DIY Shibori

Shibori is a Japanese term for methods of dyeing cloth by binding, stitching, folding, twisting, and compressing.  In Japan, the earliest known example of cloth dyed with the shibori technique dates back to the 8th century where indigo was the main dye used.  We were immediately inspired by this fascinating technique, it’s history and beauty.  After much research, we decided to tackle 3 techniques of Shibori dyeing with an Indigo Tie Dye Kit, a few old white shirts and scarves, and several household items.

1. Arashi (Japanese for “storm”) shibori a pole-wrapping technique. The cloth is wrapped on a diagonal around a pole or cylindrical object (we used old PVC and copper piping) and then tightly bound by wrapping thread or wire up and down the pole. Next, the cloth is scrunched down on the pole.  The patterns are on a diagonal in arashi shibori which suggests the rain from a heavy storm. (Click images to enlarge)


2. Kumo shibori is a twist and bind resist technique. This technique involves wrapping sections of the cloth over a found object, usually small stones or pebbles. Then the cloth is bound in very close sections with rubber bands. The result is a very specific circular spider-like design.

3. Itajime shibori is a shape-resist technique.  The cloth is folded like an accordion and sandwiched between two pieces of wood or any flat shaped object, which are held in place with string or rubber bands. The shapes prevent the dye from penetrating the fabric they cover and give an endless variety of patterns depending on the fold, binding object and placement of rubber bands.

We’re ready to dye!

Following the dye preparation directions from the Indigo Tie Dye Kit were easy; first rinse your fabric with water, dip in the indigo vat that was premixed before binding the fabric, let it oxidize and dry for 20 minutes and then repeat the steps for darker shades of indigo.  Be aware that the color is much darker when wet and will fade after rinsing.

Rinse the fabric with water and undo the bindings to reveal the surprising creations.

Our patterns revealed: Arashi, Kumo and Itajime.  The possibilities are endless–try varying and even combining the techniques to see what you are able to create.  Your indigo dye vat will keep for several days and dye at least 15 pieces of clothing.

Our Shibori dyed goodies!!!  We can’t wait to dye more and even try our hand at recreating this gorgeous Suno dress.

(top image Shibori master Motohiko Katano and Japanese Shibori fabric, rest of the images by Honestly…WTF)

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223 Comments

  1. lauren wrote:

    Erica, that was so much fun, what’s next? I have gotten a ton of compliments on my scarf, best part is I get to say I made it!!!!!

    7.4.10
    Reply
  2. Elizabeth wrote:

    The stones make a great bubble effect!

    7.6.10
    Reply
  3. I’m totally going to try this. I have a caftan that I bought the other day specifically to dye it.

    7.8.10
    Reply
  4. Hilary wrote:

    M so dyin’ to try this I loved Shibori but can’t wait to test out the rest!

    7.12.10
    Reply
  5. This looks awesome! Thanks for sharing the techniques and interesting facts.

    7.12.10
    Reply
  6. Katie wrote:

    How did you get the white circle effect? Not the ones outlined in white with a blue center but fully white. It’s on the top of the piece 4th from the right. I’m not really seeing how it was done in the demonstration of the techniques.

    7.13.10
    Reply
  7. erica wrote:

    Katie, the white circle effect was done using the Itajime shape-resist technique. So instead of using rectangular wooden pieces to bind, we used circular shapes (in this case, canning jar lids). And instead of using rubber bands to bind the fabric between the “shapes” we used clamps from the tool shed (which you can find at the hardware store). Hope that answers your questions!

    7.13.10
    Reply
  8. pega wrote:

    OMG! I just bought these tie dye leggings…and am in LOVE with tie dye..and they’re on sale!

    http://www.shopbop.com/lakota-leggings-leyendecker/vp/v=1/845524441866251.htm?folderID=2534374302046710&fm=browse-brand-shopbysize-viewall

    7.26.10
    Reply
  9. Lenoi wrote:

    Thank you SO MUCH for this! i will be using this to guide my dying loving HEART!!!
    -Tiffany of Love, Mama

    7.28.10
    Reply
  10. Yen wrote:

    This is amazing! What technique would I have to use to achieve the effect seen in the fabric at the bottom of the very first image? I didn’t even realise you could do that with tie dye!

    7.28.10
    Reply
  11. heather wrote:

    Hi there- Loved this post and was so inspired I had to do it for myself! Am loving the results! I just have to make sure that the whole family isn’t walking out of the house with their new shibori t-shirt on, lol.
    Just wondering if you had any tips about the disposal of the dye when finished with it…

    7.31.10
    Reply
  12. Amy wrote:

    I am so happy to have stumbled upon your Shibori project, I have been scouring the internet for info about Shibori all weekend after seeing it for the first time this weekend at the American Craft Council in SF, check the woman’s fantastic work out. Her is a link to her site, the sculptural and texture sections are truly amazing (although the images barely did her work justice)
    http://www.wendysmithwood.com/#s=0&mi=1&pt=0&pi=1&p=-1&a=0&at=0
    If anyone has and info about the adding of texture in Shibori I would love to hear about it. thanks

    8.15.10
    Reply
  13. Adriana wrote:

    Fantastica tu pagina, adoro esta tecnica.

    3.8.11
    Reply
  14. Ryan wrote:

    If yall figure out how to dye clothes like the suno dress let us know!! I have a shirt I am “dying” to dye that way! 🙂

    3.16.11
    Reply
    • erica wrote:

      Ryan, the Suno dress was done using the Arashi method mentioned above! Let us know how it turns out! xx

      3.16.11
  15. Nomadic D wrote:

    loving this. going to try the arashi technique with the bleach tie-dye you guys mentioned in today’s post. will let you guys know how it turns out.

    http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/

    3.16.11
    Reply
  16. Nomadic D wrote:

    ok, tried it. failed but love the results anyway. check it out here:

    http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/2011/03/reverse-tie-dye-surprise.html

    3.19.11
    Reply
  17. Kelly wrote:

    Nomadic D, I think your shirt turned out cool! I love that color!

    Erica, Lauren, in the middle picts, the dying shots, it looks like you have two pieces that were braided?? how did that turn out? are they in the finished projects pictures?

    I’m LOVING all your DIY’s btw!

    3.25.11
    Reply
  18. lolwut wrote:

    Where did you guys get such deep v necks? lol

    4.30.11
    Reply
    • erica wrote:

      @lolwut American Apparel!

      4.30.11
  19. Deval Nakshiwala wrote:

    This technique of dying clothes is similar to the procedure used in India called Bandhani

    5.4.11
    Reply
  20. Amber wrote:

    AWESOME! I love shibori and your fabrics turned out so beautifully!

    5.10.11
    Reply
  21. Sarah wrote:
    7.26.11
    Reply
  22. Erin wrote:

    how do you do the top part of the 8th shirt?

    7.26.11
    Reply
  23. Lauren wrote:

    @Erin I’m not sure what the 8th shirt is?

    7.26.11
    Reply
  24. Erin wrote:

    sorry the 8th piece on the picture of the clothesline. the one with the 2 hexagon-like shapes on the top and the itajime stone technique on the bottom

    7.31.11
    Reply
  25. Melanie K wrote:

    Awesome!

    8.3.11
    Reply
  26. anonymous wrote:

    how did you do the pattern for the shirt the third in from the right on the clothesline?

    8.5.11
    Reply
  27. Jen L wrote:

    I just fell in love with the Anthropologie Shibori bedding, but not the price tag! Thank you for this tutorial – my crush will be mine!

    8.17.11
    Reply
  28. Lisa mooney wrote:

    Fantastica tu pagina, adoro esta tecnica.
    urdu poetry

    9.9.11
    Reply
  29. Athena wrote:

    These are gorgeous! I’m going to have to try this now. ^_^

    10.3.11
    Reply
  30. Bronwen wrote:

    I just tried this myself – thanks for the tutorial! It was so much fun, I imagine I will do it again and again.
    The pictures from my own project are here:
    http://missiontobywater.blogspot.com/2011/10/shibori-all-day-and-night.html

    10.10.11
    Reply
  31. Awesome! Great Art Work nice sharing …..

    11.6.11
    Reply
  32. Anna wrote:

    And shibari means entirely TOTALLY different. Anyway, this is an awesome DIY.

    12.12.11
    Reply
  33. Josefina wrote:

    I like your work is beautiful.
    congratulations
    bye
    Josefina
    tijerasycuchara.wordpress.com

    1.9.12
    Reply
  34. Jenna wrote:

    oh wow this is so amazing. I am student teaching (art ed major) this semester (start in a few weeks). I can not WAIT to chat with my co-op teacher about this! It’ll be a great way to teach wiggle in non-western art…. it’s high school and I think my kids will like it! fingers crossed!!

    1.10.12
    Reply
  35. anindita wrote:

    this DIY is epic!

    1.15.12
    Reply
  36. Amanda wrote:

    omg I just discovered this site and I am overwhelmed by the number of diy projects I now want to do

    5.24.12
    Reply
  37. Marcela wrote:

    Wow!!!, I want to start doing that now!!!, how artistic and beautiful!!, thank you for the post!!!!

    6.25.12
    Reply
  38. Me encanta hacer todas estas técnicas de teñido. Es un trabajo original porque cada trabajo es una obra de arte.

    7.4.12
    Reply
  39. Katy wrote:

    Thanks so much for the inspiration guys. I just had a go and it was ace! Now begging everyone I know for any more white garments! Pics here: http://katysordinarydays.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/how-to-shibori-tie-dye.html

    7.24.12
    Reply
  40. Hayley wrote:

    Me and my best friend tried out the one with the rocks, and we absolutely love our new shirts! Thanks!

    9.4.12
    Reply
  41. Marga wrote:

    Love it!! 🙂

    9.5.12
    Reply
  42. Natalie wrote:

    Super-freakin awesome!

    9.13.12
    Reply
  43. Trina wrote:

    So many amazing projects, so little time. I love these effects and the indigo is beautiful!

    10.12.12
    Reply
  44. ITBooster wrote:

    Nice Good..

    12.8.12
    Reply
  45. Cláudia wrote:

    Adorei seu trabalho. Estou pesquisando sobre o Tie Dye e Shibori. Estou aprendendo as técnicas para trabalhar na produção de camisetas para vender. Muito legal. Como os desenhos ficam com o efeito de quadrado? Abraços.

    12.30.12
    Reply
  46. Monica wrote:

    The new tie dye. I love it.

    1.31.13
    Reply
  47. Sasha Baker wrote:

    Having tried and failed to do arashi shibori last summer I am very impressed with your results, and feel ready to try again. Thanks.

    2.10.13
    Reply
  48. ggugu wrote:

    really nice and good idea.

    3.14.13
    Reply
  49. Paromita wrote:

    Very Good Site to know and learn about tie and Die Technique. Good stuff and learnt a lot from here . Thank you for posting this post. Looking forward to have more of it and keep reading it.

    Best Regards
    Paromita
    http://fashionstudio-urbanpurple.blogspot.com

    4.14.13
    Reply
  50. Nastasia wrote:

    I like it very much! 😀 😀 😀
    It is my favourite site.:)

    5.4.13
    Reply
  51. Peggy Lisa wrote:

    I actually get interrupted by those beautiful shrubs. 🙂

    5.16.13
    Reply
  52. I blog quite often and I seriously thank you for your information.
    Your article has really peaked my interest. I’m going to book mark your site and keep checking for new details about once a week. I opted in for your RSS feed as well.

    5.18.13
    Reply
  53. ila wrote:

    i used this post as a how-to to make my own shibori dye fabric. i made a pretty quilt out of it and just got it back from the quilter… couldn’t have done it without you. thanks for all the useful information!

    5.30.13
    Reply
  54. Awesome! What a great idea.. i like it.

    7.24.13
    Reply
  55. For Girls wrote:

    awesome effect !

    8.21.13
    Reply
  56. Summer wrote:

    Shibori. Didn’t know they have such a nice term for it. Did this skill started from Japan? They have such a long history! Nice info btw.

    8.28.13
    Reply
  57. karen steele wrote:

    wow I returned to uni today ready for year 2 of my textiles degree and until now was lacking inspiration and motivation for my print project until I came across this site, so shibori it will be for me. so thankyou honestlywtf.com

    9.16.13
    Reply
  58. blogshop wrote:

    love this tip to DIY the Shibori. So unique. I never saw the second one do it.

    9.29.13
    Reply
  59. Josephine wrote:

    Hello – this is absolutely wonderful! Just wondering if you might be able to post some images of the circle/Itajime shape-resist technique that Katie was referring to as I am head over heels for those dots!! thanks so much! Josie

    10.7.13
    Reply
  60. donna wrote:

    You dod an awesome job! just beautiful. Love you guys!!

    10.12.13
    Reply
  61. donna wrote:

    did 😉

    10.12.13
    Reply
  62. Nanette wrote:

    The white circles are made by folding fabric around canning lids and then binding them together. This colors the outside of the fabric and not what is bound with the canning jar lids.

    10.23.13
    Reply
  63. i really like the art and suclpture.

    11.5.13
    Reply
  64. Kristen wrote:

    this is so beautiful…now what with Urban Outfitter’s noodle collection selling blankets for hundreds of dollars, you could just make it at home! So excited to try this!

    1.20.14
    Reply
  65. Very interesting and excellent post you given to me.

    1.22.14
    Reply
  66. Realy amazing technique! Looks great!

    2.21.14
    Reply
  67. Faiz wrote:

    Nice…work

    3.4.14
    Reply
  68. Lady ID wrote:

    It’s cool how some cultures share things without (to my knowledge) actual contact. When I see those fabrics, I think of home, southwest Nigeria, Our indigo dyed fabric is called adire. I remember a class years in primary school where we were shown how to do the kumo technique and it was fun to see the results.

    I used some Yoruba adire to make this top http://www.peppermintandpaisley.com/2013/07/29/adire-peplum-top/

    3.10.14
    Reply
  69. Thanks so much for the article.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool.

    3.11.14
    Reply
  70. Angel wrote:

    Wondering what material you used for the 2nd 6th and 8th items across on the washing line? And where you got that material from? Cheers

    4.7.14
    Reply
  71. pathak wrote:
    4.22.14
    Reply
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    7.17.14
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  73. I constantly spent my half an hour to read this web site’s content every day along with a mug of coffee.

    10.12.14
    Reply
  74. Sewtwin wrote:

    I luv the shibori! The very 1st pic on the left, that has 3 layers of dye from white to blue. I don’t see a name for it? I love the wrinkled look, and varying colors.

    5.18.15
    Reply
  75. It’s cool how some cultures share things without (to my knowledge) actual contact. When I see those fabrics, I think of home, southwest Nigeria, Our indigo dyed fabric is called adire. I remember a class years in primary school where we were shown how to do the kumo technique and it was fun to see the results.

    8.6.15
    Reply
  76. Gday m8t wrote:

    Honestly wft how did you make this stuff I can’t afford the die. Sorry dye

    5.3.16
    Reply
  77. Wow !! Such a Great information on Shibori . As an Indian Girl i knew some thing today about this Japanese art . Thank you so much for such a nice information .

    Regards
    Amanda

    10.18.16
    Reply
  78. kabbik28 wrote:

    What a right that is right! Well, you described it, I like it!
    http://www.mayfair-escorts.net

    10.24.17
    Reply
  79. It looks very unusual! Have you tried to make the same T-shirts but in different colours? I mean like to mix more than two colours…? But the idea is truly great, my children will probably like doing this handmade at weekend.

    11.23.17
    Reply