Updated on September 14, 2022 by Sarina

Shibori is a Japanese resist dyeing technique of manually binding, stitching, folding, or clamping the fabric to produce desired patterns. The final result is a variety of beautiful patterns on fabric. It consists of many techniques for dyeing fabrics cheaply in different patterns.


Different Shibori techniques

Nui Shibori

makige shibori technique defines a motif against the solid color of the base fabric

Nui Shibori involves stitching. A simple running stitch is made on the cloth, which is then pulled tight to gather the cloth. It is a time-consuming technique but gives a variety of patterns. Read more on Nui shibori dyeing technique here.

Arashi Shibori

arashi dyed fabric will have pleats which you may have to iron flat

Arashi Shibori, the fabric is wound diagonally on a pole which is then tied with a string from top to bottom. The fabric is then scrunched on the pole resulting in a design similar to rain. Read more on steps to do arashi shibori dyeing here.

Kanoko Shibori

In Kanoko Shibori, sections of clothes are bound using thread. It is similar to the tie and dye method.

Maura Shibori

Maura Shibori produces a water-like design. It is done by plucking sections of cloth with a hooked needle and looping a thread twice around each section.

Kumo Shibori

Kumo Shibori, the fabric is finely pleated and then bound. It produces a spider-like design.

Itajime Shibori

Itajime Shibori, the cloth is folded several times and sandwiched between two wooden pieces. It creates a repeating pattern of resists.

Arimatsu Narumi Shibori

This is a tie and dye method of creating distinct shapes.

But that is not all – there are more than a hundred ways of doing shibori and the patterns you can make with it are countless. Some very easy patterns are outlined in this post.

The tools used in Shibori resist printing

tools used in shibori dyeing

You need some basic tools for shibori dyeing – clamps, binder clips, plastic plates or at least thread. These are used to compress the fabric in specific places so that the dye doesnot reach there.

And fabric and dye, of course.

How to do Shibori dyeing

You will have to follow the basic rules used in dyeing fabrics for Shibori- like washing the fabric thoroughly, to remove all kinds of finishes.

You will need to use the appropriate dye for your fabric. The dyes used for dyeing cotton, and linen cannot be used to dye polyester. Learn about the different types of fabric dyes here.

Shibori is all about folding or twisting or hiding fabric parts with different tools or cords and then dyeing , resulting in some areas not taking in the dye. This creates patterns on the fabric. 

The most basic folding technique is to make accordion folds on the fabric one way and then fold it again, and then use some clips to hide selective areas.

Fold fabric in accordion folds
Accordion pleated fabric

Pleat the fabric again. Use clips to hide areas on the fabric surface.

clamp the accordion pleated shibori fabric with clips

Dye the material

Dissolve the dye according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Usually, the fabric is made damp before dying. This aids in the fabric absorbing the dyes better in an even manner.

dye the clamped fabric

After dyeing for the appropriate time, lift up the fabric with the clamps/tying still on them. Keep aside till dry. When dry, remove the tying/folds, etc.

The patterns and designs will vary according to how you have placed the clips

When the above accordion pleated fabric is unfolded, this is the design on the fabric.

result of accordion pleated shibori

Wash and rinse in cold water. Dry in the shade

Other folding techniques used in Shibori

The fabric can be folded diagonally, as in the picture below


shibori folding

This is then pressed partially inside the clamp/wooden blocks.

clamping inside wooden blocks

This will result in a pattern with long diagonal stripes

diagonal pattern made with shibori

When you use partial clamping inside blocks (the fabric is kept inside plastic blocks and then tied with string) a different pattern is formed. 

shibori techniques

The resultant pattern is quite pretty

shibori dyed fabric with star like design

You can make circular patterns by pinching or folding the fabric into a triangle. Fold the fabric from where you want the center of the circle. 

fold the fabric into a triangle

If this triangle is clamped inside wooden blocks like this

shibori folding and clamping inside wooden blocks

The pattern can look like this

shibori dyeing

Related posts: Tie and dye folding techniques making patterns ; Basics of tie and dye

Read more on Shibori here.

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  1. Where is the illustration for Arashi Shabori dying technique? (Don’t ya’ know that’s the one I like & would consider trying?


    Margaret Friel