Indigo Tie Dye- Shibori For Beginners | Catherine Ruhl | Skillshare

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Indigo Tie Dye- Shibori For Beginners

teacher avatar Catherine Ruhl, Textile Designer and YouTuber

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (40m)
    • 1. Introduction- Shibori for Beginners

    • 2. Supply Overview

    • 3. Mask Folds

    • 4. Pillow Folds

    • 5. Tea Towel Folds

    • 6. Mixing the Vat

    • 7. Dipping in the Vat

    • 8. Reveal and Laundry Instructions

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About This Class

Indigo is a beautiful dye that oxidizes into that famous blue. Shibori is a resist dyeing method that creates patterns by folding and tie dyeing. The teacher, Catherine Ruhl is a Textile Artist, Teacher and YouTuber.

You will learn the basics of shibori folding, mixing up the indigo dye, dipping and laundry instructions. You can use any kind of dye for this class, but the demonstration will be with an indigo vat.Check out my favorite supplies listed on my website for links:


- 3-5 gallon Bucket that can get stained 

- Stir Stick

- Mask for mixing up indigo dye

- Scissors

- Iron/ Ironing board (or surface)

- String

- Rubber bands

- Gloves

- Tongue Depressors

- Itajime blocks

-Indigo Kit  Or - (Pre Reduced Indigo 2 parts, Thiox 1 part, Soda ash 2 parts)

- Synthrapol (Dyers detergent)

- 1 100% cotton mask

- 1 100% cotton pillow

- 1 100% cotton tea towel


Meet Your Teacher

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Catherine Ruhl

Textile Designer and YouTuber


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1. Introduction- Shibori for Beginners: Hi everyone. My name's Catherine rule and welcome to indigo tie-dye. For beginners. Indigo tie-dye is also known as shrubbery. Shrubbery is an ancient art form from Japan. I'm a textile designer and artist and I love doing shrubbery. In today's class, I'm going to show you how to die. A mask, a pillow, and a tea towel. I'm going to go over step-by-step instructions for the supplies you need. How to fold, mixing up your VAT, dipping in the vat, and then laundry instructions. So thanks so much for joining me and let's get going. 2. Supply Overview : Now I'm going to go over the supplies you need for this project. And I'll also put them in the class description. I'm going to be working with a cotton mask, a cotton pillow, and a cotton tea towel. It's important to use cotton for best results with indigo, you can also use any other cellulose fiber. But for beginners, I like cotton. You're going to need an indigo kit. You can use any indigo kit that you want. The things we're going to be using to bind our fabric, our rubber bands, tongue depressors To Jamie blocks and string. You'll need gloves for your hand and a drop cloth to keep your workspace clean. You will also need synth or Paul or diaries detergent. This is a sulfate free laundry detergent that will help keep the blues, blues and the whites white. Additional supplies that I would recommend are an iron and ironing board or an ironing pad. This one here is for quilting and I love it. A bucket that's three to five gallons, I can get stained. A stir stick and scissors. 3. Mask Folds : So our first can start out with folds for the masks. And I have visual aid here to show you the basis of these folds. I'm going to do a diagonal and a concentric circle pattern. I'm going to take my mask and make sure it's right-side up with the seams at the back. You can see the double needle top position at the front. And I'm going to pinch, or I want my first circle to go and I want this one to be kind of asymmetrical. So wherever I want the first circle to be, I pinch and I'm bringing it up. And then I'm going to put my first rubber band around. And I'm going to just wind it as tight as I can get it. And we're gonna kinda scrunch the rubber band together. So that's going to be the first circle. And then I'm going to take my second rubber band and put it about an inch away from the first rubber band to form my second circle. And you can see there's a bit of the mask sticking out, but that's fine. I'm doing an asymmetrical concentric circle patterns, so it's not going to be totally perfect. And the third one is going to be really more on the side of the mask. And it's going to be another inch away from the other. So now it's ready to go into the vat. The second fold I'm going to go over is this diagonal stripe fold. And I'm going to fold it in half, like that opposite corner to the opposite corner. And each one of these stripes is going to be a rubber band. So I think I can get about three on this mask. So I'm going to start to Accordion fold it, which means going the opposite direction. And then I'm going to give it some steam because it's so small. I find that using an iron really helps to keep it in place. And then I'm going to fold this little corner forward. And I'm going to give that some steam. I'm going to let that your straps just sort of be and I'll work them into the rubber bands. But for now I'm just going to press them into the fold. So I'm going to turn it over and do the same thing on the opposite side. So I'll accordion fold the second half of the mask into the same shape that I already established on the first side. And I'm going to tuck the ear strap in on that side too. So I'll turn it over and it's all folded up into a diagonal stripe. And I'm going to put three rubber bands probably about an inch apart from each other. And I'm going to start with the middle because that's the thickest part and it's kind of the most unruly. So I'm going to start by putting my rubber band around and I'm going to make it as tight as I can. So I'll have to go around a bunch of times. Then next I'm going to take my second rubber band and place it about an inch apart from the middle rubber band on the right side. And I'm just going to who work the ear strap into the fold. So I want to wrap this one as tightly as I can get it. Here we go. And now I'm going to do the other side. And I want to make sure my stripes are so symmetrical. So I'm going to do it another inch from the center and just wrap it up. Tuck the ear straps in and you can adjust the rubber bands if they're not looking evenly spaced. And there it is, it's ready to go into the mat. 4. Pillow Folds : Now I'm going to show you how to fold the pillows. I'm going to show you two patterns and you can choose which one you like. This one is an equilateral triangle fold, and this one is a sunburst pattern. So I have freshly washed my pillow and you can see it's a little wrinkly. So I'm going to give it a press to make it all nice and crispy. And now I'm ready to start folding. So I'm going to fold it in half and iron along the crease. I'm being very careful with the zipper because it's plastic. I don't want to melt it, so I'm just ironing up to the zipper. And then I'm going to fold it into quarters. And then I'm going to fold it into a triangle like handkerchief style. I'm gonna do the same thing on the other side. And then I'm going to fold the front, fold back. And that is the first establish fold of the size that we want, all the fold space. So it's going to end up looking like a paper airplane. So I'm going to carefully just keep folding along the first triangle that I established. So the line in the middle there I want to actually change to be pulling the other direction. But it helps to establish it so I can see what I'm falling exactly. So you can see you're going to get to a point where all of them are folded except for one bit. And I'm going to refold it to be accordion style. So I'm just going to keep stacking the established folds on top of each other, going slow, making sure to keep the point of the triangle mice and pointy. And as you can see, I can now fold in the last segment to follow the pattern. To then I'm going to give it some steam and I'm going to iron the zipper, but I don't want to hold my iron on there too long. So now it's ready to tie up. And I'm just going to grab my string. I like to start tying in the middle of the fold. Whatever I'm tying, that's just kind of a rule of thumb that I like to do because it tames the fold and kind of establishes what I'm going to do. So I'm just going to tightly wrap the string up to the point to the corner of my triangle. And then once I get to the top of the triangle, I'm going to pivot and wrap back down. And then I'm going to pass my original not And I'm going to keep wrapping it all the way down to the end of the pillow. Once I reach the end, I want to keep some of it free because it's going to be blue and it's gonna give you that circular look. I'm going to pivot to go back up along the fold. And I'm just going to use all my string up and keep wrapping tight, tight, tight. I want this one to be very, very tight. The more white you want in your pattern, the tighter you need to wrap it. So now I'm at the end of the string and I'm going to just tie it off with the tail that I left on the first knot. And there it's ready to go. For the visual aid I'm showing you here. I dipped this fold for a mere few seconds and then took it out and let it oxidize and then dipped it for another second or two or do not debit vary along. And I dipped it dry because I like dry Dupain because I think it has more stark contrast. You can also get it wet with water and dip it, and that will give you a little more diffused look. But this visual aid that I'm showing you was done that way. The next fold I'm going to go over is the equilateral triangle fold. So I'm going to take my pillow and I'm going to fold it in half. I'm going to put the zipper that way. And I'm going to take my blocks. And what I wanna do for this fold is to measure my rectangle to be the same width as this block. So I'm going to fold it into a long skinny rectangle, and then I'm going to fold it into a triangle. So I want everything to be the same size as these blocks. So I'm going to accordion style fold the pillow into a rectangle, the size of this block here. So I measuring with the block to make sure that it's about the same size. And that looks good. So I'm going to Accordion fold it into thirds. And double-check again. Looks good. Now I'm going to give it some steam. Being mindful of the zipper. And I'll turn it over and do this same thing. On the other side. A fold the pillow into third accordion style and give it some steam. I'm being very careful to fold neatly and carefully. To get exact folds. So now I'm going to turn it the opposite way and I'm going to start building my triangles. So an equilateral triangle has three equal sides and angles. So I'm going to imagine the triangle there are 60 degrees, 60 degrees, 60 degrees. So the first fold I have to make is a 30 degree fold. It's a little tricky to get started, but once you get your first full, it's easier. So I'm doing one forward and then I'm going to go backwards. Matching the edge to the edge. I'm going to carefully put it down and I can feel the triangle with my fingers is a red underneath the rectangle. And each fold I'm going to give more steam. This one, I just like to go slow and carefully stack them on top of each other so that I can make sure that they're totally lining up, giving it steam in between each fold. So I do one forward and backwards. And once you get to the middle of the pillow, you can kind of start moving the tail around. You have an established triangle there. And you can even turn it over so that the fresh fold is on top. So your iron is getting that on iron part. So once you get it going, you can kind of whip the tail twofold super tight. And keeping those corners as crisp as you can one at a time. Until you reach the end of the rectangle. When you come to the end, you will get another one of those 30 degree triangles. And you'll know that it's right because you have that it should match the first side. And so you just make it as triangular as possible. You can see there's a little overhang, but that's okay. It's still going on, looks like the pattern. So just give it some final steam. And I'm going to sandwich the folds between these wooden blocks. Then I'm gonna take my rubber band and wrap it around the whole thing as tightly as I can. I'm going to put a couple of our rubber bands on this one just to give it quite a lot attention. So the die is going to hit the edges of the triangle, and it's not going to hit the inside of the triangle. And it's gonna give you this hexagon. Look. You can do this fold with all kinds of different patterns. This is just one of them and it's just a really pretty folded one of my favorites. So this has a lot of tension on it, which is good. And I'm going to adjust the rubber bands to be evenly spaced. And you can dip it one time. And if you're worried about the rubber bands making a mark, you can move them between depths and then dip it again. And that will help to not get any rubber bands on there. But this one is ready to go. 5. Tea Towel Folds: Now I'm going to go over the two folds for the tea towels. Here's the first one, and here's the second one. I love this tea towel because you can use it as a decorative tea towel or you can also use it as a cloth wrapping paper. If you want to go green with President wrapping, which I think is a really fun idea. So I've just washed this tea towel and I need to iron it so I'm making sure all the wrinkles are out. And then I'm going to start by folding it in half. And I'm going to start to Accordion fold my tea towel into a long rectangle. I'm going to adjust the rectangle to be in thirds for this tea towel. So there is the first half and I folded it into thirds. I'm just gonna make sure all the edges are lining up. And then I'm going to give it some steam. The details big. So I'm just going to turn around to make sure I'm getting both sides. Nice impressed. And I'm going to turn it over and do the same thing. On the other side, I'm going to fold it into thirds. Going to iron all the edges. Do the whole thing. Then I'm going to turn it to be perpendicular to me. And I'm going to start the triangle folding. So I'm gonna do right triangles for these folds. And you just almost do like a flag fold. But instead of folding into itself, you want to do an accordion style triangle folds. So you go one above and one underneath and you alternate. And that's going to help with the even distribution of die. So I'm just going to work my way up the rectangle, folding one right triangle at a time, giving it steam in between each fold. And making sure that the corners are nice and crisp. Once I'm like halfway through, I like to turn it over so that I have the freshest folds on top and I can iron those just to make sure that they're getting as much steam is the top ones did. So if you get a fold that you don't like, you can just refold it and just keep falling until you get to the end of the rectangle. When you reach the end, you'll have an right triangle as the tail. And you can see it's accordion folded and you can kinda take it apart like a fan. So that looks great and it's time to do the bind. So for this pattern, I'm going to use a rubber band and I'm going to put it in the middle of the triangle, so across the 90 degree angle like that. So I'm going to wrap my rubber band really tight around the whole tea towel. Getting it as tight as I can. I'm just adjusting the rubber bands so that it's altogether. And this is a really big detail. So I'm going to put another rubber band on here just to make sure that resist is nice and strong. So you can adjust the rubber band. And you can see the corners of this are going to be the dyed part so that kaleidoscope look is going to be achieved by the corners and the middle part is what's going to stay white. So that one is ready to go. If you want to do this fold. It's a different way of binding it, but it's actually the same fold as the other one we just showed you. So I took the rubber band off and I'm pressing it to make sure it's nice and crispy. But it's the right triangle fold. And instead of a rubber band, I'm going to use the tongue depressors. So I need one set for each corner. And two are rubber bands for each corner. So I'm going to put one tongue depressor on the bottom and one on the top. And I'm going to rubber band them together. And I'm going to really make sure it's tight. Usually on their first one, I don't make it as tight as it possibly could go because I can go back and tighten it later. And then I'm going to rubber band the other end of the tongue depressors. When this one I want really tight. So that is going to create that stripe resist that will turn into an octagon. See, I'm tightening up the rubber bands there and I want it to be at an angle. So now I'm going to do the other side the same way As you're a rubber banding. The last one. You can sort of make the angle a little different just to make sure you can get your rubber band in there. And then you can adjust the tongue depressors after you've got them all bound up. So after I've gotten the rubber bands as tight as they can go and can adjust the tongue depressors to be in a V-shape angle. And here are all the pieces that are ready to go into the bat. So the next step is to mix up our bat. 6. Mixing the Vat: Okay, so now it's time to start mixing up our indigo vat. So it has produce indigo dye and soda ash. And then I also have some anthropology that comes in my indigo kit. So this is for washing your shrubbery. When it's done, it's diaries detergent. So start by putting down your drop cause and filling your bucket with 2.5 gallons of room temperature water. I also recommend doing this any ventilated place and if you can do it outside, That's the best. I always wear a mask when I'm mixing up my die. The first thing I'm going to add is my indigo. Then I'm going to add my soda ash. And then I'm going to add my thigh box. So once I get all the ingredients into the vat, I'm going to stir it up with a paint stick or a stir stick. And I'm going to stir it in one direction. I wanted to get really well-mixed, but I also don't want to splash too much. So I'm going in one direction and making sure all of the powders get dissolved in the water. You can see there's bubbles forming and I want to get those into the middle of the bucket. So I'm going to reverse directions. And that kind of gathers all the bubbles together. The bubbles are oxidized indigo, and I do not want those on the top of my bat. So I'm going to keep stirring and reverse directions again in order to get all the bubbles together. Then I'm going to remove them from the top. So they oxidize indigo will just sit on top of your fabric and will block the UNAR oxidized indigo from getting into your fabric. So that's where you want to make sure all the bubbles are off. I'm just going to carefully spoon them off. I'm going to set them aside on the lid of this bucket. You don't need to keep them for anything. So you can also put them on like a paper plate and just toss them. So I'm going to let this sit for 15 to 20 minutes before I did. 7. Dipping in the Vat : We're going to start with my mask here, since the concentric circles. And I'm going to just start by dipping things incorrectly and then taking them out and taking a peek at them. I like to dip things quickly because I don't want them to get to blue. And you can always dip things again, but you can't undamped them. So I'm going to just go in with a little flashed it. Okay. So you can see there's quite a lot of white still. So that can happen with Jersey. It likes to not get totally. Okay. So I'm gonna go and again, I'm going to hold it down just based on what I had seen. So then I'm going to go in here. So there's still some white in there. Squeeze it out. There's there's some white in there which I'm okay. I'm going to dip it one more time really fast just to get the outside parts nice and blue. But I think it's looking really good. So let's look in there. Okay, so that's good. You can see there is like some white in there. And then underneath the rubber bands is probably pretty white. So that's great. Okay. I'm going to squeeze it out and then set it aside. Let's do the other one. So this is jersey again. So as we know, it takes a minute, so I'm going to submerge a little bit longer and take a peek inside. So there's quite a lot of white. So that's good. All right. I'm going to just do one more really, really quick. All right, ready? Go. There we go. Let's check inside when we're typing. Okay, Nice. I think that that's a nice contrast and just kinda squeegee it out and set it aside. So next, I'm gonna do my pillow. I'm going to take a minute to kind of take these bubbles off. And I'm going to submerge. Can ac inside. Okay, I can see some white inside there and there's quite a lot of green, which is what it looks like before it gets oxidized. So that's normal if it looks screen. Yeah, I can see why. I like what I said. If I want to make sure the edges are blue or I can just dip in the edges one more time. Just a little bit. All right. That's a good way to go. Let's see. I'm going to let that oxidize and I'm going to move on to the x. So now it's time to do our tea towel. I'm going to make sure the bubbles are to the side. Take it off. Okay. It's time to depth. I'm just going to go fast and check and see what looks like on the inside. So there's a lot of white in there, which I think is quite nice. This is looking. I'm going to hit one more time just on the corners. Is going to wring it out. Okay. So I like that. I think that's nice. I'm going to leave that as is. You can dip it more if you want it to be super-duper blue, but I think that that looks nice inside. And I'm going to let these oxidize on the side here. These are already started to get really nice and blue looking. Very good. Now, I'm going to save this vats or a few days and I can keep dipping. Like I was saying, things are always the best the first day. But you can keep dipping if you have things that you think of that you want to die. Go ahead and dip. And if you want to get something super blue, you can let it sit for a few hours and then redeploy. That's one way to get things super-duper blue. So you can kind of play and experiment with your indigo bat, which is always a lot of fun. So I'll let these sit for a little bit and then we'll come back and reveal them. 8. Reveal and Laundry Instructions: Now it's time to reveal our Shabbat. Sorry, this is always the most exciting part and I'm going to be using scissors to cut apart the rubber bands. I will just say be sure to be really careful when you're cutting because you don't want to snip your fabric. It's such a bummer after all of that, you don't want to be ruining your piece. So I got all the rubber bands off. And here's the concentric circle one. You can see there is a lot of green, but it will turn to blue and it's wet still, so it's very, very dark. It's going to fade a little bit when it dries and after you wash it. Okay, so now it's time to open up the diagonal one. And again, I'm just going to be really careful not to snippet anything. And I think that looks awesome. That's a really dynamic pattern. You know, it's not always so simple to do small things. So I think that was really successful. Now it's time to do the pillow and be careful because the rubber bands will fly. And I'm going to keep these to use again. So you can use them again if you want. I mean, they are going to have indigo on them, but you can use them over. And now I'm an winding this bold. And you can see there's quite a lot of green, but that isn't going to turn to blue after the oxygen starts to hit it. But you can see where the lines are, where it's been oxidized are ready. And I think it looks like a flower, which I love. I think this one turned out cubed. Next I'm going to do the tea towel. Just going to take these tongue depressors off. You can just cut one side and take them off like that. You can see there's quite a lot of pronounced resist on the outside. And I'm going to just take it apart. So exciting to see how it turns out. And the green is just so brilliant and it's so amazing to me that it just really turns blue so fast you can see it changing right before your eyes. I'm just unfolding the whole thing. So I love how it's more pronounced on the size of the tea towel. And then in the middle, you have more white because it's closer to the middle and not as much dye can get in there. And then it happens again on the outside. So here they are drying and oxidizing. I'm going to let them sit for a few hours to dry completely and oxidize oxidize completely. And then after that, I'm going to take them to the sink and rent them on hot. Then I'm going to wash them. Now this is such a small load of laundry that I will probably just wash it by hand. So I'll rinse it with hot and then I'll start to add my center Paul and just wash it in the sink and wait till the water starts to run clear. I'll just do that over and over and just rinse, wash, rinse wash. And then I'm going to dry them on hot. If you want to wash them in the machine, you can rent them in the sink first until the water starts to run pretty clear and then put them in the machine and wash on hot. I like to do an extra rents when I'm using the machine just to make sure all the extra indigo comes out. And when you wash these in the future, wash with like colors for the first few washes just like you would with a dark denim jean. So here they are all washed and dried. And you can see that the blue has faded a little bit, which is normal. But I think it turned out really nice. I got a really great color. And I have stuffed the pillow insert with an Ikea pillow though one of the feather ones, I love them. So it's ready to go on my sofa or my bed or wherever. And if you guys love your results, be sure to post them on Instagram and tag me at onyx art studios. I love to see what everyone comes up with. I have a YouTube channel, onyx art studios as well, where I do a new dying video every week. So thank you guys so much for joining me today and I'll see you guys next time. Bye.