DIY Projects

February 3, 2015

DIY Shibori-Style Pillow Cover

Senior style editor Morgan Michener loves the graphic yet soft-edged look of this traditional Japanese tie-dyeing, so she decided to make her own shibori-inspired speckled pillow covers (far left pillow). Here’s how:

Materials and Tools

  • Cotton
  • Silk or wool
  • Kosher salt
  • Sodium carbonate
  • Two plastic buckets
  • Twine
  • Fabric dye

Step 1: Wash and cut fabric. Choose a natural fabric like cotton, silk or wool; synthetics won’t take dye as well. Wash the fabric without soap to remove sizing (coating) and let dry. Cut fabric into 24″ squares and save all scraps for test-dyeing.

Step 2: Wet the fabric in a water bath of water, kosher salt and sodium carbonate (available at dye or craft stores) in a plastic bucket, then wring out so it’s damp. (This will prep the fabric to take dye.)

Step 3: Lay fabric out flat and place a 1″ or 2″-diam. dowel or plastic pipe at one edge, on an angle. Roll the fabric onto the dowel or pipe.

Step 4: Tie one end of the dowel with twine to secure fabric to dowel. Continue to wrap the twine around the dowel at regular intervals, then tie off at the other end. Push the fabric down towards one end of the dowel so it bunches up around the twine.

Step 5: Prepare dye bath according to instructions on fabric dye. I used Procion MX and mixed a dye bath of fabric dye, water, kosher salt and sodium carbonate in a second plastic bucket. Dip a 1″-wide sponge brush into the dye and use it to draw vertical stripes along the fabric, running parallel to the length of the dowel or pipe.

Step 6: Let dye soak into fabric for 5 minutes. Stir the dye bath, then give the stripes another coat of dye with the brush.

Step 7: Leaving the twine in place, put the dowel in a microwave-safe bag or bowl covered with plastic wrap and microwave each fabric square on high for 5 minutes. Unfold, rinse lightly and let dry. Sew the finished squares into simple knife-edged pillow covers and fill with inserts.

Author: Morgan Michener & Kristen Koch

Angus Fergusson


Tray and round floral-shaped dish, Mjölk; tea set, Cynthia Findlay Antiques; pillow sewing, Tonic Living; fabric, Designer Fabrics; dye, G&S Dye.


House & Home March 2015 issue