Okay, guys. I was totally scared of the whole indigo shibori dye trend because it just seems like it’s too hard, right? Then I tried it and got totally hooked. Seriously. I was supposed to make one project with this stuff; I made four. I just couldn’t stop! Once you get going, I promise you’ll want to dye everything in sight. These kitchen towels are a nice, non-threatening place to start.
- Plain white flour sack towels
- Indigo dye kit — I love this one
- 5-gallon bucket
- Aluminum foil
- Stirring stick
- Waterproof drop cloth
Make Time: 2 Hours (plus wait and drying time)
Spread a dropcloth over your work area (cutting open a plastic trash bag works perfectly). Fill the bucket with about 4 gallons of warm water. Put on the rubber gloves included in your kit.
Slowly empty the contents of the dye packet and reducing agents into the water and stir gently. Be sure to read the instructions in your particular kit and follow them carefully for best results. Continue stirring slowly in one direction until the dye is dissolved.
Cover the bucket with aluminum foil and allow to sit for about an hour.
Fold your towels in a few different ways and use rubber bands to create patterns with the dye. Your kit should have some suggestions as well. We experimented with one folded flag-style in triangles, one gathered at the center and looped with lots of rubber bands (makes a starburst pattern!), and one just dipped on a single side.
Remove the foil from the bucket. If there is debris floating on the top of the dye, move it to the side or scoop it out. Slowly and gently submerge the portion of your fabric that you’d like dyed (be sure you’re still wearing gloves!). Leave submerged and gently move the fabric around for 1-4 minutes, not letting it touch the bottom of the bucket. I found that the indigo looks much darker when wet, so if you’d like a nice dark color leave it in for a bit longer.
As you are pulling the tote out of the dye, gently squeeze to wring out extra dye liquid. Cover the dye vat again.
Set the dyed pieces out for 20 minutes and watch as the color changes from green to blue. If you’d like the pieces darker, repeat the dipping process. If not, rinse the pieces under cool water, squeeze them out, remove rubber bands, and unfold to see your design. To dispose of the indigo dye, carefully pour down the drain and rinse your tools with a mild cleanser.
I put my towels through a cool laundry cycle to ensure that all the excess dye was gone. After that they were good to go! These things are so rad I almost can’t stand to use them as kitchen towels — they’d be perfect as a wall hanging or something fun like that! I dare you to try this and not want to make a zillion more shibori pieces! Stay tuned for a few more indigo projects, coming up soon. xoxo