Just crickets around here, but I've been going over old territory lately, cooking things I've already shared and making a ridiculous number of paper flowers, which you've also heard enough about even if I'm hopelessly, hopelessly obsessed. I've even had to pack up my supplies until I've met my work deadlines. They're just too much of a temptation.
But I can never fully abandon new projects, especially when I'm supposed to be working, so I finally broke out my indigo tie dye kit, rounded up all the tutorials I'd pinned on Pinterest, and gave Shibori 101 a go. I'm so glad I did! It was easy and a whole lot of fun (and a great way to procrastinate when you're struggling to get into the Christmas spirit in June).
For my first effort, I tried hard to just let go, keep it loose, and see what happened - which was exactly what I needed creatively. I'm sure on my second round that I'll get more particular with my folding and placement, but that's one of the things I like about Shibori so much - the option to be either precise or imperfect, yet still achieve something interesting either way.
If you haven't tried it yet, it's a great summer activity and certainly a trendy one at that. It's also economical and a good excuse to get your girlfriends together for an afternoon. Here are some of the tutorials from my Pinterest boards as well as a few of my observations along the way:
1. You can follow any of the tutorials for folding and get an approximation of that design. If precision is really important to you, you'll do better by ironing your folds flat and making sure that each layer is exactly the same size, meaning that an equal amount of fabric will be exposed to the dye in each layer. if you're less precise in your folding, you'll find greater concentrations of dye in some areas and less in others, making for more of an organic design.
2. If you buy a tie dye kit, it comes with small pieces of wood and rubber bands. But you can buy additional pieces of balsa wood from craft or hardware stores and cut your own pieces. This will increase the range of patterns you can make and allow you to fold multiple pieces at once. Also, use what you have on hand. Binder clips, clamps, rubber balls, marbles, etc. All will lend themselves to interesting patterns.
3. When you're dyeing your pieces of fabric, do one piece at a time and don't let it settle to the bottom of the dye vat. Instead, hold the fabric just under the surface of the dye (you don't want to create splashing, which will introduce oxygen to the dye vat and shorten its lifespan) and gently manipulate it with your hands so that the dye gets to all exposed areas of the fabric.
4. I dyed my pieces anywhere from 3-7 minutes, with 5 minutes being my most used time.
5. Heat set your dry, dyed fabric pieces with a warm iron, then wash them in cool water with a mild detergent such as Woolite. Conversely, if a piece turns out darker than you wanted, wash it with a mild detergent before you heat set it. This will cause a bit of fading. Another note about color - the wet shade of the dye will be much darker than it is when dry.
6. Make sure you use gloves (and I suggest long ones) and that there are no holes in them. I can tell you from personal experience that it takes about 3-4 days to remove indigo dye from skin and seems to be permanent on nails (judging from my single nail that was dyed a week ago).
7. Lastly, you need to use natural fiber fabrics for this, cotton being the most popular option. But I loved the technique on linen. Buy some to experiment with after you feel comfortable with the process. Gray Line Linen has economical, nice quality linen in a variety of weights and is available by mail order if you're not in the NYC area.
DIY Shibori from Honestly WTF
DIY Shibori Designs 4 Ways from Design Sponge
Hand Dye Coordination from Kinfolk
Make It Happen: A Shibori DIY from Anthropologie
Indigo Tea Towels from Francois et moi
Itajime Shibori Process from Kaizen Journey