Shibori Bedding DIY

I have spent many a research session eyeing up various Shibori projects online and given that our bedding has been in need of a facelift for a really long time, it was long overdue for an Indigo Shibori session!

After checking out a lot of different tutorials Honestly WTF has to be the best one, confirmed by it’s position at the top of Google! I purchased this Indigo Dye Kit from Dharma Trading which included everything you need from the gloves to the wooden blocks.


After much discussion (because this time my dyeing was going to affect two of us) we decided to do a simple accordion fold for the duvet cover, the Itajime technique for the pillow cases and the good old traditional binding technique for the sheet. I fancied some eclectic bedding for a change. See the pictures below:

Be warned, you will most likely get indigo everywhere so wear old clothes and keep bleach to hand for the surfaces, hence why I used the bath tub.

Boring old bedding
Accordion folded and then bound with elastic bands
I added more elastic bands in between but the thin ones don’t resist the dye quite as well
Itajime Technique
Traditional Binding Technique- I decided to to start my circle in the bottom right hand side of the sheet, not the middle. You grab a handful and start binding in equally spaced sections all the way down the sheet, because I didn’t start this in the middle, the shape looked like this
My indigo bath, covered with foil to prevent oxidization- crucial to keeping the colour. During the harvest of the plant the oxygen is removed to give it the magical indigo hue. When first mixing the dye, chemicals and water, you stir in a circular motion and then leave for ideally an hour. When you return there will be a pile of foam on top and the top film will have a metallic, petrol like appearance. Below the surface the liquid should be a hue of yellow/ green. Remove the foam or “flower” as it is sweetly called in the instructions and set aside, if you want to preserve the dye bath you will need to return the flower to it afterwards, if kept in an airtight container it can last for weeks apparently!
Once the flower is removed, you dunk your little Shibori parcel in and keep it just below the surface, working the dye into the fabric by manipulating it with you (gloved) hands. My stir stick came in handy here to keep the parcel below, particularly the Itajime parcel with it’s little wood blocks keeping it afloat! After a few minutes (3-5 was my aim) you can remove the parcel, squeezing the dye out close to the surface. The idea is to prevent as much contact with the air as possible to preserve the indigo in the dye bath. The first hue is even more yellow/ green than in the picture and during oxidization it begins to turn the intense indigo colour of the fabric on the left, which is of course super fun to watch!
The duvet cover was a handful, like a wily dye snake! I repeated the dye bath dunking process 3 times for the pillow cases, 4 for the duvet cover and 3 for the sheet, leaving them to oxidize for at least 20 minutes in between.
After rinsing each parcel (first whilst tied up) until as clear as you can manage before untying and rinsing again, I soaked the sheet and duvet cover repeatedly until the water was a pale blue because it was just too bulky to rinse thoroughly by hand. Then it was a trip to the launderette to wash on a warm cycle and then tumble dry. I could not wait to get it on the bed!
Here it is in all it’s indigo glory!
Elijah loves his new complementary bed set!
I absolutely love the result of the traditional binding
The seersucker duvet set may possibly be a cotton blend because despite having only been dunked 3 times, the sheet definitely seems to be more intense or maybe that’s because it has more colour?!

I absolutely love our new bedding and thoroughly enjoyed the Shibori Indigo technique although it is definitely a time consuming one and no easy feat in a small Manhattan apartment. I can’t wait to have a washing machine again! I’m now going excitedly off to bed, goodnight!


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