Shibori: Kanoko Technique

Posted by Ciara on 28th Mar 2024

Shibori: Kanoko Technique

Kanoko Technique

The Kanoko shibori style is one of the easier Shibori techniques to duplicate because it only requires some twine. Plus, it is the most similar to tie-dyeing.

Select your Dye Type

If the fabric you plan to dye is a natural fabric (such as cotton, linen silk, ramie or wool), rayon or nylon, then select the instructions for working with Rit All-Purpose Dye below.

If the fabric you plan to dye is synthetic (i.e. contains more than 35% polyester, acrylic or acetate), then select the instructions for working with Rit DyeMore for Synthetics below


  • Rit All-Purpose Dye
  • Rit ColorStay Dye Fixative (Recommended)
  • Twine
  • Salt (If Dyeing Cotton, Rayon, Ramie or Linen)
  • Vinegar (If Dyeing Nylon, Silk or Wool)
  • Plastic Container or Stainless Steel Sink
  • Dishwashing Liquid
  • Measuring Cup
  • Plastic Gloves
  • Plastic Table Clover


Step 1.

Before dyeing, remove any visibile stains on the fabric. This will help achieve uniform colour results when dyeing. Prewash item in warm, soapy water without any fabric softener. This helps to remove any finishes that may interfere with dye absorption.

Step 2.

Gather supplies. Shibori is traditionally done with Indigo hues.

Step 3.

Cover work area with plastic table cover and have paper towels handy to protect against any possible spills.

Step 4.

Wet fabric and squeeze out any excess water.

Step 5.

To create a traditional Kanoko pattern, pinch the center portion of the fabric and hold it in the air, letting the 4 corners drop.

Step 6.

About ½” from the pinched center, wrap fabric tightly with a rubber band.

Step 7.

Continue by wrapping twine in a crisscross pattern down the length of the fabric. Pattern will vary based on the spacing and wrapping of the twine.

Step 8.

Fill a plastic container or stainless steel sink with two gallons of hot water. The water should ideally be 140ºF / 60°C. If tap water is not hot enough, heat water on the stove and add to the dyebath.

Step 9.

To enhance the colour: (1) add 1 cup / 470 mL of salt when dyeing fabrics containing cotton, rayon, ramie or linen; (2) add 1 cup / 470 mL of vinegar when dyeing fabrics containing nylon, silk or wool.

Step 10.

Add 1 teaspoon of dish detergent to help promote level dyeing.

Step 11.

As a general guideline, one liquid bottle or two powder packages dyes up to two pounds of dry fabric.

Step 12.

Wearing rubber gloves, add well-shaken dye or powder package(s) to dyebath.

Step 13.

Add fabric to dyebath. For a high contrast pattern, keep the fabric in the dyebath for about 3 to 5 minutes to keep the wrapped part dye-free. For more colour and less white areas, leave the fabric set in the dyebath for 10 to 20 minutes.

Step 14.

When desired colour is achieved, remove wrapped fabric from the dyebath. Do not remove twine.

Step 15.

We strongly recommend using Rit ColorStay Dye Fixative immediately after dyeing and before washing. It enhances the colour, increases color retention and prevents dye from bleeding into white areas. Follow these instructions.

Step 16.

Rinse in cool water until rinse water begins to run clear.

Step 17.

Carefully remove twine and unfold the fabric.

Step 18.

Wash in warm water with a mild detergent, rinse and dry.