Simplified Shibori: Tie Dye Napkins

Originally, shibori referred to the "shaped resist dyeing" of fabric. Fabric is tightly bound with strings and selectively dipped in dye to form elaborate patterns. See video here.

The term sometimes refers to the selective dyeing of polygon-folded paper. Here, paper towels are folded origami-style and dyed to give colorful napkins.

  1. Rip off a sheet of paper towel from a roll. Cut the sheet into a square. Any size works; here, the square is about 6" x 6".

  2. Fold the sheet corner to corner to form a triangle.

  3. Repeat: fold the triangle into another, smaller triangle.

  4. Repeat two more time, each time the triangle getting smaller

  5. and smaller. In total, the sheet is folded 4 times resulting in a triangle that is one sixteenth its original size.

  6. Dip each corner of the folded triangle into dye (food coloring mixed with water, or dyes used in Easter egg decorating).

  7. When all corners are done, carefully unfold the triangle to find a beautiful pattern.
    Variation: Experiment with different folding sequences. For example, fold into a small square and dip all 4 corners. Or, pleat into a skinny strip, fold in half, then dip the edges. How about fold along the diagonal? Children who have experience with origami may find other creative ways to fold the napkin before dipping.

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