Shibori DIY Tutorial: Folding, Binding, and Wrapping Fabric
What exactly is Shibori? Shibori is a dying method that uses binding, folding, twisting, and compressing of fabric to make a pattern by resisting dye. It is a growing trend in the fashion industry with ancient roots. Shibori is a Japanese term that comes from the verb root "shiboru", meaning to wring, squeeze, and press. There are a variety of ways to manipulate the fabric for Shibori, and each way results in different designs and patterns. Shibori can be used with a wide variety of dyes, but is most often associated with Indigo. In this tutorial, we explore four different folding techniques using blocks, bands, and poles.
- wood blocks
- a 1-2" piece of PVC piping cut at a foot length
- 100% natural fiber cloths (cotton, silk, wool..)
Squares using Blocks
You can get a variety of shapes and designs using blocks. Today we focus on a simple geometric square.
Start by laying fabric on a flat surface. Fold fabric accordion style. For thinner blue lines, make smaller folds, for thicker blue lines, make larger folds.
Accordion fold the fabric the opposite way. Try to make the folds as even as possible for the most accurate squares.
Place a blocks on either side of the fabric. The more white fabric around the edges of the block, the more fabric that will be dyed. (think: tighter = whiter, looser = bluer).
Wrap rubber bands tightly around the blocks, or use clamps. The tighter the blocks are, the less dye will seep in, preserving the square shape. If you use bands, you may get small marks where the bands lay tight agains the fabric.
BINDING - the SPIDERWEB
You can achieve the spiderweb effect by using twine. The pattern can appear more 'electric' depending on the fabric and colors you use. Thinner fabric (such as sink) will produce sharper lines.
Lay fabric on a flat surface. Pinch the middle and raise fabric into the air. Move the hanging folds until they are equal on all sides.
Tie off the pinched area with twine or a rubber band. Start to tightly wrap twine around the cone shape starting from the top pinched area.
Continue wrapping twine all the way down the cone shape.
Tie off the twine at the bottom of the folds, or where you would like the pattern to end. Your fabric is ready to dye!
POLE WRAPPING - Stripes
Pole wapping techniques can be fun but a little tricky. We will pinpoint these issues so you get beautiful striations.
Start by securing one corner of the fabric to the top of the pole using a rubber band. For more even marks, you san being with an accordion fold.
Twist the fabric around the pole until you reach the very end, making sure it does not overlap and the folds are even.
Once you reach the bottom of the pole, scrunch the fabric to the top and continue wrapping.
Tie the loose ends using a rubber band.
pole wrapping - Chevron pattern
The Chevron pattern is a fun effect that is quite simple to achieve as well! This method starts just as the previous pole wrapping method did, with one corner tacked into the pole with a rubber band.
Tie one corner of your fabric to the pole using a rubber band. Space out the loose fabric into folds that are even.
Twist the fabric around itself in a circular motion making sure the twist has even folds and no solid areas of fabric are overlapping.
Wrap the twisted fabric around the pole.
Secure the opposite end of fabric to the pole using a rubber band.
Your are now ready to dye your fabric! Below is a brief overview of how your fabric may turn out. Not all patterns come out the same, and vary with how tight the twists are and what kids of fabrics you are using. A simple reminder we go by is 'tighter is whiter, looser is bluer. Thinner fabrics tend to have stronger patterns because they are capable of more folds and require less pressure to compress. Try a variety of fabrics and dyes using these techniques, and look for upcoming blogs on how to build on your existing shibori knowledge in blogs to come.