Notes on Dyeing: Mini Clutches in Grey Shibori

So I can remember what I do, and recreate it if I so desire. These notes may sound like a robot.


  • hemp/organic cotton/recycled polyester canvas 
  • ~ 3 T. "better black" dye - fiber reactive dye 
  • ~ 3 cups water
  • 2 T. soda ash
  • rubber bands
  • large plastic container to hold dye bath
  • plastic bag to wrap fabric for curing
  • professional textile detergent (synthrapol)

Note: For this experiment I started with 4 canvases pre-dyed with fiber reactive dye, then bleached to remove most of the dye (one was slightly darker). One canvas started un-dyed. 

  • Round 1: folded into 4ths, then triangles. Dyed with fiber reactive dyes in blue + black. (4 canvases)
  • Round 2: folded into 4ths, then triangles. Bleached with pure bleach. (same 4 canvases)
  • Round 3: folded into 3rds, then triangles. Dyed with fiber reactive dye in black (depicted here). (same 4 canvases and 1 un-dyed canvas)
  • Round 4: two bundles were folded into eighths (I think), then rolled. Bleached with pure bleach. (see below).

Results of the first round of dyeing (above), after it was bleached (below) the second round.


Close-ups of the fabric before it was dyed a second time.


Fold the fabric into thirds like an accordion. Then fold into triangles. Bind with rubber bands.

Mix dye with a small amount of water in the large container to form a paste.

Once the dye is dissolved, pour remaining water into the container to form the dye bath. I like to use warm water so the soda ash dissolves easier. 

Add soda ash and stir until completely dissolved. 

Dip each edge of the triangle into dye, squeezing slightly to remove excess dye. I believe I held the edge of the bundle for about 5 seconds in the dye.

Wrap the fabric bundles in plastic. Wait 24 hours. 

The bundles have been curing for about 24 hours. 

Remove the rubber bands. Start a cold wash with detergent. Wash 1 time cold, 1 time warm, and a third time hot, with about 2 T. detergent each time. Dry on hottest setting. 

The Results

The very dark results (left), the mostly white results (right), and the ones I left alone (below). 

This image is a little washed out. 

There were three different results.

Two bundles turned very dark. I folded them into eighths (I think), rolled them, and then bleached them again. The fabric was turned into small clutches.


I kept two bundles as is and made them into large clutches. They're a little more grey, than blue, than this picture depicts.

The mini clutches and large clutches are available at Vitae Design Collective in Des Moines, IA.

The third bundle (has a lot of white in it) is yet to be turned into something. 


The reason the 5th bundle has so much white in it was because I ran out of dye. I actually like that effect. I think part of it has to do with the amount of time the bundle is held in the dye bath and the amount of curing time. Also, only one edge of the triangle was held in the dye bath. The other edges just soaked up the last bits of dye left in the container. 

I used 2 T. of soda ash. I don't know how this affects the results. Only 1 T. of soda ash was needed. The rules are, for every cup of water used, use 1 t. of soda ash. 

About the curing time: I think I can reduce this. I need to look back on my original "how to dye" notes. I think if it cured less, there may have been more variations in the dye pattern and more white space. 


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