Shibori Pillow

Catherine Ruhl is the creator and founder of Onyxmatter.  She is a textile artist who teachings Shibori dyeing in New York City.  Shibori is the ancient art of Indigo Resist dyeing.  There are so many unique possibilities and beautiful shades of blue when it comes to shibori.  Check out her instagram for more inspiration:

Here is the video to go along with these instructions:

Supply List:

Something to dye- pillow/t-shirt/or tea towel


String or yarn



Dye kit- Jacquard dye kit is great.



Step by Step

  1. Select the piece you want to dye.  I recommend a tea towel, t-shirt, or white pillow cover.  You can dye anything that is a natural fiber: cotton, linen, rayon, modal, bamboo, or any blend of these things.  Shibori is a great way to upcycle an old piece of clothing that might have a stain or be looking a bit dingy.
  2. Iron the piece flat and then fold it in half.  Methodically fold the half back and then forward to make an “accordion fold”.  Keep folding it back and forth until you reach the end of your fabric.  For best results iron as you make each fold.  See the video tutorial for a visual.  Once the fist side is folded, turn it over and fold the opposite side in the same way.
  3. Once you have accordion folded the entire piece it should look like a long and thin rectangle.  Tie the string around the middle of the rectangle and wrap the string around it tightly.  Keep wrapping the string up the rectangle until you get to one of the ends.  Once you reach the end, keep wrapping back down the piece toward your knot.  Keep the string as tight as possible.  Once you have wrapped back down to your knotted middle- keep wrapping to the other end and then back to the knot.  Tie the end of the string off in the middle. 
  4. Mix up your dye.  You can use any indigo kit- there are many kinds.  Follow the instructions in the kit for mixing the dye and water.  Remove the film on top. You can also use a fiber reactive dye kit if indigo is not available.  Dharma Trading’s website has a lot of great options.   Recommended: put down a floor covering or table covering under the vat to protect your surface.  If you have access to an outside space that is also good.
  5. Dip your piece! Dip the entire piece and submerge evenly.  Remove the piece from the dye and check in the folds to see if you like the distribution of dye/resist.  Re-dip if desired.  Once you are satisfied with the look of it, squeeze out excess dye and let it rest for a few minutes to 24 hours.
  6. Time to Reveal your Shibori! CAREFULLY cut the string and remove it from your piece.  Unfold it and behold your creation.  Each piece of shibori is completely unique and beautiful.  Let it dry completely.
  7. Wash your shibori.  Put the dry shibori into the washer alone and wash on hot with a natural phosphate free laundry detergent for best results.  Dry on hot.  Wash alone for a few washes before mixing into your other laundry.
  8. Show off your beautiful creation!   Post your process and/or your finished product on instagram - tag @onyxmatter  I love to see your creations.  <3

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