Make: Shibori Napkins

With one week to go, I am completely slammed with wedding related preparation and haven’t had much time for home related projects. I have a few (ok well at least 5) DIY projects on the ‘to do’ list and one involved indigo dying so I decided to do a test run the other day. The result? Some cute, simple shibori napkins!

triangle accordion fold shibori

Using a simple Triangle Accordion Fold, I folded my 100% cotton napkins. I watched this simple tutorial on Design*Sponge. Helpful hints? The fabric needs to be slightly wet to dye it so why not throw a whites load in while you prepare the dye bath? Way simpler and evenly moistens the fabric. After preparing my dye bath outdoors (it goes everywhere!), I put down an old plastic shower curtain to protect the stones. Folded up my fabric and got ready to dye.

dying napkins with indigo dye

After dipping the napkins for 10 minutes, I dipped them a second time for a few extra minutes. So glad I did.

drying shibori napkinsSo vibrant! This is while they were setting – they start out green then as they oxidize, they turn blue. So cool… letting them dry and washing them, they turn a much more subtle shade of indigo.

shibori napkins DIY tutorial

Sadly, when folded, you can’t see the beautiful pattern as well (isn’t that ironic?), guess I will never be folding my napkins.

shibori napkins DIY tutorial

This was only my first wack at shibori dying, but I already feel like I learned from my mistakes. Here are my tips:

tips for shibori dyeing

There are tons of tutorials online so I am not going to bother going into details about shibori dyeing. One helpful tip to those in Toronto? G&S Dye sells everything you need at reasonable prices and has a storefront at Dundas & University so no delivery fees if you live downtown. Way cheaper than buying an expensive kit online. Definitely the spot to get shibori related products in Toronto.

Shibori dyed napkins make your own

And in case you are looking for detailed, specific instructions for making the indigo dye bath (which are somehow hard to locate), here is what I did with precise measurements of ingredients.

  1. Pre-wash fabric with concentrated non-ionic soaping agent. Don’t dry it!
  2. Get ready to make your dye bath. Grab a bucket or container, preferably plastic that has a lid. Gloves, tongs and heat water to about 20-24 degrees C.
  3. Mix the following dye ingredients in about 3-5 liters of water
    • 20gm pre-reduced indigo
    • 80gm thioureadioxide
    • 100gm sodium carbonate (also known as washing soda)
  4. Let foam settle and then remove foam with a large spoon
  5. Prepare fabric in the different Shibori folding methods (tie, fold, bind, wrap) and dip into the dye bath. I let my fabrics stay submerged for 10 minutes or so. I also used a stick to keep the fabric bundles submerged under the water to ensure even distribution of the dye over the cloth.
  6. Sometimes you may want to double dip a fabric (as I did with my napkins)
  7. Remove fabric bundles and hang to dry. This is when the air hits the fabric and causes the fabric to go from green to indigo (oxidizes).
  8. After dyeing, I processed my fabric with Raycafix, a dye fixative.
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