DIY Shibori tie-dye cotton napkins!

There is still time left to do some crafting this summer! This Shibori tie-dye tutorial is the perfect excuse to get outdoors and create something. As seen in the August 2018 edition of Modern Luxury Interiors Texas magazine (page 16-17), here is the step-by-step tutorial for creating your own Shibori tye-dye napkins. If you’re new to Shibori, it’s a Japanese process of dying fabric by using special folding techniques to create patterns. I’ll show you how… 


Step 1: Gather your materials – Soda Ash, Indigo dye powder, Natural twine/rope, 2 Large buckets, Protective gloves, and a set of 100% cotton white napkins. You will also need clothespins to hang your wet Shibori creations to dry. 

Step 2: Fill 2 large buckets with water. One bucket will be to wet your folded cotton napkin before dying. The second bucket will have the indigo dye added and will be your bucket of dye.

Step 3: Prep your indigo dye solution. This indigo solution will need to sit for at least 30 minutes before using. (You may also use Rit dye in “denim blue” for an easy option, although not the same as the natural indigo.) Please use instructions for mixing your dye bath with soda ash as provided on your indigo dye instructions. For people using Rit dye, you will not need soda ash at all. 

Step 4: Fold your napkins into your desired design. I have provided a folding tutorial video at the bottom of this post for creating 4 different patterns in your napkin. You can also try your own abstract ways of folding your white cotton napkins.

Step 5: Once you have determined how you will fold your napkins then you will need to use the twine to wrap and hold in place your folds. The twine will create a resist pattern in your finished napkins as well, so using twine adds another added abstract feature to your designs. 

Step 6: Now you’re ready to get started! Wet your folded cotton napkin in your bucket of warm water first and wring it out gently.

Step 7: Dip your damp folded napkin into the indigo dye bath and leave inside the solution for a minute or two. When you pull out your napkin gently wring it out again.

Step 8: Rinse your dyed napkin with a hose. (This is another great reason to work outdoors.) Lastly, carefully cut away all of your twine from the folded napkin.

Step 9: Gently unfold your completed napkin and then hang it to dry. Afterward wash and dry your napkins to complete the process. Now you’re ready to decorate your next tablescape with Shibori tie-dye napkins!

Remember to RINSE your Shibori creations after dyeing, and before you hang your cotton napkins to dry. For additional guidance on folding your Shibori napkin into a pattern, watch the brief video below with instructions on creating 4 different Shibori patterns with your folded napkins. We are so pleased with how our cotton napkins turned out! We hope you enjoy your Shibori creations as well! 

Author: InteriorsbyJacquin