Shibori DIY

Shibori Pillow DIY

During college, I crammed as many textile classes, including shibori, into my fine arts schedule as I could possibly fit. I’d spend hours in the studio weaving, dying, felting, and silk screening fabric. Last week during a basement clean out, I came across a box of old art supplies. It sparked an idea to have a creative day dying fabric. My excuse was a DIY shibori blog post, so I hope you have as much fun with this as I did!

Shibori Pillow DIY

I styled this little corner seat with shibori cushions and it feels much more appropriate for spring and summer. I love the way it turned out! The only thing left to add is a sconce on the left wall. Wouldn’t it be nice to spend a rainy day here reading?

Shibori Pillow Corner Nook

Believe it or not, these pillows were really easy and inexpensive to make! This is what you’ll need to get started…

Shibori DIY

2 bottles of Rit Dye (in colors navy and denim)
White Vinegar
Epson Salt
White Items to Dye
Water, boiling temperature
Bucket or container
Rubber Gloves
Items for binding (rubber bands, clothes pins, blocks, PVC pipe, etc)
Large Spoon, for stirring and mixing

Step 1 // Wash anything you’d like to dye a day or two in advance. Once you’re ready to begin, soak the fabric in warm water for about 10 minutes. Different fabrics take the dye differently, but natural fabrics works best (wool, cotton, linen, etc.)

If you’re looking for white products to dye, I purchased everything from H&M because it’s inexpensive and if something doesn’t turn out, no harm done! The following would be perfect: linen fringe cushion cover, linen pillowcase, linen bed pillow cover, cotton pillowcase, linen tea towel, cotton tablecloth, linen napkin, or a white laundry hamper.

Shibori DIY

Step 2 // Fold the fabric anyway you’d like, using objects to bind each piece. This creates a resist that dye isn’t able to penetrate. There really isn’t a specific method for doing this… it’s just one big experiment. Here are seven ways I bound the fabric, and the outcome of each:

Shibori Pillow DIY

Shibori Pillow DIY

Shibori Pillow DIY

Shibori Pillow DIY

Shibori Pillow DIY

Shibori Pillow DIY

Shibori Pillow DIY

Step 3 // Boil water and mix the dye according to instructions on the back of the bottle; your fabric weight will influence the amount used. Keep in mind, the more dye you add, the deeper color you’ll get. I used 1 full bottle of denim and 1/2 bottle of navy. Test a paper towel or scrap piece of fabric before adjusting the color. Add a generous amount of salt (about 1 cup), stir, and gently add your fabric to the dye bath. Ten minutes later, add 1/2 cup of vinegar, making sure to mix well. Let the fabric sit in the dye for around 1 hour, agitating every 10-15 minutes.

Shibori DIY

Step 4 // Rinse the fabric in warm water first, followed by cold water until the water runs clear. Hang to dry overnight. Word to the wise… although you rinsed the fabric really well, you’ll probably still end up with a little blue puddle under your fabric while it’s drying. I’d recommend using a drying rack outside or an outdoor clothesline. Once your shibori items are dry, wash them together on a cold, delicate cycle with regular detergent. I tumbled mine dry on extra low. That’s all there is to it!

Shibori Pillow DIY

Shibori Pillow DIY

Hand-made shibori pieces make great hostess gifts, home decor, and help transition your home for spring and summer. For inspiration (or if you’re not into a DIY project), check out these fun shibori finds…

Favorite Shibori Finds

01: diamond shibori pillow cover // 02: shibori zipper pouch // 03: hand-dyed pillow cover // 04: cocktail napkins // 05: hand painted shibori pillow cover // 06: azure mid century chair // 07: shibori fringe throw // 08: india ink shibori pillow // 09: shibori phone case // 10: shibori leather tote // 11: shibori fabric (would be great framed!) // 12: shibori euro sham // 13: linear tea towel // 14: indigo cushion cover // 15: indigo armchair

So, what would you dye? I’m already on the hunt for additional white items, so I can plan this project again. It’s so much fun!

As seen on the Interior Collective

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  1. Maria Cleary says:

    Love this article!!! It has inspired me to give it a go.

    1. It’s so much fun, Maria!! You’ll love it. I’d love to see your finished results :)

  2. Lauren Allen says:

    Wow, such wonderful results! ? Thanks for the post, I can’t wait to give this a try.

    1. Thanks, Lauren! This was definitely the most fun I’ve had with a DIY in awhile. Enjoy your weekend!! xo

  3. Such a great project! Thanks for the inspo! Question: Did you mix the two colors in one tub or have them in two separate tubs?


    1. Thank you, Gaby! Good question… I should’ve specified that I mixed both colors in the same container. It creates a deep and saturated indigo color… I feel like it’s a bit richer. Let me know if you have other questions! xo

      1. Thanks for the info!


  4. These look amazing! All of the patterns are so unique. I might’ve to get crafty outside now that Spring is finally here in Canada.

  5. Dana Moss says:

    This is the best ever! I have been wanting to get my hands on pillows like these and I’m so happy to find how easy it is to make my own and save all the $$$! Thanks Sarah!

    1. So glad you like this one!! It was seriously the most fun. xo

  6. Allison H says:

    oh my shibori goodness! I LOVE how these turned out!! thank you for the tutorial! i have a feeling i’m going to have a girlfriends night and dye some fabrics together, with wine in hand! love love love!

    1. That would be a ton of fun… a little shibori party, wine, and good friends!! Let me know how it goes. xo

  7. Such a great tutorial and such amazing results! I have to try this!!

  8. I just tried this and love the way the patterns turned out. However, I used the ratio of denim and navy that you suggested and mine turned out much more purple than blue. Any thoughts? I had mine in an 8 quart pot of water with 1 bottle of denim and 1/2 bottle of navy. Thanks! I’m excited to give this another go.

    1. Hi Andrea! So glad you had fun with the project and the patterns turned out. As far as the color goes… I noticed one of the items we dyed looked more purple than the others. It could be the material you’re using (rather than the dye). Or you could omit the denim or navy dye completely (I can’t remember which one had more of a purple undertone)- but just use one dye. Be sure to test a paper towel in the dye, so you can get a sense for the color as your mixing. This will help to make sure the color is right before adding your items! xo

  9. ellen santana says:

    what did you use the epsom salts for?

    1. You can add it to the dye (optional) to create deeper saturation and color. Some people believe that it helps it bind to the fabric.

  10. ellen santana says:

    i just did this on antique linen napkins that i bought ata yard sale, a bagful for a dollar. i can’t show a picture because i don’t know how to do that on thecomputer but they came outlooking like the pillow on the far right. i am going to use them tomake aprons for presents for my sons’ girlfriends. thank you, i did use half navy and half denim for mine. looks just like the real thing.

    1. So glad to hear that, Ellen. They sound beautiful!!

  11. Shellie Wilson says:

    These look amazing, I love the styling you did too.

    1. Thank you so much, Shellie! xo

  12. Hilary L Hahn says:

    Thanks for the advice, Sarah!
    I am experimenting with Shibori and I plan to give your techniques a try!

  13. Create/Enjoy says:

    These are so beautiful! You came up with some lovely, unique patterns! I really want to try this!

  14. Hey! These are gorgeous!
    Yesterday I tried to make my own pillows and curtains, and while the designs turned out gorgeous, the dye dulled in the wash an mixed together, covering the white parts!! I’m so devastated! Do you have any tips to avoid this??

    1. Oh no! You could try to create a more saturated dye (more dye / less water), you could also try letting the designs dry before rinsing them (I’ve done that before). Otherwise, I’ve heard that heat setting sometimes help with regular washing… or maybe dry clean only? Hope this helps! xo

  15. I was just reading the different comments and it got me thinking about the person who had their project turn out purple. I have dyed wool for knitting for years and there is a big difference in the colours between wool I dyed in the city and wool I dyed at my cottage. With well water. Perhaps it was her water that made the difference or the type of pots she used.

  16. Dawn pierce says:

    This looks amazing! One question, do you take off rubber bands etc. before rinsing?

    1. Thanks, Dawn! It’s really your preference on the rubber bands. If you want a super crisp line, you can leave them on while rinsing… but it’s very difficult to get the excess dye out. I took my rubber bands off prior to rinsing. This will make the lines fade a bit though. Hope this answers the question! Let me know how it turns out :) xo