June Box Kit -- Shibori Napkins

Such an easy way to brighten things up for summer. Make them today and have them done in time for a dinner outside on the back deck!


additional supplies needed
salt (table, rock, pink Himalayan you found in your pantry like I did... ;-) )
tongs (optional but handy)
bucket, dishpan, a big ol' pot or dutch oven (having two is handy)
more cotton or rayon fabric (t-shirt, skirt, pillow covers... you'll have plenty of dye if you want to dye more things at the same time.)



Prewash your napkins

Run your napkins -- and anything else you want to dye, too -- through a quick wash cycle or handwash. This will wash away any sizing or other chemicals that would inhibit the dye absorption.


Prep your napkins

Fold your napkins, following the prep directions for each style pictured below.
Use the appropriate tools as indicated to create the areas where the dye won't reach the fabric.

Or get crazy and see what you have around the house to use as well. Sooo many possibities. 


Prep your dye

In a laaaarge container, mix 1 to 2 gallons of very hot water with 1 cup salt. Dissolve the salt, then slowly pour 2 to 4 oz of dye into the water. Mix well. And slowly. No splashing! (I mentioned pink salt, yes? 🤪)


Dye your fabric

Carefully put your folded and prepped napkins into the dye and stir occasionally, flipping them over a time or two. WEAR GLOVES or use a good pair of tongs to keep from dyeing your hands. (ask me how i know.)

Dye items for 20-30 min. total. They may appear to be done in a minute or two, but it'll take a while for the dye to make its way into the middle of thicker fabric "wads."


Rinse & set dye

In a second bucket or dishpan, mix the dye fixative into 1 gallon of water. Give your napkins a quick cold rinse, then submerge them into the dye fixative. Let them soak for a good 20 min. then remove all bindings (WEAR GLOVES for this; the fixative isn't very skin-friendly!) and let soak another 10 min. to be sure the whole fabric has been soaked through.
Rinse well in cold water.


Set & wash napkins


You're almost done! If you have an iron, it helps to heat set the napkins a bit more by ironing on the highest setting. (protect any fancy, pretty ironing board covers by ironing on a towel just in case).
Run the napkins through a wash cycle on cold with similarly colored items or old towels.
Dry, iron (optional), and enjoy!





So there are several traditional folding and dyeing techniques within Japanese Shibori. I want to go on record as saying that I do NOT by any means claim to be an authority in this area. None. So please forgive me in advance if I get anything mixed up... 
The main technique we're using today is Itajime, which refers to shape resist dyeing.  You'll be using various items in your kit or around the house to sandwich around the folded fabric stack. 


Accordion Folding

 In general, for all of these, you'll want to accordion-fold your fabric. The width of the folds will depend on which resist technique you do below and on the size of the items you're using. (Adjust accordingly and know that it'll look fun no matter what you do!)

After folding your napkin one direction, fold that "strip" of folds the other direction as well to accommodate the resist shape and size. 





1. Large flat items make great resists. Place wood cutout (or other shape/item) on the top and bottom of the folded fabric stack. Secure with twine or rubber bands. This will make a design on the fabric as well, so be sure to line them all up nice and straight. If you care about that stuff. Clearly Holly does not. 😜 (She also didn't let this one soak long enough. Leave it in longer, and yours will have a better outline of the main shape on it.) 



2. Clothespins or binder clips make a quick and simple design. Accordion-fold your fabric rather narrowly and leave long or fold a time or two the other way. Clip all along each edge and voila! This one's a time saver for sure. 



3. These triangles are a tad tricky to fold, but they're super cool.  Instead of accordion-folding the second direction as the first, do it on the diagonal instead. Eeek. Well worth it, though. Then bind with twine. You can also add to this one by using a triangular piece of wood (or cut up a plastic container you're about to recycle anyway.) as you do in option #1 above, then bind it all together with the twine like this. 


4. Create a lattice effect by folding your napkin into a larger stack of folds. I folded this napkin into half and then thirds, then repeated everything the other direction. 
Holding one chopstick (or dowel/stick/whatnot) on either side of the fabric stack, secure the ends together with a rubber band. Repeat across the stack, then do the same the other direction to create a lattice look. 


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