Can you believe it’s already almost Christmas? Because Christmas is my favorite holiday, I always love to make new projects this time of year. These DIY red shibori placemats have been on my mind for a while, and I couldn’t wait to try the shibori dyeing technique with red instead of the traditional indigo to add a lot of color to a holiday table that can be used for Thanksgiving, Christmas and many gatherings after that.
Shibori is a Japanese dyeing technique in which natural fabrics are wrapped in wood blocks or rubber bands and soaked in indigo dye to achieve a kaleidoscope-like pattern. I went with a traditional square design using wood blocks. Essentially, as long as something blocks the dye from reaching the fabric (like wood or a rubber band), it will be left white when submerged in dye. Note, the longer it dyes, the more color seeps into the middle of the fabric.
- White cotton placemats
- Red dye
- Wood cut to two 3×4 inch pieces
- Rubber bands
- Large pot
- Gloves (recommended)
Prepare the dye according to the instructions on the box in a large pot on the stove.
Cut the wood into two squares about 3×4 inches. You will need two pieces per placemat, and they are reusable. You can also attempt other patterns, such as with a triangle or just by bunching the fabric in rubber bands.
Fold the placemats into a square/rectangle. Place one piece of wood on the top and bottom and rubber band it together tightly.
Run the folded placemats under cold water to wet the fabric. Then submerge the placemats into the dye while wearing gloves and keep submerged for about 5 minutes depending on the dye and how deep you want the color to appear (the longer it is dyed, the less white will appear on the placemat)
Remove placemats from the dye. Cut off the rubber bands and remove the wood pieces to reveal the pattern. Rinse under cold water until the water runs clear.
Let the placemats dry completely and iron flat to use.
I loved setting these up with lots of white and wood so that the red would really pop off the table. They’ll be gorgeous for a holiday table setting!