bomaki shibori – tutorial

April 29, 2010

Lately I have had been reading everything I can get my hands on regarding shibori, the japanese art of creating texture and colour on cloth. There are an incredible variety of styles and techniques that are encompassed in the Shibori classification. Here are some photos (and a quick tutorial) of a piece I made using the bomaki shibori technique.

Habotai silk scarf, hand-dyed using the japanese Bomaki Shibori technique

bomaki shibori detail

and a glimpse into the process:
  • Take a silk scarf
  • fold and carefully roll (edit: wrap the fabric around.. I rolled the bottle along the fabric to wrap it) around a cylinder (ideally a PVC pipe) to create a snug fit (edit: I would not recommend using a wine bottle, but when in need I improvise! hehe)
  • hand stitch using a fine silk thread to create a ruffled edge
  • place a rubber band around the base of your cylinder
  • carefully compress the rolled fabric pressing down toward the rubber band.
  • place another rubber band at the top of the compressed fabric to hold it in place.

rolled, sewn and compressed

  • Set up your dye pot (..and please follow common safety precautions when dyeing – nasty stuff can happen if you don’t)

the dye pot - bomaki shibori

  • you can use any dye suitable for silk (protein fibre) acid dyes, indigo or other natural dyes etc..
  • the dye will penetrate depending on how tightly you have compressed the fabric
  • If you have it too tight, the dye will only remain on the outer layers, if you have it too loose, the entire piece will be dyed.
  • Follow the instructions for your particular dye and carefully check to see how much dye has penetrated the piece.
  • Feel free to manipulate the fabric to ensure better penetration.
  • Once you have finished dyeing the piece, rinse with syntrapol and let it dry completely while still on the cynlinder.
  • The texture will set in the silk. If you remove it from the cylinder before it is bone dry (24-72hours depending on your climate) the texture will be gone, but you will still have the pattern.
  • Enjoy.

texture detail - bomaki shibori

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9 Responses to “bomaki shibori – tutorial”

  1. Ann Says:

    The scarf is lovely but I don’t understand what you mean by roll it around the cylinder. did you mean wrap? if roll is correct could you explain more.
    thanks I really enjoy your blog. I follow in google reader so I don’t know if i show up as a subscriber.

    • Hi Ann,
      ‘Wrap’ would be correct, I actually rolled the bottle over the fabric and the fabric wrapped around it, while keeping it smooth.
      Thanks for reading :)

  2. elisvermeulen Says:

    :) took me a while to read up on the blogs.
    good scarf, looking forward to see the pics of the other ones you made.
    This one’s colour and texture is beautiful.

    (small things made me smile. your wearing gloves.:) (Whát a good idea)and the pan with the word ‘studio’ on it.)

    • Hi Elis,
      Yes.. all the pots that make their way into the studio get marked so they never migrate back to the kitchen… and the gloves, well – after having seen your blue hands from your last dye job, I just keep them by the stove – haha!
      I have been working on a variety of shibori tests of late and thinking I will prep a few projects for when I get the Indigo pot going.. hopefully very soon.

  3. gail Says:

    Love your scarf Cindy! I am currently playing with rusting on wool and silk – great fun. Also attempting to reproduce a nuno felt baby blanket for Lilly.

  4. nermina Says:

    Hi, really your scarf is very very beautiful, I love it very much, but please I want to ask you about dyeing chiffon, how can I dye chiffon and what is the suitable dye for it?

    waiting for your reply,
    Thanks alot

    • The options for dyeing silk are many; natural dyes are an option, as are any dyes that are made for protein fibres (such as wool, silk etc). Natural dyeing can be as simple or complex as you want to make it based on what you are looking for. Acid dyes are very simple. Do not let the ‘acid’ concept deter you, it simply means that it needs an acidic ph to set. Household vinegar is perfect. Two brands of acid dyes that I use are Jacquard, or for those looking for a ‘greener’ way of doing things, Greener Shades makers of lovely dyes free from heavy metals. But do take care when dyeing silk, do not let your dye pot go over 85 degrees celcius, or the silk will loose its sheen.

  5. [...] gut gefällt mir Arashi Shibori. Arashi heißt Sturm! Auf dem Blog von Cynthia Reynolds und bei La Bricoleuse sieht man, was für einen Effekt das Zusammenschieben des Stoffes auf einem [...]

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