We are a little obsessed with the indigo dye or shibori look… for everything. A few weeks ago we hosted a Craft Night in Crested Butte with a few of Melissa’s friends. We had a backyard, indigo dye kit, buckets, dying materials, tons of natural fabric and bug spray. We had so much fun that Melissa and her girlfriends are doing it again this week!
Indigo is a natural dye and an easy way to create resist patterns on fabric. We used a Japanese dyeing technique called shibori. We will be sharing our favorite shibori techniques and finished products in an Indigo Dye Series. To kick this off, we will show you how to make an indigo dyed summer scarf using the Itajime shibori technique.
Read more after the jump…
A few tips prior to dyeing – read the pamphlet that comes with the kit. It is full of valuable information! The more you know going into it, the easier it will be. Make sure the fabric you are using is 100% natural. The indigo dye will not dye anything other than 100% natural fibers!
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.
Step 3: Cut the 2 yards of gauze fabric in half length wise. You want the scarf to be long. You can hem the edges of the fabric if you desire – we did not. Fold the fabric like an accordion (long way). Fold it again the other direction using the same technique.
Step 4: Now you will have a box 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.
Step 5: Next, 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.
Step 6: 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.
Step 7. Wash in cold and tumble dry.
Step 8. Now you have an amazing handmade summer scarf!
More indigo dye instructions here.
We are excited to share our next indigo dye project with you soon. Stay tuned!
all photos by Melissa Fenlon for alice & lois design studios. all rights reserved.