DIY Shibori Tie-Dye Tutorial

When I was in the third grade, I had an awesome Shibori tie-dye shirt. I LOVED it. I know, it’s not healthy to love material things, but wearing that shirt made nine-year-old me feel great. I would share a picture with you, but somehow I never got a picture captured of the shirt in all its glory. As old Rose from Titanic would say, “[it] only exists in my memory.”

I’ve tried finding another shirt look it, but none compare to the memory I have of the shirt. By this point I’ve realized the shirt probably really wasn’t as cool as I remember it, never the less, I want another one!

Instead of buying one, I decided to try and make a tie-dye shirt myself. Before I could do that though, I had to know what exactly what it was I was wanting to make. This shirt wasn’t multi-colored: it was a beautiful indigo blue with what seemed like a controlled pattern—not something you expect to see in tie-dye shirt.

I learned that the type of tie-dye pattern I fancied was termed Shibori. Shibori tie-dye is a Japanese dyeing technique that requires the folding, gathering, twisting and binding of material, then dyeing the material in indigo.

If that sounds like an easy thing to do, that’s because it is…and it isn’t. I had never tie-dyed anything before and had assumed it was a complicated process. Though I didn’t get the Shibori pattern I was looking for, I was still happy with the shirt’s outcome.

Now that I’m done blathering, it’s time to share the tutorial!

Materials Used:

White t-shirt

Rubber gloves

Plastic garbage bag 2x

Rubber bands

Shibori tulip tube (You can make this yourself with PVC pipe)

Indigo dye

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How-To:

 Step 1: Wet the shirt. Do not soak the shirt, just wet it enough to where it’s damp. Roll the white t-shirt around the tub, starting at the hem.

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Bunch up the shirt around the tube. Make the bunching irregular. Wrap the rubber bands around the shirt to keep it fastened (bizarre word choice) to the tube. Set the wrapped tube on a plastic bag or tarp so as not to spill dye on your desk, floor or other workstation.

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Step 2: The indigo dye you have may be ready to go or, like me, you may have to combine indigo powder with water.

Before applying the indigo, make sure you put on your rubber gloves because this dye STAINS. On a side note, the dye also stinks, just a warning.

Step 3: Carefully spray (or drip) the dye on the t-shirt.

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Turn the tube around and apply the dye until it has been applied on all sides.

Step 4: Wrap the dyed shirt in a second plastic bag and close it up. Keep the dyed shirt in the bag for 5-8 hours.

Step 5: Remove the shirt from the bag and from around the tube. Rinse the shirt thoroughly and hand to dry. To make sure excess dye has been removed, run it through the wash by itself. Hang and let dry.

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Here is my shirt! I prefer the back of the top to the front, but overall, I’m happy with how the project turned out! I’m planning on making some Shibori shirts for my friends as gifts!

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