Indigo dyed napkins


- Airtight container with lid (i.e. white plastic bucket from a hardware store) or a stainless steel pot
Indigo dye kit from art supply store
- Fabric for dyeing (we used cloth/cotton napkins, make sure they aren't treated to be stain or water resistant)
- A tub to rinse out the dye from the fabrics
- An area to let the pieces dry
- A stirring rod (we used a wooden dowel)
- Apron to protect your clothes
- Rubber gloves to keep from staining your hands 

Prepare the dye as directed on the box (will take at least an hour for the dye to prepare before you start dyeing!)

Dip each piece one at a time and gently manipulate it to make sure the dye distributes evenly. The piece will be bright green when you remove it and as the oxygen hits the dye it will turn indigo. You may need to turn the piece to make sure oxygen reaches all sides before rinsing. You can leave the dye sitting on the piece longer or repeat the dipping for a deeper indigo color. For removing the bindings scissors may make things a little easier. After rinsing you'll still want to wash all of your finished pieces (with each other is fine, but don't toss in any of your non shibori pieces!) in a washing machine to make the likeliness of the dye transferring to other fabrics less, and to make your napkins ready to use for your guests!

You can also try out different kinds of dyes for different colors and there are many other styles of shibori you can try as well!  

You can also try out different kinds of dyes for different colors and there are many other styles of shibori you can try as well!

Method 1 - Ne-Maki Shibori
-river pebbles (collected or found at a craft store)
-rubber bands (we found the thick bands to work best)
-fabric for dyeing

Wrap the pebbles in the fabric and fasten the rubber bands around the pebbles. Dip the fabric in the dye, repeating if a darker color is desired.

Method two - Itajime Shibori

-two pieces of scrap wood (purchased from a craft store in our case)
-C-clamp (found at a local hardware store)

-accordion fold fabric and then fold into thirds, then place between two pieces of wood.
-use one or two c clamps (can be found at a local hardware store) to secure the fabric between the pieces of wood (be careful not to tighten too much or the wood might break).

Method three - Arashi Shibori

-wooden dowel, pvc pipe, or another long circular object to bind the fabric around
-thick hemp twine

-wrap the fabric around the dowel or pipe and bind the fabric around the pole using the twine. We used glove hands to pour dye on the portions of the fabric that were too high to reach the dye. The result is said to look like falling rain.

Method Four - (also Itajime Shibori)

-popsicle sticks
-rubber bands

-Fold fabric into thirds (like folding a letter to go into a business sized envelope), then fold it into triangles starting at one corner and folding the triangles onto themselves. Once the piece is folded, bind the sides between popsicle sticks, two on each side, held in place with rubber bands.


Project created by Kelly Cummings of Spindle Photography