ellen’s best Press and spray and misting bottle beside wrinkled dyed fabric on an ironing board with iron

Spray with Mary Ellen’s Best Press for wrinkle free fabric.

Come back tomorrow and I’ll show you even more ways to use the Rit Indigo Shibori Tie Dye Kit and how to manipulate fabric to create your own designs on fabric.

This is part 2 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 1: Shibori tie-dyeing: What you need to get started

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