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Introduction to Shibori Indigo Dyeing

Lesson 8 of 9

Dipping & Rinsing the Cloth - Itajime

Kaari Meng, French General

Introduction to Shibori Indigo Dyeing

Kaari Meng, French General

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Lesson Info

8. Dipping & Rinsing the Cloth - Itajime

Lesson Info

Dipping & Rinsing the Cloth - Itajime

So now we're going to dip our e t jimmy are shaped resist pieces, but before we do that, we as you can see the the bloom is starting to grow again on top of the ending of that. So we're going to remove that, and we're going to use our strainer again, and you can see they're still the old bloom and all you do is just run it across the top and pick up any additional bloom what you want you want kind of this clear surface you can kind of if you see it from the side, it almost has a green or yellow undertone underneath the top surface, and you really want that to be a very clear, clear surface. You don't want to have too much of the foam or the bloom on top of that, okay, so this was our this's are vintage linen napkin and remember, we according unfolded this and put the shape in the center on both sides and then put our clamps on it. So we're going to go ahead and dip this and make sure the subversive totally under that. And I don't like letting go of these again because of the sentiment ...

on the bottom, so I really just hold it with something like e to jeannie. What you get is you get a lot of fabric that's on the side of your boards or your clamps, so what you want to do is you want to go into the vat, and what I'm doing is I'm massaging the folds underneath the indigo so that the pigment gets in and out of all of those folds. So I like to do this for a few minutes turned the piece over again, always keeping it under, um, under the surface of the the vat and just kind of fiddle with the folds and make sure that you're allowing the pigment to get into all the different areas of the cloth, and then when you're ready to take it out again, kind of underwater, squeeze as much as you can the liquid, and then do the bottom pieces, and again, you'll see that you've got that yellow to green occid ization happening, and eventually that will turn the blue. Another thing to remember is that in between each one of these folds, you want that area to oxidize as well. So it's not a bad idea to kind of layer and kind of flip these pieces up just so that they all get exposed to the light, and when you're outside, this is something that you can. You'll see, and it happens really fast in here, we're just going to give it a little more time to sit so well, that will let that oxidize and will dip our t shirt. So I've already taken this out of the water, and I've rung the excess water out of it as much as possible, and we're just gonna have dipped straight in and then hold it under the water, and I kind of do the same technique where you're, you know, trying to get the pigment in and out of the folds and just make sure it's covering all the different surface areas of the t shirt. And remember, since this has such a big block on it, the resist will be quite large on this t shirt, it will actually have a nice, big white, um, block pattern on it, which is great, it looks kind of architectural when you use these bigger blocks. So again, I hold it under three to four minutes, I'm massaging it under the under the vat under the surface of the vat, and then when I think it's, nice and saturated, then I go ahead as I'm bringing it out. I'm squeezing the boards so that I get rid of all that extra pigment, okay, so we can let that sit and you can see how all of that is going to it's a nice green now but it's all going to turn blue just like our first piece has already turned to blue ok, we'll do a couple more pieces now this is a piece of hemp and hemp is funny because it really it takes a while to absorb water or the die but the the fibers take it so well eventually but it takes multiple multiple dips so very different than silk or cotton because it is a fibrous plant and it just it doesn't absorb it doesn't absorb thea pigment is quickly it's white linen is so great because it wicks moisture away from our skin and you can see with the hemp it's very similar toe linen the properties are very similar a lot of the old japanese borough cloths that you see they were all made out of hemp and I've read that the farmers basically had to wear a dark brown or a dark blue which is why most of their clothing was indigo dyed and they would continue to patch and diet so that they could wear one one work coat one work jacket for most of their most of their life and it just got patched and died and stitched and eventually became little pieces of works of art okay, so there's another piece we're going to try this small tiny little eat to jeannie sample and this was the one I did with a piece of bamboo fabric and bamboo again a natural fiber and takes a little more time to absorb but eventually it takes the color really well and finally this was our example that we wanted to try I did the e to jeannie simple technique just using two popsicle sticks and we're also going to overdo I this so you'll get to see what over died fabric looks like and over died fabric is simply, you know, a printed fabric that then you introduce into the indigo vat and you over die the indigo over whatever print was originally there it's also a fun technique to do with e t jeannie if you decide you don't like the resist that's created by any of these shapes you can then read ip your piece back into the indigo vat and it'll over dye your resist areas ok, so now we've got a nice little collection of eat a genie pieces and as you can see the first one that we dipped is ready to go back in so we're going to go ahead and read ip uh the napkin and again I'm doing the same thing I did the first time which is kind of ruffling up the edges of the linen so that the die is able tio penetrate the fibers and the second time you take out your pieces out of the dive et you don't notice the oxen ization happening quite as quickly but it's still happening you still I still see a green tinge to that piece and you still need to leave it out and let it completely oxidize before you put it back in again the t shirts looking good you can see that it's all pretty much oxidized I guess if we were to open up some of these corners we could see if there was much more like there you see the yellow is still there so what I'll do is when I put this back in I'll concentrate on making sure to lift that area and get get the die kind of into those little folds okay, so now the t shirt has been dipped twice we're going to go ahead and ring out the access like when and we will go ahead and a couple of these other ones so that each piece gets dipped two or three times and once you once you kind of get the hang of this as long as you're holding onto your pieces you can get a few pieces in there at a time and I always say just don't let go of your pieces because you don't want them to sink to the bottom of your vat you have put your arm in there and that's how that always becomes a bit of a mess so it's nice to bail just hold on all your pieces while you're dying okay so eventually this that it, which is like a living animal, will what they call retire and it will be exhausted of its color and you'll know when that's happening when you dip something in and you pull it out and it doesn't oxidize, we'll have a little pigment on it. It'll have ah, very light blue color to it, but you won't see the oxen ization process happening, so you'll know that your vat is tired and it's time to re feed it and to re feet of that, you can introduce more indigo pigment about a table soon at a time and then do the same process with your stirring stick. You're going to start very rigorously and you're going to create the bloom and then let that sit for a good twenty minutes, and then you'll remove the bloom again if that ever has too much pigment, and if you find that it's just too blue, you can reduce that a little by adding more of the theocracy. But I tend to always add one item at a time and then check it with a piece of scrap cloth, so we'll just keep re dipping these last few items, and so once they're dipped three or four times, then we will rinse them, and then we will dry them, and once they're totally dry, then we will take out all of the ship boeri materials so now that we've dipped each of our eat, a genie pieces three or four times, we're going to go ahead. And we're going to rinse our pieces. So I've got a clean water bucket here. And I'll just embarrass the piece into the water bucket and do the same thing I was doing under the indigo. That which is just kind of massaging the corners of the fabric to make sure that any excess die is able to rinse out. And then I'll squeeze excess water back in. And now that is ready to fully dry before we take out the clamps and board. So I'll just continue rinsing the rest of these pieces. And then we'll put them side to dry.

Class Description

Shibori dyeing is a classic technique that makes a bold, modern statement. Learn the right way to dye in Introduction to Shibori Indigo Dyeing with Kaari Meng

Shibori is a bit more elegant (and complicated) than tie-dyeing. Indigo dye requires careful handling and in this class, Kaari will help you prepare for a successful dye job. You’ll learn how to: 

  • Create the indigo vats 
  • Prepare and dip the cloth
  • Ensure the color lasts

Kaari will demonstrate the Kumo technique, and show you how to wrap and prepare the fabric, and the best ways to build up color. You'll also learn the Itajime technique and how to block the patterns onto the fabric.

Introduction to Shibori Indigo Dyeing with Kaari Meng will cover everything you need to know to create truly unique, one of a kind pieces.

Class Materials

Bonus with Purchase

Intro to Shibori Supply List

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



Kaari is such a great teacher! She outlines the basic process and steps in the indigo dye process, and encourages experimentation. I enjoyed hearing the traditional terminology, and learning more about how indigo dye interacts with different types of fabrics. Kaari provides lots of tips for adapting your process for different materials, so you always get a deep, rich blue dye. It really got me brainstorming: I started seeing all sorts of things around my house as potential resists for my dye projects! I love that indigo dye projects turn out different every time, and that this should be celebrated! As Kaari mentions, indigo dye projects have a wabi sabi aesthetic, and there really are no mistakes.


I came across this video a couple years ago and have been wanting to try it. The instructions and technique were very clear. We're going to include an eight year old in the project so it will be fun to see how creative she will get!

Annie Milligan

I found this class and this art form on a whim late at night and it has been such a fun project! I got the kit from French General and followed along with the videos and it couldn't have been easier. Everything is explained and demonstrated clearly and I can't wait to start the Intermediate class.