By now, I am sure many of you are well aware of my love for Shibori. In fact, many of you are probably wishing I would shut the hell up about it. Well, I am not going to stop gushing over it just yet, because I found a cost-effective way to incorporate this boho-inspired style into your summer attire. Let me show you how I made Shibori beach towels on a super low-budget.
So I had some white, cotton bath towels that I no longer loved as they had gradually accumulated remnants of eye make-up and spray tan throughout the years (I should have known better…white towels are really only for “looks”). I had been itching to try my hand at Shibori, so I decided to make some tie-dye beach towels just in time for summer.
For your convenience, I have included affiliate links to products used in this design. That simply means if you click on one of the links and buy something, I receive a small commission, but don’t worry… you won’t pay a dime more.
- cheap cotton towels (these are similar to what I used)
- dye(I used this one)
- Soda Ash (recommended for best results)
- stick for stirring dye mix
- 5 gallon bucket
- rubber gloves
- rubber bands
- plastic or something to prevent messes
Step 1: Prepare your dye following the manufacturer’s instructions. For best results, I recommend first preparing your towels with a soda ash treatment (I skipped this step and regret it).I used one bottle of dye and it was just enough for four towels. I didnt learn until after the fact, but for darker colors, Rit dye recommends using double the average amount of product.
Step 2: Begin folding your towels with rubber bands to form your desired pattern. This was a learning curve for me. What I learned quickly, is that the 2 thicker towels I used did not do well with the shibori technique, while the two thinner, cheaper towels I owned retained their pattern much better. The issue with the thicker towels I believe partly was the pattern I used. Like a dumba$$, I choose circular patterns for the more plush towels, and by the time I had swirled the towel in the bucket of dye, many of the rubber bands had popped off. So this is why I suggest using cheap towels for this project.Also, thicker materials limit you more in the type of techniques you can use. I found the following 2 techniques to be the most successful.
Step 3: After you have prepared your patterns by applying the rubber bands to your liking (so many possibilities), dip each towel into your bucket of dye. I recommend only doing one towel at a time. Put the towel in for a minimum of 10 minutes, but the darker you prefer, the longer you need to keep your towel submerged (looking back, I would have kept mine in for 15-20 minutes versus the recommended 10 minutes). Constantly swirl and stir the towel. Keep in mind that the towel will appear darker when it is wet. After you are happy with the saturation, rinse off excess dye with a hose and let dry.
Update: So I was relatively happy with the color of the dye after I rinsed off the towel and let air dry. I went ahead and took pictures for this post. As I was writing the post, I washed all of the towels in the washing machine with detergent. When I pulled them out, I noticed the color had significantly faded into a more grey-ish, purple hue as pictured below….
While I don’t hate it, I was definitely going for indigo. So, here is where I am at a loss, folks. Why the hell did this happen? Is it because I didn’t let the towels soak long enough? Or because I did not first prepare the fabric with soda ash? Or perhaps I am just an incompetent idiot? I dont know, but I would love for you guys to enlighten me in the comment box below, because I really loved this project and would love to continue perfecting my tie-dye techniques if I could simply get the color matching down.
I guess I cannot always be perfectly awesome at life (my attempt at comical relief). Anyhow, I am very happy with the patterns , and pretty stocked that I was able to inject new life into old towels. So, instead of completely trashing this project, I still wanted to share it with you. If only I wasn’t an incompetent idiot- incapable of following the instructions on a bottle of fabric dye. What the what, guys?! I guess it is time for me to drown my sorrows with tequila #firstworldproblems
Now get out there and design some good vibes.
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