DIY: Shibori tie-dye napkins

For this project, we'll be using the shibori method (a Japanese tie-dye technique) with navy blue dye to really bring out the coastal colours.

Bringing a bit of the beach into the home keeps the holiday vibes strong long after summer. Having touches of blue, white, and grey; organic materials like rattan, using light wood, and hanging up sea-inspired artwork are easy ways to achieve the fun coastal trend.

For this project, we'll be using the shibori method (a Japanese tie-dye technique) with navy blue dye to really bring out the coastal colours. Scroll down for our DIY on how to create your own super chic shibori tie-dye napkins!

You will need:

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  • Fabric dyes
  • Rubber bands
  • White cotton napkins
  • Bucket
  • Empty squeeze bottle
  • Rubber gloves
  • Salt

Step 1

First, machine wash the napkins and make sure to avoid using fabric softener - it may repel the ink later.

Step 2

While waiting for the napkins to be washed, prepare the dye per instructions on the packet. Some dyes suggest using salt to help the fabric absorb the dye easier. Mix well in a bucket.

Step 3

We want to work with damp napkins, so go ahead and use them right out of the machine.

Use the rubber bands to tie up the fabric and create your preferred pattern. Here, we show you how to get four different patterns - swirls, crumpled, stripes, and circles.

Swirls

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  1. Lay the napkin out flat. Pinch and twist the centre of the napkin. Keep twisting (or swirling) the fabric from the centre until it looks like a flat rose shape.
  2. Tightly wrap it with about 6 rubber bands overlapping each other in the middle.

Crumpled

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  1. Crumple and twist the napkin randomly until it’s shaped like a ball.
  2. Tie rubber bands around the napkin to split into sections.

Stripes

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  1. Fold the napkin from the bottom up in pleats so the napkin is in a long thin shape.
  2. Tie about 5 to 8 rubber bands in sections along the long piece of napkin.

Circles

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  1. Choose the areas of your fabric where you want dyed circles to appear.
  2. Pinch and pull up these areas and tie a rubber band around them so that the fabric sticks up.
  3. Repeat this in all areas where you want circles to appear.

Step 4

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Pour the dye into a squeezy bottle for easy application. Then, take the tied napkins and squeeze ink onto the tied areas where the rubber bands are. Leave them tied up for 24 hours.

Step 5

Here comes the fun part! Rinse the napkins with cold water until the water runs clear. This is important to help reduce any dye bleeds later.

Then, remove the rubber bands and rinse with warm water until the water runs clear. Feel free to admire the patterns while you’re at it!

Step 6

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Finally, machine wash the dyed napkins again. Make sure there are no other items of clothing with the napkins, in case the dye still bleeds. Dry and iron them and voila!

The carefree look of these shibori tie-dyed napkins are a playful, chic way to bring a summery feel to the dining room when entertaining. Then, easily round off the modern coastal theme with organic elements like natural wood, rattan and sea-inspired artwork.

Highbury Oak Extending Dining Table - with 4 Bali Chairs
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Easily achieve this breezy style with our Ultimate Guide to Coastal Style at Home.

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