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I have been looking for some new pillow covers for the family room sofa. I wanted navy and white with a shibori style pattern but had a hard time finding something I liked OR they were pretty pricey. Since I’m always up for a fun new craft I thought I’d try my hand at dyeing some myself and I love how they turned out!

DIY Shibori dyed pillow covers

I found some covers on a Target run and remembered to pick up some Scotchgard™ Fabric & Upholstery Protector to use on the pillows I already have and add to the new covers to repel liquids and blocks stains. You can even grab a coupon here for $1.00 off any ONE Scotchgard Product.DIY Shibori dyed pillow coversscotchgardcoupon DIY Shibori dyed pillow covers

There are so many different dyes and products out there so it’s really your preference. Traditionally Shibori is a Japanese manual resist dyeing technique that was used with indigo on silk and hemp. By compressing, binding, folding or twisting the fabric in different ways you can get unique patterns after dyeing. You can buy a full kit or just go with an indigo dye of your choice.

I used store bought pillow covers but if you like to sew you could dye your own fabric and then sew up some covers. Wash your covers first. You can leave them wet or let dry before dyeing. Leaving them wet lets the color bleed a little more. I chose to dye them dry. My favorite technique turned out to be the shape-resist technique. To do this, fold the fabric like a fan one way and then fold it again the other way so you end up with a square shape. I found some scrap wood in the garage to use on either end like a press and then used rubber bands to hold it all together.

DIY Shibori dyed pillow covers DIY Shibori dyed pillow covers DIY Shibori dyed pillow covers DIY Shibori dyed pillow covers

I also did a triangle fold (in half and then sort of a triangle accordion) with rubber bands on the ends, the pole-wrapping technique where you wrap the fabric around the pol diagonally, tie a string to one end and then wrap around scrunching the fabric down as you go, and just a random binding where I folded and crumpled the fabric and bound it with rubber bands.

DIY Shibori dyed pillow covers

Now you can toss all your fabric into a bucket of dye or, like I did, put the die into a bottle and squirt it onto the fabric.  This is a good method if you want to try to control where the dye goes or if you don’t have a lot of dye to use. Follow the instructions for your dye on how to get the color nice and deep. For the bucket dyeing method that may be leaving it in the dye for a long period of time. The way I did it I placed my covers into a plastic bag and let them sit for about 24 hours.

DIY Shibori dyed pillow covers DIY Shibori dyed pillow covers DIY Shibori dyed pillow covers

Once done rinse the piece until the water runs clear and wash it once again. This will help the color from rubbing off. Once that’s done it’s time to apply the Scotchgard to protect the covers! I love that Scotchgard gives strong protection and pushes stains away from fabric fibers so stains release easily. It also won’t change the look, feel or breathability of fabrics which is super important for those going on the sofa!

DIY Shibori dyed pillow covers

Here’s how to use Scotchgard

  1. Protect surrounding non-fabric materials from overspray. If overspray occurs, quickly wipe it up. (I used a big piece of cardboard I keep for projects like this)
  2. Shake can well.
  3. Test for colorfastness. Spray hidden area until wet and wipe vigorously with a white absorbent cloth. If color rubs off, DO NOT USE. Since I rinsed and then again washed my covers they were good to go!
  4. Hold can upright 6″ (15cm) from fabric surface. Overlap spray using a slow, sweeping motion. Two light coats are better than one heavy coating.
  5. Allow to dry between coats.
  6. Reapply after every cleaning or annually to maintain protection. Durability of protection varies with wear
    1. Re-apply the product depending on how it’s used –  every couple of months if product is frequently used, seasonally or every 6 months.

DIY Shibori dyed pillow covers

Once they were completely dry they were ready to go on the sofa!

DIY Shibori dyed pillow covers

I think they turned out so fun!

DIY Shibori dyed pillow covers DIY Shibori dyed pillow covers DIY Shibori dyed pillow covers

Everyone likes the accordion fold/shape resist pillow the best so I may need to make some more of those. I definitely had fun trying out this technique and can’t wait to use it on more.

DIY Shibori dyed pillow covers DIY Shibori dyed pillow covers DIY Shibori dyed pillow covers DIY Shibori dyed pillow covers DIY Shibori dyed pillow covers

If you’re looking for more inspiration on how or where to use Scotchgard check out this site!

Have you ever dyed fabric yourself?

DIY Shibori dyed pillow covers


Allison Waken is the founder, writer, photographer, and content creator of All for the Memories and All for the Boys.

1 Comment

  1. What an incredibly fun tutorial! Thank you so much for this idea — I love that you can make your own pillow covers! #client