Inspired by the tie dye trend that dominated resort 2015 collections, I decided to hop on the bandwagon and try my hand at some DIY dip dye. I wanted to stay away from the hippie/summer camp-like tie dye and try shibori—the Japanese technique of twisting, folding and binding fabric to create different patterns. I stumbled across this post on Homey Oh My! and decided to go with the traditional indigo-colored dye.

You'll need:

  • dye (I used RIT liquid dye in Denim—found at Ben Franklin Crafts, but I imagine you might find it at Walmart and even Longs, too)
  • natural fabric
  • elastics (I used what I had—a mix of different sized elastics and even old hair ties, but the large rubber elastics did work best)
  • rubber gloves
  • large bucket
  • 1 cup of salt
  • drop cloth
  • optional: wood squares, wooden stick/PVC pipe, twine

Using 100% cotton kitchen towels (the dye works best with natural fabrics like cotton, linen, silk or wool), I set off to spice up my kitchen by dyeing small kitchen towels.

Fill up your bucket with 3 gallons of hot water and 1 cup of salt (if you're not using RIT liquid dye, follow the instructions on your dye container). Pour in 1/2 to 1 cup of dye and stir. (I just eyeballed it.)

Start folding, twisting and binding your towels. The more folds and elastics you use, the more white space you'll have. Full disclosure, I'm pretty impatient so I opted to just fold and twist the towels organically, but this post via Honestly WTF has detailed instructions on how to fold to create different designs.


I left the towels to soak in the dye for 10 minutes then placed them on a drop cloth to oxidize. Of course, the longer you leave the fabric in the dye, the deeper the color. Just keep in mind that the color is deeper when the fabric is wet and will also fade a little after the first wash. After about a half hour, using a clean pair of gloves, unravel the elastics and set the towels on the line to dry even more. Once dry, wash all the towels in cold water with a little detergent to set the dye. Hang back on the line or place in dryer on the lowest setting.

Voila! I'm so happy with how these came out. Like I said, there are special ways to bind, tie and twist the fabric to create exactly the design you want, but I like the imperfections. Next week, I plan to dye an old white sheet to bring to the beach or use for picnics.

Super easy shibori! To-dye-for, yeah?