Our Indigo Dye Series continues this week with some of my faves, Indigo Dish Towels. This project was so fun! We used 100 percent cotton flour sack dish towels to showcase some amazing shibori techniques. We kicked off this series last month with our indigo dye scarf that came out beautifully. Next we showed you how to use your indigo dyed textiles to create one-of-a-kind pillows.
Indigo is such a beautiful color. It’s fair to say I am still obsessed with blue and white. Indigo is a natural dye and an easy way to create resist patterns on fabric.
Read more for the full tutorial.
Supplies: Indigo Dye Kit // Flour Sack Dish Towels // 2- 5 gallon buckets // rubber bands // wood blocks or tiles // rubber gloves // drop cloth or trash bags // scissors // paint stick // PVC pipe // twine
Step 1: Following the kit instructions, fill the bucket with warm water and mix in the dye, stir in a circular motion.
Step 2: Next add the soda ash and reduction agent. Stir slowly in one direction and continue slowly in the other direction. You will start to notice a foamy top. You can remove this “flower” to save and reuse later with the dye. Your dye will look neon green. Next cover the bucket (to prevent oxidation) and wait 30 minutes. The longer you wait, the darker the dye will be. We waited 45 minutes.
For the dish towel on the left, we used the Arashi shibori method. Wrap your dish towel at an angle around a PVC pipe or pole. Tie twine around the entire length. Next, push the fabric down towards the bottom of the pipe. See the full tutorial here.
For the next dish towel, we used a simple rubber band tie dye technique to attain a striped look. Simply gather the fabric and tie together with a rubber band. We did four stripes about two inches apart.
For the bottom left dish towel from the left, we used the Arashi shibori technique again.
The final dish towel on the bottom right was made using the classic shibori technique doing the accordion fold. Fold the fabric like an accordion (long way). Fold it again the other direction using the same technique. Now you will have a square or rectangle shape. Take two wood pieces or tiles and place on the top and bottom of fabric. Bind the fabric between the wood with rubber bands. The bigger your wood/tiles and the more rubber bands you use, the more white you will end up with. See the full tutorial here.
Once your shibori techniques are done, all rubber banded and clipped, dunk the fabric in water and ring out, it should be completely wet prior to dyeing. Wearing rubber gloves, submerge the fabric into the dye bucket. Hold and massage the fabric under the dye (without touching the bottom of the bucket) for 3 to 5 minutes.
Remove the fabric from the dye. The fabric will look green, not indigo. Let rest and oxidize. You will see the magic happen – from green to indigo! Once oxidized, you can repeat the dyeing process for a deeper, darker indigo color. We repeated a second time. Remove the rubber bands and wood/tiles and lay flat for the full oxidization.