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Rit Dye

By Rit Dye Team

May 17, 2017

Project Description

Shibori is a Japanese dyeing technique that typically involves folding, twisting or bunching cloth and binding it, then dyeing it in indigo. We call it a fancy version of tie-dye! The Itajime style is the most classic shibori look - one that most people think of when they hear the word "shibori." Learn how to achieve this look below!


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Prep, dyeing & Rinse time: About 2 hours

Rit Products Used


You'll Also Need

  •   2 Wood Blocks

  •   4 Gallon Pot

  •   Dishwashing Liquid

  •   Large Metal Spoon

  •   Paper Towels

  •   Rubber Bands

  •   Salt

Step By Step

  1. Gather supplies.

  2. Pre-wash fabric with detergent, rinse and leave wet.

  3. To create a traditional Itajime pattern, accordion fold or “fan fold” the fabric in 4 ½” wide folds down the length of the fabric. This will form a long rectangle. For more pattern variations, vary the size and width of the folds.

  4. Accordion fold or “fan fold” the long rectangle into a 4 ½” fabric square.

  5. Sandwich the fabric square between the 4” blocks of wood.

  6. Secure “sandwich” with rubber bands to tightly hold the fabric square together.

  7. Fill large dye container with 3 gallons very hot water tap water (140F). If water is not hot enough, heat some water in a cook pot or teapot.

  8. For cotton fabrics, add 1 cup of salt to dyebath. This helps to intensify the color.

  9. Add a squirt of liquid dish detergent.

  10. Stir well.

  11. Shake dye bottles. Wearing rubber gloves, add ½ cup Denim Blue dye.

  12. Add approximately 2 tablespoons of Navy dye.

  13. Stir well.

  14. Test dye color by dipping a paper towel into the dyebath. If color is too light, add more dye (add more Navy for a darker blue); if color is too dark, add more water.

  15. Immerse fabric “sandwich” bundle into the dyebath. For a high contrast pattern, keep the bundle in the dye for about 3 to 5 minutes to keep the bound-up part dye-free. For more color and less white areas, let the square set in the dyebath for 10 to 20 minutes.

  16. When desired color is achieved, remove the fabric bundle from the dyebath. Squeeze out excess dye. Do not remove wood blocks.

  17. To enhance the color and reduce color bleeding, use Rit ColorStay Dye Fixative immediately after dyeing and before washing. Add four tablespoons of ColorStay Dye Fixative to there gallons of hot water.

  18. Stir well.

  19. Place dyed fabric “sandwich” bundle into the bath.

  20. Rinse fabric "sandwich" in cool water until rinse water begins to run clear. Carefully remove wood blocks and rubber bands; unfold the fabric. Wash the fabric in warm water with mild detergent by hand or in your washing machine with an old towel, rinse and dry.

  21. Enjoy!




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