Indigo Shibori Dyeing
We had a little fun this past week-end and tried something new….
My daughter asked me to purchase a Indigo Dye Kit* for her birthday.
She wanted to use it when she came home. (I’m always up for trying something different.)
Shibori is a Japanese term for methods of dyeing cloth. Similar to tie-dyeing you create patterns 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.
The kit came with everything we would need:
- Soda Ash
- Pre-reduced Indigo
- Rubber Gloves
- Rubber Bands
- Acrylic Plates
- Great Instructions
Everything except a very large bucket and items to dye.
It said right on the front of the box…”no chemistry degree needed”.
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My daughter had purchased a few new items to dye and we quickly added other items like…
pillowcases, old doilies, vintage linens, old jeans and other miscellaneous items.
The kit comes with great instructions on how to mix the Thiox, Indigo and Soda Ash with water.
It is recommended to use a 5 gallon bucket with lid.
After everything is mixed cover the bucket tightly with the lid and let it rest for one hour.
When you are ready to start dyeing, remove the cover.
The liquid will be a greenish-yellow in color and you will see a cluster of bubbles called
“the flower” and a film on top. (It will have a smell, that’s normal, they said)
Carefully scoop out the bubbles “the flower” and set aside with a little of the dye liquid.
The instructions say that you can put “the flower” back in the bucket after your done
dyeing to keep the dye bucket going for future dye projects. (hmmm.)
The dye can be used for several dye sessions if carefully stored.
It’s always a good idea to pre-wash new items with a mild detergent.
We used several different twisting and rubber banding techniques on the fabric.
FYI…The dye reacts best if your item is wet first.
When you lift your item out of the dye mixture it will be a yellow greenish color.
As the air hits the dyed item, the indigo will gradually oxidize and the dyed item will turn blue.
The longer the item is in the dye, the darker it becomes once it hits the air.
They suggest ringing the item and letting it sit for 15 minutes and then re-dipping the item
in the dye for deeper hues.
Creating a Wax Resist
My daughter and her husband created dots on their shoes by using melted wax and the end
of a paintbrush. (We kept the melted wax hot in a old mini crock pot.)
The melted wax creates a resist that will repel the dye.
They covered the souls of the shoes with removable painters tape to protect it from the dye.
A large brush was used to paint the dye on the shoes instead of dipping them.
Once dyed…we hung the items on a clothesline tied between two trees in the front yard.
My husband said it looked real classy. I thought it looked beautiful.
We left them hanging overnight as they need 24-48 hours to dry and oxidize.
As with a lot of new techniques…there is a little bit of a learning curve.
We were pleased with the results and can’t wait until she’s home again to dye some more.