indigo dye
Shibori, STEAM

Shibori Dying

I have really been into Indigo dyed products lately and they’re EVERYWHERE!   So, I was really excited to try Shibori dying with some of my kids.  Shibori dying techniques have been used for 5,000 years by Asian and African cultures, where Indigo can be grown.  Shibori dyed fabrics have even been found in the tombs of Egyptian mummies.  So, this process has great historical value. Plus this is a great STEAM project.   As the cloth is pulled from the Indigo vat, the mixture oxidizes and turns blue from a yellow-green color.

First, we looked as some different designs and how they were bound.  Then, kids set out drawing their designs on their pillow case or towel with pencil before stitching.

Here is a pillow case that has been completely stitched.


Once the designs had been stitched, we pulled the strings tight, tied them, and then even wrapped the excess around the cloth.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of some of the bound projects but you can see them in the next images after they have been dyed.

I bought an Indigo dye kit from Amazon.  It says that it dyes 15 shirts but we dyed 20 pillow cases and several flour sack towels and still have quite a bit left over.  The dye was easy to mix and worked really well.  Just make sure to have gloves!


This is what the “film” over the top of the vat looks like:

Indigo Vat Film

Here is my awesome dye guy, Taylor.  (He didn’t know what he was getting in too.)


Notice the gloves, ;).



We used a small bucket of water to dampen the cloth first.


Here is Taylor slowly dipping a bound pillow case into the dye.


Here you can see as the pillow case comes out of the dye, it is sort of yellow-green in color.

Indigo Dye

Some of the student’s work in different stages of oxidation.

indigo dye

Peek of our clothesline.  Yes, the Spanish moss for prom is still here.

Some of our final work.


This one was created by stitching the outline of a flower.


This student folded their pillow case similar to folding a flag. The dipped only the edges in the vat.
Another triangle-folded one. This one is neat because it has an ombre effect.
This bulls-eye effect was made by stitching separates circles, one inside the other.



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