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Market Colors is an online store and nonprofit organization. Our team collaborates with craftsmen in Africa and India to create handmade products that will sell well throughout the world. We exist to equip African men and women with a sustainable income, generated through the sale of their products.

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DIY: Shibori Pillowcases

Lizzie Randazzo

by Erin Lawless

Want to bring your tie-dye skills to the next level? Give shibori a try! Shibori is a Japanese method of fabric dyeing that involves manipulating fabric in a variety of ways to create unique and interesting shapes and patterns. There are so many ways you can fold, crump, stitch, pleat, twist and tie your fabric to create a unique design. Give our tutorial a try, then feel free to experiment and make up your own designs!

What you will need:

Cotton pillow cases
Fabric dye
Large pot
Salt (1/4th Cup)
Hot water
Tongs
Gloves
Wax dental floss

Preparing the fabric:

 If you buy brand new pillowcases you will want to wash and dry them before dyeing. This will remove any finishes that might inhibit the fabric from absorbing the dye well.

Lay the pillowcase out flat. Fold in half length-wise, and then fold in half again.

First, you will want to mark off where you will be wrapping the dental floss. Where you wrap the floss will be the lightest part of the shibori pattern.

Mark off 9 areas making sure the ties are evenly spaced.

Once the areas are marked off, you will want to tightly wrap the floss around each section multiple times. The tighter you wrap the floss, the whiter the resist will be. If the wrapping is loose, the dye will leak through and the shibori pattern might not show up as well. The thicker the floss section is, the thicker the resist lines will be.

Once the 9 areas are wrapped, you will have 8 sections of puckered fabric.  In every other section, tightly wrap the floss in a zig zag pattern. This will create thin wavy lines. The more you wrap, the more lines there will be!

Here is what it will look like once you are done tying all the sections.

Now you are ready to dye the fabric!

Preparing the dye:

You will want to follow the instructions on your dye packet. My packet called for a gallon of steaming hot water, 1/4th cup of salt and the dye. Mix everything together until the salt and dye are dissolved.

Place the fabric bundle in the dye mixture. Make sure the fabric is completely submerged in the dye. Stir the fabric in the dye for 5-10 minutes to make sure the dye has soaked through folded fabric. Leave the bundle to sit in the dye for 1 hour.

When the hour is up, remove the bundle and squeeze out the excess dye. Rinse the bundle with clean water to remove the remaining dye. Once the water runs clear, remove the floss to reveal your creation! This is the best part!

Note: I ran my fabric through the rinse cycle once I removed the floss. This helped me rinse out the remaining dye.

Dry your fabric and enjoy! You now have some awesome one-of-a-kind pillowcases.