Indigo Shibori Patterning Techniques

July 26, 2021

Indigo Shibori Patterning Techniques


Indigo exists in plants that grow all over the world. It is virtually the only blue dye that occurs in nature. With a fascinating history, indigo is equally fascinating to use: the blue color “magically” appears as dipped fabric is exposed to oxygen in the air! This unique property sets indigo apart from every other dye and makes it especially well-suited for patterning techniques. The dye produces a wide range of blues, from a pale sky blue to the deepest navy. Prized by countless cultures for millennia, indigo is still used today for coloring blue jeans. Jacquard’s synthesized indigo is molecularly identical to the naturally occurring dye and comes pre-reduced 60% for unprecedented ease of use.

all natural fibers including: cotton, linen, silk, canvas, hemp, wool, wood and more.


  1. Fold, tie or bind your garment or fiber.
  2. Thoroughly wet or soak your fabric in water.
  3. When you are ready to begin dyeing, remove the cover from the vat.
  4. Squeeze excess water and air out of your fabric.
  5. While still squeezing your fabric, slowly submerge your piece into the dye vat. Once the fabric is submerged, gently manipulate it to ensure that the dye will penetrate the unbound parts evenly. You may work the piece in the vat underneath the surface for one to several minutes in this way.
    Note: Do not drop the fabric in the vat and let it sink to the bottom. There will be residue that has settled on the bottom of the vat and you don’t want to stir that up while you are dyeing. The residue can cause spots on your dyed piece.
  6. When you are ready to take the fabric out of the vat, squeeze it just below the surface as you slowly remove it. You want to prevent splashing because it introduces oxygen back into the vat. The fabric will be the same yellow-green of the vat. Slowly, the fabric will begin to turn blue as the oxygen in the air contacts it. Place the cover over the container.
  7. Set aside the fabric to allow the piece to completely oxidize. You may want to turn the piece and open up any areas that you want to turn blue. Let oxidize for about 20 minutes.
  8. If you’re satisfied with the color after letting the piece oxidize, rinse excess indigo from the piece. Then untie it and wash with a mild detergent in warm water. To achieve a darker shade of blue, repeat steps 4 through 7.
  9. When you’ve finished your dyeing session, use your stir stick to gently stir the vat, as before, in a circular motion. Place lid back onto vat and let settle for at least an hour before using the vat again. The vat will keep for several days or weeks and you will be able to dye several times. See Tending an Indigo Vat section.
  10. When you are ready to dispose of the vat, empty contents down the drain. Clean up bucket and utensils with a powdered cleanser or soap.