A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Monday, October 1, 2012

3D Shibori on Polyester

The first time I read about 3D Shibori on Polyester Fabric was in the Australian magazin Embellish, issue no 4 - 2010. The complicated title caught my attention but even more, the amazing pictures! Had to try it myself, so why not join me, during the month October as I will be the host for a new Fire-experiment?

First of all, I found an old, 100% polyester scarf, with a nice polka-dot, so I used my shibori binding skills to ty in marbles. With cotton crochet yarn, start to wrap making sure you wind over the beginning thread to secure it. After 3 or 4 windings, do not cut the thread but just go to the next point and repeat the process. It will be so much easier to undo later on:

Then we set it on fire ;-): boil the prepared fabric for 15 to 30 minutes. And if I say boil, I do mean BOIL, with bubbles. Reshaping polyester is permanent when it is heated!

Once boiled, the fabric is plunged into cold water to cool it down before undoing the shibori tie. Please make sure to do so, before you unwrap the marbles! The fabric does not have to be dry, but it should be cold.

And voila, the final result is a permanent 3D texture, which is so intriguing:

Next to marbles, you can also ty in coins or buttons, my second try:

 Oops, better not use coppercoins:

But the shadowplay is so nice in white!

Third try, a piece of leftover polyester fabric, nicely printed in soft colours:

I love this piece of sea anemone (please enlarge it to see it in full):

Polyester is hard to dye with procion MX, I know, but I had to try it, my fourth try, the greyish tone is the best I got:

I might be more successfull by using disperse dyes. Will try that next weekend. Autumn is coming in the Netherlands, making a nice scarf is a good reason to spend extra time in the studio! Don´t you urgently need a new scarf?


  1. When you were telling me about this technique, I kept trying to figure out how you were going to paint or dye polyester to make it 3-D. LOL

    I have been collecting polyester sheers for layering. Just think how much more interesting the layering will be with this 3-D texture!

  2. This looks like too much fun. I will have to give it a try.
    Thanks for the great tutorial.

  3. I have never heard of anything like this. It is SO interesting. I'm intrigued by how nicely the polyester takes on the shapes. I'm thinking of all kinds of things that might be tied into the poly to give it shape. VERY COOL tutorial. Can't wait to try it.

  4. What a fascinating way to add texture. Must give that a go some time. It sounds really interesting. (and I love the look of the effect with the marbled fabric). What a great way to use old polyester scarfs!

  5. Wow! This is great! Thanks for the tutorial!

  6. This is so cool - thanks for the pictures! Something new to try, as I marble on polyester a lot!

  7. I can't wait to try it. I have some old sheer curtains that are probably poly -- I'm going to have to try them.

  8. Lovely results! If you have an electric vegetable steamer it works just as well as boiling for shibori - more convenient to do in a studio if you don't have a hotplate there.


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