Shibori Dyeing with Rit Dyes

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Learn how to create unique Kitchen Tea Towels with Rit Dyes using the traditional Shibori Dyeing Methods and Rit Dye

Explore the fun world of Shibori Fabric Dyeing Techniques the easy way, using readily available Rit Dyes and my favorite Flour Sack Towels.

White kitchen towels? Boring!! Honestly, nothing is safe around here. If something at my house is a solid color or plain white, it is only a matter of time before I add some bright color and tie dye it up.

So naturally, I also started researching various Shibori Dyeing techniques.

By the way, these are my absolute favorite towels to experiment with.

They are 100% Cotton and not only do they take the Rit dyes super well, but they very absorbent and truly the best kitchen towels I have found.

Shibori Dyeing How to Tie Dye or Shibori Dye Fabric

In This Article

Being a child of the 70s, I have always loved tie dye! Just like most people, we did our share of tie dyeing every summer, everything from T Shirts to Socks and Long Johns.

You are probably familiar with the basic tie dye folding techniques like the spiral and accordion folds. Those methods are closely related to shibori dyeing techniques. Both are forms of what is called resist dyeing.

Rit Dyed Tea Towels,

What is Rit Dye?

Rit Dye is what is known as a ‘composite dye’ which means they are made up of a variety of chemical dyes to cover many different materials and fibers.

Most dyes are fiber specific i.e. Acid Dyes will only dye protein/animal fiber and not plant materials.

Rit, however, will dye most any fibers. The drawback is that you don’t get the high quality color saturation of professional dyes. However, for the home dyer or crafter, Rit dyes are a great, affordable option.

Why Use Rit Dyes?

Why should you use Rit instead of professional fabric dyes? The main reasons are price and availability. Rit Dyes are pretty inexpensive and come in a rainbow of colors.

Plus, you can find them at almost any grocery store, Walmart or Michaels and Jo-Anne’s craft stores. 

Normally, when I am dyeing fabric or yarn, I tend to use professional dyes such as Jacquard MX Dyes for cotton or Acid Dyes for protein fibers).

But, I realize that most people are not interested in making a big investment. Nor should you! If you are just experimenting with fabric dyeing, there is really no reason to buy professional dyes.

In the past, I was not very happy with Rit Dyes but I must say, I was super impressed with the depth of color I got on these tea towels. These are not the same Rit Dyes I grew up with.

Shibori Folding Techniques

As you can see, I dyed my kitchen towels using 3 different Shibori Dyeing or Tie Dye methods. The purple one was dyed with the Kumo Shibori method which I showed you in this this tutorial. (I mixed turquoise & fuchsia colors to get the purple)

The turquoise blue towel was dyed with the Suji Shibori method just like the shawl in this tutorial.

In this post, I am going to show how to dye the fuchsia towel using rocks and marbles as a resist. 

Honestly, I am not sure what that shibori dyeing technique is called but basically, all you do is tie rocks into the towel which creates a resist and results in interesting sunbursts or circles.


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Fabric Dyeing Supplies:

Folding or Tying Your Fabric

Rit Dyed Tea Towels,

Now simply tie the rocks in place with the thread. Make sure that you wind the thread tightly around the base of the rock several times. This will keep the tie from coming undone during dyeing.

Then, simply tie a basic knot and cut the thread. Repeat, tying more rocks into the towel wherever you want the designs to show.

Rit Dyed Tea Towels,

The first thing you will do is place a bunch of your rocks or marbles on one of the towels. This will determine where the patterns will show up.

You can scatter them across the entire towel, lay them only on the edges or make designs. That is entirely up to you.

Rit Dye Instructions

Before you begin, make sure and read all of the instructions on your dye packet or container. The method I am sharing here was accurate at the time of this writing, however the steps may have changed.

Shibori Dyeing with Rit Dye

First, fill your pot with enough hot water to completely cover your towels. They should be able to move around freely without being crowded. Next, add about 1/2 cup of salt and stir to dissolve.

Now carefully, add the dye to the water. (You don’t want it to splash). How much dye you use depends on the amount of fabric you have.

Check the dye instructions for the details but obviously, the more dye, the deeper the color. I used about 1/2 of the bottle of Rit for two towels and I achieved a nice, strong fuchsia.

Finally, gently place your rock wrapped towel in the dyebath. Set your stove to high heat and then turn it down and simmer gently for about 45 minutes.

Finishing Your Rit Dyed Tea Towels

After the allotted time, very carefully remove the towel from the dyebath. Old tongs are a big help!

Rinse thoroughly in warm water until the water runs clear. This may take a while so be patient.

Now, you get to remove the rocks to see your dye pattern! That’s the fun part of dyeing. Finish by rinsing again with cold water. You want to make sure all of the dye has been removed.

Rit Dyed Tea Towels,
Shibori Dyeing with Rit Dye (Fuchsia)

Rit Dyed Tea Towels,
Kumo Shibori Dyed Fabric

Rit Dyed Tea Towels,
Suji Shibori Dyeing Method

Aren’t they pretty? Go ahead and wash your freshly dyed towels in the washing machine but separately at first, just in case they still bleed. Although, with proper heat setting and rinsing that should be minimal.

Great DIY Gift Idea! These tie dyed kitchen towels make wonderful homemade Christmas Gifts.

If you’re interested in more Shibori, Dharma Trading Company has a great article on the Art of Shibori Dyeing.

Make sure to check back for my review on the Jacquard Indigo Dye Kit. I am hoping to grow some Indigo plants in my garden next year but until then, the kit will have to do.

What is the Difference between Shibori and Tie Dye?

Shibori is a Japanese term for a very old method of resist dyeing. Shibori Dyeing involves folding, binding and tying, just like Tie Dyeing. However, the Shibori method also includes stitching to create a resists.

Tie Dye is mainly the folding, binding and tying of fabric which is then dyed. I think it is safe to say that Tie Dye is a form of Shibori.

Shibori Dyeing with Rit

Related Fabric Dyeing Tutorials:

Shibori dyeing. Learn the art of Shibori with this fabric dyeing tutorial

Shibori Dyeing how to dye fabric with the Kumo Dye Method. Hand dyed kitchen towels or napkins make a great DIY gift idea

Learn Shibori Dyeing Easy way to Dye Kitchen Towels

Shibori Dyeing Learn how to hand dye fabric using the Suji method of dyeing

Dyeing Fabric with RIT Dyes

Shibori Dyeing with Rit Dyes

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