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The Guilty Crafter's Dye-I-Y studio

By Angela Daniels

February 9, 2017

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Project Description

Shibori dyeing pillow covers is my favorite way to update my home decor. They are so incredibly easy to do but they look sophisticated and much more challenging than they are. I found some great velvet pillow covers at H & M for a steal- I love how the velvet texture steps up the traditional shibori look.


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Prep, dyeing & Rinse time: About 1 hour

Rit Products Used


You'll Also Need

  •   Pillow covers

  •    office clips

  •   bucket

  •   latex gloves

  •   measuring cup

  •   large metal spoon

Step By Step

  1. Getting a classic indigo color with Rit dye is pretty easy. You simply choose your favorite shade of blue (I'm using Evening Blue here but Royal, Denim and even Purple look great).

  2. Add in a splash of Black Rit dye to darken the blue.

  3. Add really hot water and mix well. The amount of dye and water you use vary depending upon the size and weight of your project. Any liquid dye you don't use can stay in the bottle. Just cap the bottle tightly and store- the dye can be used again for a future project.

  4. To get the traditional shibori look, folding tightly is key. Make sure to wash any fabric before you dye (this eliminates any finishes that may get in the way of the dye and fabric), no need to dry- fabric dyes most evenly when it's still wet. For this folding pattern, I did a simple "fan fold" down the length of the pillow. Vary the size and width of your folds to get more pattern variations. You can even fold into triangle shapes for a different look.

  5. After I had my fan fold going down the length of the pillow, I folded it width-wise so I ended up with a perfect square of fabric.

  6. You want to secure the folds tightly- the folds are the parts of your design that dye will have a harder time getting to your fabric which creates the white space in shibori design. For a more contemporary technique, I secured my pillow cover with binder clips from my office. You can also use clamps and wood blocks which is more traditional but even tight rubber bands would work.

  7. Next, dip your pillow cover into your dye bath. It can sit in the dye bath anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes (longer time equals darker dye results). When you achieve the color you are going for, remove the pillow cover and rinse it in cool, running water to remove any excess dye that didn't work it's way into the fabric fibers. Undo all of the clips and rinse again until water runs almost clear of dye. Your last step is to wash the pillow cover with like colors or an old towel to make sure all traces of excess dye are gone. Dry and enjoy! Pro-tip- Using Rit Color Fixative right after dyeing and before rinsing really keeps your colors vibrant and keep that color bright for a long time. I use it for all of my home decor projects.

  8. Add in your pillow insert and you are done and ready to enjoy your new pillow.




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