Learning a new dyeing technique is an easy and fun way to get custom linens. A grown-up take on tie dye, Japanese shibori is one of the prettiest things you can do to a spare piece of fabric. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to transform a basic sheet into a large-scale geometric table runner that is sure to make your spring table pop with personality.
You will need:
Disposable plastic container
Flat white twin sheet
A packet of fabric dye (I like Dylon because they have some pretty, modern colors)
Scrap cardboard and string
Step 1: Cut the twin sheet in half lengthwise.
Step 2: Fold in half lengthwise, then fold again, lengthwise.
Step 3: Fold one corner of the strip over to the opposite side of the strip, forming a triangle. Flip the triangle underneath, and then repeat the fold all of the way down the length of the fabric. The fold resembles a flag-fold, but instead of staying on top of the fabric, you’re folding under, then over — like an accordion fold.
Step 4: Sandwich the folded triangle between two pieces of scrap cardboard cut to the shape of the folded sheet. Tie the bundle tightly with string. The tighter you tie, the more white space you’ll have.
Step 5: Mix the dye according to the instructions on the packet.
Step 6: Dunk just one side of the folded sheet bundle into the dye. You will immediately see the dye start to crawl up the fabric. Let it seep up about 3/4 of the way, then rinse the sheet bundle in cold water until the water runs clear. Undo the bundle; then wash and dry your sheet on the delicate cycle.
Once the sheet is dry, your runner is ready to use. You can experiment with the other half of your sheet by folding it in unique ways, or by using other shibori dying techniques like twisting, rolling or banding. It’s an ancient technique that can yield fun, modern results, so give it a try!
All photographs by House of Earnest.