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Skill : Food Dyeing

Practiced by Yongju

Being newly introduced to the natural dyeing / manual dyeing scene myself, I have found it intriguing as much as i did challenging, to be teaching something that i had only also recently learnt. However, with our focus shifting towards handcrafts more than ever, I found it comforting how easy and enjoyable it was to learn the foundations of these techniques.


A technique originating in Japan, Shibori is a manual resist dyeing technique capable of producing a number of different patterns on fabric. 


A dyeing technique consisting of creating negative space with melted wax, either through stamps or drawings.

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  • any light coloured fabric

  • any food waste that gives off colour (I used onion skins)

  • salt 

  • Vinegar

  • Wax (in case you want to do the Wax resist dye)

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Step 1. Bring pot full of water to a boil, add onion skins and simmer for approximately 1 hour or until the water gets colourful!

For the next step you have 2 specific techniques! Shibori, which will create a repetitive pattern by folding and Wax Resist, which will allow you to manually illustrate shapes with the wax!

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Step 2. While your dye is simmering, fold the fabric you chose, in repetitive patterns. You can also iron down creases on each fold to allow the dye resist to be more effective. Hold together with thread, hairband, anything you have!

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Step 2.1. Hold together with thread, hairband, anything you have!

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Step 2: While your dye is simmering you’ll start preparing your wax. On another stove boil water in a saucepan.

Step 2.1. Put a smaller bowl in the saucepan while the water boils and put your small pieces of candle wax in it, wait for it to melt.

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Step 2.2. Lay fabric flat, use throwaway cardboard, paper, wood to dip in the melted wax and press onto the fabric. The wax will “protect” the fabric from dyeing later in the process.

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Step 2.3. The wax will “protect” the fabric from dyeing later in the process.

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Step 3. Drain content, separating the onion skin to the dye solution.

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Step 4. Prepare the fixing solution in a big clean bowl : Fill it to ¾ with water. Add 5 tablespoons of table salt & 1 cup of vinegar. Stir a little and dunk the bound fabric into the bowl and leave for 2 hours. Afterwards, let it dry and you're good to go!

NOTE: for those who used the wax method, scrape off the wax after this step.

DATE: Tuesday the 14th of April, 2020


Text and skill: Yongju Jun

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