Arashi Shibori Fabric Dyeing technique : Tutorial

In Japan, Arashi (pronounced AA -Raa-SHiy) means storm. It is also interpreted as wind-driven rain – the type of rain that falls sideways when there is a storm. Arashi shibori is a resist-dyeing technique in the tradition of bomaki (pole wrap) shibori, which produces diagonal stripes that look like rain on the fabric.

aarashi shibori

It is one of the easiest methods for making beautiful patterns on fabric

In Arashi Shibori, the fabric is wound on a pole which is then tied with a string from top to bottom. The fabric is then scrunched on the pole before dyeing, resulting in a striped pattern on the fabric similar to falling rain.

Arashi Shibori technique was developed in Japan in the 19th century by Suzuki Kanezo as an easy and cost-effective method of making patterns on fabric. Indigo dyes were commonly used for this. The term Shibori seems to be derived from the word shirokage, which means “white shadows” – with the arashi technique, the patterns are really like shadows.

Materials needed for Arashi Shibori technique

Arashi shibori is all about wrapping the cloth on a straight tube, So you will need a tube ( which will take immersion in water if that is the kind of dyeing you are doing) that is smooth and straight and somewhat rigid. It can be a bamboo stick or a PVC pipe.

If you are doing drip dyeing, you can use a hollow cardboard pipe you get when you buy paintings or even your aluminum foil base. You just need something to wrap your fabric on. You can even wrap it on a thick rope. Some even use tall glass bottles.

In traditional Arashi, poles that are 13 feet long and 8 to 20 inches in diameter are used. Just for your info. Long narrow cloth was wrapped on these poles. The Japanese artisans of this craft could wrap the cloth they have in a single wrap on these poles.

Dye suitable for the fabric. Commercial dyes in any color can be used. If you prefer the natural method, you can use natural indigo dyeing – kits are available in stores.

You can choose a natural fabric for your arashi shibori dyeing. If you have a longer length of fabric and the pole you have is short or narrow, you will need to make a lot of wraps around the pole – then the dye may not penetrate to the extreme down layer as much as it would

Wrapping cord – plastic string is preferred; You can also use twisted polyester cord. Cotton cord may take up the dye and the resist technique may not work properly. 

How to make Arashi Shibori patterns on fabric -Step by step tutorial.

  • Prepare the fabric for dyeing

    Pre-wash the fabric with detergent and also an additive-like synthaprol to remove finishes that can prevent dye absorption. The fabric must be soaked in water before dyeing and then wrung to remove all water.

  • Pole wrapping step

    Wrap the fabric over the pipe. Usually a diagonal wrapping is preferred to get the diagonal patterns. I have made straight wrapping for my project. The picture below is how to wrap diagonally. The step next shows how to wrap straight.either wrap the fabric straight or diagonally on the tube

  • Tie with cord

    Take strong cord and wrap over the fabric tightly -so tight that dye would not penetrate. At the end of the weapping you can either use tape to keep the end from unravelleing – use the tape to stick the end of the string to the inside of the pipe. I have used thread to tie the ends on to the pipe. simple.wrap the tube with the fabric

  • Compress

    After the wrapping, you have to scrunch up the fabric together. With whatever force you need to apply (some even use a hammer at this part to compress the fabric totally), bring it all up together.compress the fabric with force to complete the rashi shibori method

  • Dye

    Dye your cloth by whatever dyeing method you use.  If you are using indigo dyeing you will have to immerse your fabric and pole in the vessel of indigo dye as many times as it is necessary to get the correct shade of blue.dye the wrapped and tied fabric

  • Final step

    After the dye is set, open up the ties and the wrapping. You will find soft, blurry-edged striped patterns – the exact patterns will be dependent on the wrapping and scrunching up. remove the ties after the dye is set

  • Iron the pleats flat

    The pleats and the patterns make for a beautiful fabric – but these pleates will be ironed flat unless you are using silk and it will be steamed to set the pleatsarashi dyed fabric will have pleats which you may have to iron flat

Related posts : Nui shibori technique ; Tie dye patterns

Reference : Digital commons – A new twist on shibori

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

4 thoughts on “Arashi Shibori Fabric Dyeing technique : Tutorial”

  1. I took a class and was looking for a way to duplicate the method I had been shown. You directions were the only ones that gave me the result I was looking for……Thank you !

  2. Thank you so much for such an easy to follow project. The way you explain the different projects are wonderful to me so inspiring. They give me the confidence that I can complete something . (LOL) You are a blessing!

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