To replicate the shibori dyeing process, we used the Jacquard Indigo Tie Dye Kit. This kit contains: pre-reduced natural indigo dye, sodium hydrosulfite, soda ash, wooden blocks, popsicle sticks, and rubber bands. For the entire dyeing process we followed the instructions that were provided in the kit, and are also outlined below.
Setting up the Indigo Vat:
- Fill a 5 gallon bucket with 4 gallons of warm tap water.
- Add the pre-reduced indigo dye to the warm water and stir in a circular motion.
- Add the sodium hydrosulfite and soda ash and continue to stir until dissolved.
- Continue to stir in one circular direction. Stir in the opposite direction while scraping the sides of the bucket.
- Cover the bucket and let it sit for at least 30 minutes to an hour to allow it to settle.
- Uncover the bucket and remove the thin blue skin that has been produced on top of the dye bath. The dye bath should be a dark yellow-green color.
- Dampen the cloth that you plan to dye. While squeezing excess water and air out of the fabric, slowly submerge your piece into the dye vat. Once submerged, gently manipulate the piece for one to several minutes. Do not let the cloth sink to the bottom of the bucket as that can cause sediment to get onto the cloth.
- Wring out your cloth close to the surface of the dye bath to avoid splashing and producing bubbles, as this will aerate the dye bath and affect the color it produces.
- Let your cloth sit for 20 minutes to allow oxidation.
- Repeat steps 2-4 for darker shades. If not, rinse your cloth in warm water and a mild detergent and hang to dry.
- When you’ve finished with your dyeing session, gently stir the vat as before in a circular motion. Place the lid back onto the vat. The vat will keep for several days and you will be able to dye several times.