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Dip-Dyed Scarves

Inspired by a traditional Japanese textile, this versatile accessory is just a length of fabric and a bottle of dye away.




To create traditional Japanese textiles using the shibori technique, a plant was often plucked, fermented, and reduced to make an indigo dye, and then a piece of fabric was folded, compressed, or twisted, bound, and dipped into it. Consider this project a shortcut: To achieve almost the same effect, you need little more than a length of fabric (nearly any fiber will work), a bottle of blue dye, and a few plastic bins.

The result is a lightweight scarf perfect for crisp fall days that can be wrapped, dangled around your shoulders, or even worn as a belt. The look is elegant but also as loose as the process itself. Choosing a Fabric Different fabrics soak up color in different ways. Experiment with scraps of fabric, the widths of the accordion folds, and the dilution of the dye.

These four scarves are made of, from far left, cotton, bamboo rayon, rayon, and crepe de chine silk. The longer you dip your scarf, the more likely the dye will bleed.

Resources: Cotton gauze scarf, 15" by 60", bamboo rayon scarf, 11" by 60", rayon scarf, 11" by 60", and crepe de chine scarf, 15" by 60", Liquid dye, in Denim Blue, Royal Blue, and Aquamarine, and dye fixative,


  • Scarf
  • Iron
  • Clothespins
  • 3 plastic bins
  • Liquid dye
  • Dye fixative


  1. Step 1

    Accordion-fold scarf. Press with iron, and secure with clothespins. (If scarf is wider than bins, fold in half widthwise after accordion-folding.)

  2. Step 2


    Mix dye in a bin according to manufacturer's instructions. Dip scarf's folded edge in dye (the resulting stripe will be twice as wide as the dip).

  3. Step 3

    Dip scarf's folded edge in another bin filled with cold water to rinse it.

  4. Step 4

    Mix fixative in another bin according to manufacturer's instructions. Dip folded edge in fixative to set.

  5. Step 5

    Clip accordion-folded scarf to a clothesline or a pants hanger hung from a broom handle suspended between chairs. Place newspaper or a drop cloth underneath scarf to protect surfaces. Let hang until completely dry, about 1 day.

Martha Stewart Living, October 2012



Reviews (16)

  • joyfulnspirit 31 Jul, 2014

    I really want to try this project but I am a little confused by the comments I've read. If you look at the scarves they've created, they are an easy breezy style. I say don't over think it and go with the flow. Experiment on some fabric before you try it out on your new favorite scarf. I guess that would be my suggestion. Plus I doubt Martha puts these crafts online herself, she has a team of people who will do that. Yet they should check the comments and reviews more often, just saying.

  • melw617 6 May, 2013

    OK, everyone, I found this video today on youtube. It helps me picture what I think they mean in the instructions. I'm going to try it this week for mother's day.

  • jbelliss 4 Apr, 2013

    I went into the fabric store and bought the scarf size according to what was written on the bottom of this webpage. I cut the fabric without even thinking and once it was cut I noticed that the fabric is incredibly small for a scarf! I must have not realized it because, being Canadian, I don't understand inches. I am truly disappointed. The scarves in the picture look MUCH larger. Some advise to those who are attempting this craft? Measure a scarf size you like BEFORE you buy your fabric!

  • lotsokittycats 2 Apr, 2013

    How awful & disappointing that both MStewart &/or whomever it is who is supposed to be watching over, reading, reviewing the comments placed on these review pages aren't paying ANY attention to what we've been saying. Thus far, & at least since late last year, those of us who've written in (and I'm sure many more who haven't commented) have asked for more/clearer instructions but NO ONE IS LISTENING TO US! What a shame that she's gotten SO BIG that us (little people) don't warrant an answer!

  • Salt and Sugar 2 Apr, 2013

    Just go to for scarves ready for dying. Scarves have finished edges when needed. It is a great company. There are also dyes a lot better then Rit.. you will find it there, plus lots of good tutorials.

  • NorthShore 2 Apr, 2013

    The instructions mention Drama Trading Company. They sell scarf blanks - already hemmed and ready to use.

  • marvalas 20 Oct, 2012

    I don't know - but picture 2 shows the edge that goes across the fabric - not longwise. I do agree that some of the instructions could have been written by the techs who write the manuals for the people who already know how to do the project, not the people who are seeking basic help.

  • Toadflax 14 Oct, 2012

    Sorry about the above comments---I just signed up and didn't know what I was doing! I really want to make this scarf but my question is----what about the edges? That's not mentioned. Do they have to be hemmed or will they fray naturally? Any ideas???

  • Toadflax 12 Oct, 2012

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  • Toadflax 12 Oct, 2012

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  • Toadflax 12 Oct, 2012

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  • Joannea10 4 Oct, 2012

    Need more input, a show of this would be really helpful. thanks for asking. jb.

  • lotsokittycats 2 Oct, 2012

    I totally agree with the last comment and this isn't the first time that MS's crafts directions are very confusing and/or unclear! I, too, would like to see a video done (come on, Martha! Can't you afford to pay someone to make a quick/cheap video?). In any case, I'm also confused about the folding process. Is the fabric folded vertically or horizontally (no where is that made clear) and then, again, there's talk of placing the folded edge into the dye (WHICH folded edge?) Please help!

  • pg4363 2 Oct, 2012

    The dyeing directions are a bit confusing and unclear. A video would be nice to see for this one. I would very much like to try this, once I know I clearly understand what to do.

  • Gibby35 2 Oct, 2012

    I'm confused...dip the folded edge...are you saying one side of the scarf after folding accordion style? Excited about trying this!

  • Arness Goodman 23 Sep, 2012