Shibori Indigo Dye DIY – Part 1



Indigo dyeing goes back in time as far as 5,000 BC. A timeless classic sourced naturally from plants, indigo is one of our favorite dyes, finding itself as a pillar in our Spring ’14 collection. Led by our Director of Product Development, Tiffani Williams, we decided to bring indigo home and learn some traditional japanese shibori dyeing techniques to make truly one-of-a-kind pieces.

The application of indigo in shibori dyeing is a fascinating craft. It requires delicacy, commitment and patience. There’s an intimacy between the cloth, binding elements and the precision of placement. A predetermined intention may produce a variety of unknown outcomes only to be discovered upon finality of the process. The desire to unfold the cloth and reveal is an extraordinary anticipation of results. – Tiffani Williams

What you’ll need for the dyeing process:

  • Pre-reduced indigo 20 gm
  • Thiox 150 gm
  • Soda ash 100 gm
  • Large pot
  • Medium pot
  • Gloves
  • Towels
  • Mixing Stick

Indigo Preparation: 


Step 1: pour thiox, soda ash and pre-reduced indigo into your pot

Step 2: heat 8 quarts of water until it is very warm but not boiling and pour into pot

Step 3: stir with your stirring stick

Step 4: cover and let set for 30 – 45 minutes

Dyeing Process:


Step 1: open your pot of indigo and remove the flower on the top. The flower is the layer of film that forms during the dye setting process.

Step 2: submerge whatever you are dyeing into the small pot of water

Step 3: submerge whatever you are dyeing into the indigo for several minutes. Lightly massage the indigo into your item so that it absorbs into all of the sections you would like it to. Don’t let your fabric sit on the bottom of the pot as there are particles that have settled and will create unevenness.

Step 4: remove dyed product from indigo

Step 5: remove any rubberbands, rocks, etc that were used for dyeing

Step 6: hang dry and allow all items to oxidize and dry

Note: the indigo liquid is actually a bright green. The fabric will turn more blue as you allow it to oxidize. If you are going for a dark indigo color, allow fabric to oxidize for 20 – 30 minutes and re-submerge in the indigo for a second time.

1) Arashi Shibori: Pole Dyeing Method


Step 1: fold the scarf in half twice

Step 2: place thick wood stick at the bottom edge of the scarf

Step 3: roll loosely with ease around a thick wood stick

Step 4: scrunch the fabric down as far on the stick as you can

Step 5: rubber band tightly 5 times, this causes randomness in the pattern once dyed

2) Kumo Shibori: Binding Found Objects



Step 1: lay out scarf and spread wooden beads in the pattern you prefer the white to show through the dye

Step 2: measure distances between the beads and mark on the scarf with a pencil

Step 3: wrap each bead individually with a rubber band

Step 4: repeat on the second site

3) Itajime Shibori: Pleated Effect




Step 1: pleat the scarf back and forth and iron as you go

Step 2: create accordion affect with the scarf

Step 3: fold the scarf in 3

Step 4: rubber band 3 times to make the lines

For more shibori techniques using t-shirts and yarn view part 2

Written by: Tiffani Williams & Kate Koeller

Concepts by: Tiffani Williams

Photos by: Andrew Lee

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