How to Fold & Dye Shibori

SHIBORI is the Japanese word for a variety of ways of embellishing textiles by shaping cloth and securing it before dyeing. The word comes from the verb root shiboru, "to wring, squeeze, press." Cloth shaped by these methods is secured in a number of ways, such as binding and knotting.

You’ll need:

  • Rit navy blue dye
  • Rit dye fixative
  • natural fiber clothing or fabric
  • 2 large buckets
  • rubber gloves
  • 4 craft wood sticks
  • rubber bands
  • a long wooden stick
  • a drop cloth
  • rubber gloves

When choosing fabric or clothing, it’s important that it's made of natural fibers. Cotton, wool, silk or linen work best. Pre-wash fabric before dyeing, if possible.


Fold the fabric lengthwise, accordion-style, to make a long strip. Then fold this strip again, accordion-style, to make a square or rectangle. Place it between two craft sticks placed horizontally and 2 craft sticks placed vertically, and bind the 2 sets of craft sticks together with rubber bands on each of the 4 ends. The larger the size of the folded square, the more white you will see. The smaller the shape, the more indigo you will see.


Fold the fabric lengthwise into a long strip (for this pattern, starting with a wide strip results in larger, more distinct triangles). Then, fold the strip again in triangles, accordion-style. Lightly secure one rubber band on each corner, trying not to scrunch the fabric too much. Then just place it in the dye as is – no wood pieces are necessary for this one.


  1. Fold fabric.
  2. Place folded fabric bundle in clean water and allow it to get completely saturated. If you don’t wet it, the 

    dye will stay on top of the fabric and wash out easily.
  3. Prepare Rit dye in large bucket according to packaging.
  4. Squeeze the saturated fabric bundle and gently place in dye; soak for at least 10-20 minutes. Use long 

    stick to submerge entire bundle into dye.
  5. Prepare Rit fixative in the other bucket.
  6. Transfer dyed bundle directly into fixative; soak for 10-20 minutes.
  7. Remove from fixative and rinse under running water until the water runs clear.
  8. Unfold the fabric bundle and hang to dry.