By now, you’ve probably heard of the Japanese indigo dye process called Shibori, and might have even seen some of the beautiful blue and white patterns it can create. But did you know that it’s super easy to achieve at home? I was totally blown away by how simple this project was, and I’m in love with my new shibori-style bath mat.
- plastic tub (that you don’t mind discoloring)
- scale (I used my coffee scale, but any kind will work)
- white bath mat (mine’s from IKEA, but any white, cotton mat will work)
- rubber bands
- 1/2 gal. water
- 2.25 g. indigo dye
- 12.5 g. jacquard soda ash
- 6.25 g. thiorea dioxide
(pssst… for a quick and easy shortcut, this Indigo Dye Kit has everything you need.)
Start by filling a plastic tub with half a gallon of warm tap water. Weigh out your indigo dye and stir until completely dissolved.
Next, weigh out the remaining dry components and stir in steadily. Be prepared, these ingredients do have a particular odor, so if you have any house-mates, it might be a good idea to give them a heads up before you begin. Cover your dye bath with plastic wrap and set aside for thirty minutes to an hour.
While your indigo dye rests, prep your fabric by folding it to create the desired pattern. I wanted to go for a window-pane design that mirrored the waffle pattern of my bath mat, but don’t be afraid to experiment and try different designs.
To create this pattern, begin by folding it evenly in half length-wise, then fold one side in half again and repeat on the other side. This will create four even sections.
Next, accordion fold it in the other direction, pressing firmly at each step, until your bath mat has been evenly folded into a neat cube.
Secure your folded pattern in place with two rubber bands. Don’t worry, these won’t interfere with the design, they’re just to keep everything in place during the dye process.
When you’re ready to dye your fabric, prep the folded bath mat by running it under water until completely saturated and squeeze out any excess.
After your indigo dye has set, there should be a clump floating in the center called the flower. Remove the flower from the tub and set aside.
Now for the fun part! Carefully dip the bath mat in your dye bath and allow it to sit for 10-20 seconds on each side. At first, it will appear a yellow-greenish color, but as the indigo reacts with oxygen it will turn that classic blue.
Remove those rubber bands and unfurl your beautiful design! Allow the dye to oxidize for 20 minutes, then rinse any excess indigo, wash with gentle detergent and air dry.
pssst… more DIY projects right this way!