Shibori is the centuries-old Japanese technique of binding, wrapping, and dying fabric. Traditionally, it was done with indigo and I'm hoping to try that method some day but sometimes a mama needs a short cut, am I right? I decided I'd see if I could utilize shibori binding but with a packaged blue dye instead.
My first round included this same Tulip brand XL bottle but it was labeled blue instead of turquoise. I wanted to see if there was a big difference in the final color so I've shared both.
Another technique is using something to create much more negative space throughout the folds. I chose a rock instead of a wood block because I had easier access to it and placed one on both the front and back of this folded cloth. I then added all of my rubber bands to secure it. The idea is that the dye won't bleed through the whole cloth because of the pressure from the rock (or block) but will be the strongest and most vivid along the fold lines.
I practiced folding and rolling the rest of my cloth and binding them all with more rubberbands as shown below.
Once I was finished folding and binding I placed my fabric on a large piece of cardboard outside. A trash bag or cheap shower liner would also work. The instructions on some dyes say they are only vibrant for the first 45 minutes so I made sure I had everything set up before I added water to my bottle full of dye and soda ash. I shook it until it had all dissolved and then started applying my dye.
Here's where I learned my first lesson. I saturated my bound cloth a bit too much to get the desired effect of strong patterns. I was eager!!! This tie-dye method is different from an indigo dye bath in that dye baths allow for unbinding the fabric within 20-30 minutes but tie-dye instructions usually call for them to be left for six to eight hours to fully penetrate and leave a vivid color.
I waited a full six hours before unwrapping mine to rinse and the majority of my smaller pieces were fully aqua with some darker markings along the folds but very little white. My larger piece ended up looking like a swimming pool design because I used both the turquoise and blue dyes. I was expecting some stronger contrasts but I'm still happy with how the largest one turned out.
Next, I used the darker blue on a large piece of off-white Kona cotton fabric after folding it up and binding it with rubberbands. I had two large items to dye using this bottle so I used a bit less on each one.
Ruby helped me with the above job and wasn't as generous with the dye. In the end this meant a much more interesting pattern because of all of the white she left. Good job, Ruby!
After using up all of my dye I stuck them in ziplock bags but you can also use cling wrap. It keeps the dye from drying up on the cotton before being rinsed. It will crack and lose vibrancy, apparently. I let them sit for six hours and then rinsed them out in my sink until the warm water mostly ran clear. Then I ran them all in a hot water wash to help the dye set.
I'm curious to see what would happen with the tie-dye if I unwrapped and rinsed it after about 30 minutes. It may not be as vibrant since it's designed to sit for a few hours. I'm thinking the better method is to just use less dye so that there are visibe white spaces and then see what kind of patterns you get depending on the fold you use.
This is the large Kona cotton fabric that Ruby helped me with. I love it and am hoping to use it to help decorate for Sebastian's birthday celebration at our house on the 4th of July. Then I may make something special out of it like a baby blanket or a skirt. The very first image is a vintage linen table cloth that had a stain on it and was faded. Some of the light green is still evident where it's not dyed but I love the way it took to the linen.
As soon as I track down some more of the Tulip brand Blue dye I'm going to try another cut of cotton cloth in the fan fold or something that gives me a window pane effect. I'm obsessed with the more graphic nature of that process as opposed to the swirly effect of a lot of tie-dyed pieces. I couldn't sleep the other night so I scanned #shibori on Instagram and was inspired by the workshops and the detailed pieces that are bound together with stitches.
I love learning about new mediums, don't you? Especially those that have been around for centuries.
Have you tried shibori? How'd yours turn out?