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Chalk Paint and Shibori


I love classic Shibori designs.  Shibori is the Japanese art of folding and binding fabric so that it resists dye in places.  You usually see it dyed with indigo.  I decided to try doing it with chalk paint as an experiment.  Annie Sloan shows you how to dye fabric in her book Color Recipes for Painted Furniture.  You can also see examples on her web site  Annie Sloan Inspiration.  Her basic recipe is 20:1 water to paint.  You submerge the fabric for at least 30 minutes, rinse in cool water and hang to dry.  Later you set the colour in the dryer or with a hot iron.  It’s best to use deep colours because they come out much lighter than the paint and have a faded look to them.  With Shibori, it is an absolute must to use a deep colour because you want to see a contrast that is created by the binding.  I started with Napoleonic Blue in the hope that I would get something like indigo but it came out sky blue.  Provence is too pale; it came out a faint aqua.  The reds work well but you will be getting pinks.  Antibes created lime green and Graphite became grey.  I think Aubusson would be good because Annie used that on drapes and maybe Barcelona or Arles.



This is  one of the easiest Shibori patterns to create-it’s called Itajime and it is a shape resist pattern.  You fold the fabric accordion style until you get a small square then bind it with wood blocks or any shape and elastics.  I used round disks to create the white circles


This one is called Nui-it is thread resist dying.   The fabric is folded in sets of 4 pleats then basted with thread.  The threads are pulled to create gathers then it is dyed.  This was dyed with Burgundy.


This tie-dye looking pattern is Kanoko or Kumo.  You pleat and bind the fabric in places to create the circle or bull’s eye effect.  The colour was created by using Emperor’s Silk on pale  yellow fabric.

Finally, this green pillow started out as Shibori but you couldn’t see the pale pattern, there wasn’t enough contrast or perhaps it wasn’t bound tightly enough.  I stenciled over the green with Antibes and Provence.


The advantage to using chalk paint instead of dye is that is a lot easier.  You mix it with water and that’s it.  I would recommend letting the fabric sit in the dye bath for longer than 30 minutes-more like an hour.  I also found that you really need to leave some of the paint in the fabric when you are rinsing it out; other wise, you may get very washed out colours.  Heat does set it.  I think you could wash these pillow covers by hand in cold water and not have colour bleeding.  I don’t think the colours are as crisp or saturated as dye but they are pretty.  Dye is a lot cheaper to use, colours come out the way they are supposed to and it is more effective for Shibori.  But you need soda ash, salt and  it can be messy.  Would I use chalk paint again?  Probably, if I could get a deeper blue.

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