Living

Dip & dye

Shibori is the Japanese art of binding and dying fabric to create patterns. Here we show you how.

You will need
Dylon Blue Jeans dye
Water
Salt
String
Wood blocks
Metal bucket
Rubber gloves
Fabric

1. Accordion-fold your fabric horizontally, into 8cm folds. Then fold your accordian-folded fabric in half, then in half again.

2. Place your wood blocks on either side of your folded fabric.

3. Wrap your string tightly around both fabric and blocks – the tighter you go, the less dye gets through. Tie the string off.

4. Make up your dye, following the instructions on the pack. Most dyes require added salt; this is a fixer and helps to keep the dye from running.

5. Pop your folded and tied fabric in the dye bath, wetting it first for a subtler result or putting it in dry to create more obvious lines.

6. Follow the instructions on the dye packet for the length of time the fabric should sit in the bath, then take it out and rinse until the water runs clear.

7. Dry in the shade to avoid the colour being affected by the sun.

8. Now you have your shibori fabric and are ready to make a cushion, some tea towels – or an ironing board cover like me!

Note: cotton, linen or other natural-fibre materials work best. Polyesters and mixed fabrics don’t take dye well and the result is a patchy or dull colour.

Words & photography Gem Adams