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How to Make Shibori Cloth Napkins

Learn how to make Shibori cloth napkins with this easy step-by-step tutorial. Set your summer table with easy DIY Shibori napkins!

Freshen up your table for summer with a set of Shibori cloth napkins. The iconic indigo and white patterns are both organic and bold, perfect for a summery tablescape or your next barbecue.

How to Make Shibori Cloth Napkins by Craftivity Designs

This post was originally written as a guest post for The Crazy Craft Lady.

How to Make Shibori Napkins

Shibori is a great family activity! It’s the type of project that is an enjoyable craft for adults and a kid-friendly activity. An adult will need to prep the dye, but kids can fold fabric, dunk the napkins in the dye, and rinse them off.

If you’d like to download and print these instructions (with links to the supplies, included), click here to jump to the instruction card.

Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links for products or services.

Supplies Needed

Instructions

#1: Wash and Dry the Fabric

First, pre-wash and dry the white cloth napkins before dyeing the fabric.

#2: Prepare the Dye Bath

Next, fill the first bucket with near-boiling water. Try this Shibori RIT dye recipe for a bold indigo color (if you’d like to try natural indigo dye, I recommend this Japenese dye kit).

Homemade Shibori Dye

#3: Prepare the Soak Bath

Once the dye bath is ready, fill the second bucket with cold water.

#4: Pre-Soak the Fabric

Once the dye bath and soak bath are ready, the dyeing process can begin. To start, place a white cloth napkin into the soak bath until it is fully wet.

#5: Fold the Fabric

Next, choose a Shibori technique and fold the fabric accordingly with clothespins, blocks, etc (varies by technique). Secure the folded fabric with rubber bands.

Shibori Technique with Blocks and Rubberbands

#6: Dye the Fabric

Once folded and secured, place the fabric into the dye bath for 3-5 minutes. The longer the fabric is in the dye will result in:

  • a deeper color, and
  • the dye penetrating more of the fabric, further into the folds.

TIP: Wear rubber gloves during the dye process.

#7: Remove Excess Dye and Water

After several minutes, remove the folded cloth napkin from the dye bath and place it into the (empty) third bucket. The excess water and dye will drip into the bucket.

#8: Rinse and Open the Fabric

Finally, run the folded fabric under a water hose or faucet. Once the water runs clear, open the folded cloth napkin to reveal the design! Lay flat to dry.

Shibori Cloth Napkin drying on grass

DIY Shibori Napkins

Once the napkins dry, fold or roll the fabric to highlight the features of the Shibori pattern. I wrapped several with my favorite leather DIY napkin rings, perfect for a casual lunch out on the patio.

Shibori Fabric Napkins with Leather Napkin Rings

FAQs about Shibori

Q: How do you make Shibori dye at home?

A: There are various recipes and methods for making Shibori dye at home – both natural and synthetic. Try this Shibori RIT dye recipe for a bold indigo color from synthetic dyes. If you’d like to try natural indigo dye, I recommend a Japenese dye kit.

Q: How do you make a Shibori pattern?

A: Shibori patterns are created by folding, twisting, tying, and stitching fabric before placing the fabric into indigo dye. Here are 5 easy Shibori techniques to try at home – perfect for beginners!

Q: What is the best fabric for Shibori?

A: The best fabrics for Shibori are natural fabrics, such as 100% cotton.

Q: Is Shibori always blue?

A: No. Shibori is traditionally blue, due to the natural indigo dye that was used in Japan. However, you can use any color dye to create Shibori fabric that matches your aesthetic!

How to Make Shibori Cloth Napkins

How to Make Shibori Cloth Napkins

How to Make Shibori Cloth Napkins

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $15

Learn how to make Shibori cloth napkins with this easy step-by-step tutorial. Set your summer table with easy DIY Shibori napkins!

Tools

  • Spoon
  • 3 Buckets or Glass Bowls
  • Water Hose or Faucet
  • Rubber Gloves

Instructions

  1. Pre-wash and dry the cloth napkins. 
  2. Fill the first bucket - the dyebath - with 1.5 gallons of hot water (near boiling).
  3. Once filled, add 1 oz of Navy Blue dye to the hot water.
  4. Add half of the Denim Blue dye bottle to the hot water.
  5. Stir the dye and water until well mixed.
  6. Add a 1/2 cup of salt to the dyebath (enhances color) and stir. 
  7. Add a drop of dish soap to the dyebath (prevents uneven dyeing). 
  8. Fill the second bucket with cool water.
  9. Pre-soak the cloth napkin in clear, cool water.
  10. Choose a Shibori technique and fold the fabric accordingly with rubber bands/blocks/etc.
  11. Place the napkin into the dyebath for 3-5 minutes.
  12. Remove the napkin from the dyebath and set it in the third bucket, which is empty. Allow the excess dye to drip off the napkin.
  13. Rinse the napkin in cool water under a faucet or water hose until the water runs clear.
  14. Continue rinsing and remove the rubber bands/blocks/etc.
  15. Open the shibori napkin to reveal your handiwork!

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DIY Shibori Cloth Napkins by Craftivity Designs
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