How to make a shibori tie dye scarf

Turn a plain length of fabric into a striking scarf with Amy Phipps’ take on Japanese shibori tie-dye!

How to make a shibori tie dye scarf

You know how much we love a fresh twist on a tradition. This easy no-sew scarf uses shibori, a Japanese tie-dye technique dating right back to the eighth century. As sources of dye were limited back then, an indigo colour was often used. There are lots of versions of shibori, and this scarf’s grid design is created using the dye-resist itajime technique, where pieces of wood are used as well as elastic bands.

If you haven’t used hand dye before (our tie dye kits round up is good for newbies) be careful to protect yourself and your surfaces while you work, otherwise, things could get a little messy. If that makes you nervous then it’s a great project to work on outdoors during sunny days, and could even be taken on the road for a crafty camping trip.

This project was created by Amy for Mollie Makes magazine – for more easy-make craft projects and creative inspiration, subscribe to Mollie or click here to find out more.

How to make a shibori tie dye scarf

You will need: 

  • White viscose fabric, approx. 130cm x 50cm (51 x 20″)
  • Dylon hand dye in Velvet Black
  • Table salt
  • Plastic bowl
  • Rubber gloves
  • Scissors
  • Needle
  • Pins
  • Elastic bands, two thick and several thin
  • Two pieces of wood off-cut, 10 x 10cm (4 x 4″) each
  • Assorted skeins of brightly-coloured embroidery floss

How to make a shibori tie dye scarf

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You Will Need

  • Fabric
  • Dylon dye
  • Table salt
  • Plastic bowl
  • Rubber gloves
  • Scissors
  • Needle
  • Pins
  • Elastic bands
  • Wood off-cut
  • Thread

Total time:

Step 1

How to make a shibori tie dye scarf

Fold your fabric lengthways into a concertina, keeping each pleat approximately 12cm (43⁄4″) wide. You’ll end up with a long fabric zig zag.

Step 2

How to make a shibori tie dye scarf

Repeat this concertina folding technique from one end to the other along the length of your first zig zag. Try working the fold away from you – this will help keep your pleats more even and the layers of fabric neater. You’ll now have a folded square shape.

Step 3

How to make a shibori tie dye scarf

Sandwich the square of folded fabric between your two pieces of wood, with each piece placed centrally on the fabric.

Step 4

How to make a shibori tie dye scarf

Stretch two big elastic bands in a cross over the centre of your bundle. This will keep the wood pieces and fabric together. Now add thinner elastic bands in a grid design. You might want to wrap each band around your fabric twice for extra security and to make the definition of your finished shibori design stronger.

Step 5

How to make a shibori tie dye scarf

Using a plastic bowl and wearing rubber gloves to protect your hands, make up the dye solution with half the packet of dye, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Gently place your bundle of fabric, wood and elastic bands into your dye bath and leave to soak for ten minutes. Carefully turn your bundle over and leave for a further ten minutes.

Step 6

How to make a shibori tie dye scarf

While your bundle is dyeing, it’s time to make the tassels. Each skein of floss should make around six tassels. Spilt the end of your skein into three groups so there are seven or eight loops in each group, and tie a single strand of matching thread through the top and knot tightly. Repeat again at the opposite end of your skein.

Step 7

How to make a shibori tie dye scarf

Now use a single strand of remaining floss to wrap around the top of your tassel and tuck inside to secure.

Step 8

How to make a shibori tie dye scarf

Cut each tassel to roughly 4cm (11⁄2″) long and set them all aside, ready to attach to your finished scarf later on.

Step 9

How to make a shibori tie dye scarf

After around 20 minutes remove your bundle from the dye, rinse off excess pigment into the bath or
a sink, and remove the elastic bands and wood. Be careful not to splash the surrounding areas or your clothes, otherwise there could be more dyeing than you intended. Hang your scarf out to dry and then iron on high to seal the dye.

Step 10

How to make a shibori tie dye scarf

Lay your scarf out on a flat surface and line up your tassels along the bottom edge in the order you want to sew them.

Step 11

How to make a shibori tie dye scarf

Now, using the thin strand of thread at the top of your tassel, sew through the edge of your scarf fabric and back into the top part of the tassel where your knot is. Repeat this again, and then sew through the centre of the tassel and down so any remaining thread becomes part of the tassel.

Step 12

How to make a shibori tie dye scarf

Repeat this sewing method along the rest of the edge, adding as many or as few tassels as you like. Repeat this at the other end of your scarf or around the whole hem. Snip off any long or loose threads to finish.

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We hope you’ve enjoyed learning how to do shibori dyeing! If you’re looking for even more craft content then check out our free daily patterns which have over 100 free tutorials inside. We’ve got everything from DIY screen printing tea towels to bicycle embroidery patterns.

Meet the maker

Crafter, blogger and author Amy is one half of Brighton-based craft tutorial and book duo Super+Super.They specialise in craft parties as well as all kinds of workshops and classes, covering a range of techniques from sewing and embroidery to printmaking and paper cutting. Amy currently lives in a mid-century inspired flat with her boyfriend and two mischievous cats.