Shibori Tie Dye Craft

Shibori Tie Dye – 12 Easy Patterns

Shibori Tie Dye Craft

Shibori Tie dye is the Japanese art of dying fabric.  It involves twisting, scrunching, folding and tying or binding the cloth, which is then dipped in dye – usually indigo. Where the cloth has been bound or tied, the dye resists the cloth, creating blue and white patterns.

Indigo is my current favourite colour, so I have a load of projects ready to go using this technique. My first project is to make 12 different napkins.  The patterns and permutations are infinite, so I tried a variety of scrunches and folds and household objects to see the effect. 
Shibori Tie Dye Craft

My craft technique isn’t authentic shibori tye die – more an homage to, or inspired by! Anyway its easy and very addictive.


  • Cloth (I used cheap linen napkin blanks). You need to use natural fibres, as synthetics will resist the dye.
  • Indigo dye
  • Rubber bands, bulldog clips and or string.
  • Thick Card or wooden blocks
  • Salt

You will also need a large bucket. Tongs and or plastic gloves will also help avoid blue fingers for days after.


First fold and scrunch the cloth in whatever pattern you choose.  I’ve details the various folds that we used and the effect they create at the foot of the post.  Abbi and I made it up as we went along, and used what we could find to secure the cloth.  The bands were from her loom band craft kit, which worked well on small pieces of cloth, but were less effective on larger gathers.

Next mix up the dye according to the instructions.  Unfortunately we didn’t read the instructions properly and under diluted our mix. The cloth ended up darker than I had anticipated, but it wasn’t a disaster.

Tie Dying CraftIf you can, do this outside, as it can get quite messy.  The dye stains everything, so if you haven’t got an outdoor space, place lots of newspaper down and wear old clothes that wont be ruined.  Definitely not a craft for white jeans!

Soak the cloth pieces in the dye for 10 minutes. The amount of dye that soaks through depends upon the tightness of the cloth packets, the strength of the dye and the time left in.  Experiment to get the effect you want.  Kitchen tongs are a great to make sure you don’t have blue fingers for 3 days.
Instructions for Shibori Tie Dye

Remove the bands and clips, and leave the cloth to dry.

Here are our 12 Shibori Tie Dye Patterns.Shibori Tie dye

1. Shibori Tie Dye – Pattern 1

First fold length ways, then concertina into a square.  Add thick cardboard and secure in place with bands or bulldog clips. The bands I used were loom bandz, and aren’t really strong enough for this fold. Also – I had prepped this napkin for a wax crayon resist dye craft last year (woops) You can just see the word “floor” in the middle.  At least I know the wax crayon resist craft works!

Shibori Tie Dye Patterns

2. Shibori Tie Dye – Pattern 2

Quarter the napkin length ways, and pinch little clumps into the bands.  This is my favourite pattern effect.

Shibori Patterns

3. Shibori Tie Dye – Pattern 3

Roll the cloth diagonally, and fold in half, scrunch bands into the long strips.

Shibori Tie Dye

4. Shibori Tie Dye – Pattern 4

First fold the cloth back on itself. Turn 90 degrees and do the same, before banding up the corners and the middle.  This had a similar effect to No 2.

Shibori Crafts

5. Shibori Tie Dye – Pattern 5

Fold into a long strip, then concertina diagonally.  Use bands on the corner points.


6. Shibori Tie Dye – Pattern 6

Roll diagonally along the fabric and scrunch with bands.

Japanese Shibori Tie Dye

7. Shibori Tie Dye – Pattern 7

Consertina fold the cloth diagonally.  Not shown – but then concertina fold and secure with a bulldog clip.


8. Shibori Tie Dye – Pattern 8

Knot the fabric on each corner, like an old fashioned knotted hanky.

Shibori Tie Dye9. Shibori Tie Dye – Pattern 9

Fold the cloth diagonally in half, and roll up like a croissant.  Tie a knot in each of the longer ends, and band up the middle flap of fabric.

Shibori Tie Dye Craft

10. Shibori Tie Dye – Pattern 10

Another of my favourites. Fold the napkin in half, then consertina into a fan shape, securing in place with bulldog clips.Shibori Tie Dye

11. Shibori Tie Dye – Pattern 11

Knots in each corner, like with pattern 8, but pull the knots right in to the middle.


12. Shibori Tie Dye – Pattern 12

And finally – consertina fold the napkin before bunching up with bands.


These are clearly not an exhaustive list – We used the equipment we had at home mainly the loom bandz and bulldog clips – and in hindsight the bands weren’t really strong enough to give the effect I was looking for.  For future projects, I’ll use more thick card or wooden blocks, and stronger rubber bands.

Despite the limitations, and mistakes I’m generally pretty happy with how these turned out.


Once all the napkins are dyed, hang out to dry.  Instructions for Shibori These matched beautifully with some handprinted plates I made.Napkin ideas Home made napkins Beautiful table Settings













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