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How I made easy fabric coasters in 10 minutes

Shibori fabric coasters (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk
This Shibori fabric coaster project is so easy I kind of feel bad posting it. It took me minutes to make and yet I think they look really stylish. And – seeing as I’m working on Christmas issues of my magazines at the moment – I reckon I may use the techniques employed here to whip up some handmade designer style pressies for my friends.

Shibori fabric coasters (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

I had a surplus of Shibori-dyed fabric from a recent workshop I attended and I haven’t got round to making cushions with my larger pieces of fabric yet, but I loved my scrap tester pieces that I made and wanted to do something nice with them.

Shibori fabric coasters (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

So I bought a set of blank MDF coasters, cut these scraps to size leaving a 1cm allowance. I then covered the MDF pieces with PVA. I tucked the fabric under and coated the whole lot with a varnish to seal in the fabric and protect the surface. Then once it was all dry I used a strong adhesive to apply a square of felt to the bottom to get rid of any ugly finishes and to provide a good base for the coaster.

Shibori fabric coasters (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

Shibori fabric coasters (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

I’m really pleased with them and use them all the time. A final note: a special shout out has to go for the delicious gluten-free carrot and almond cake (in the pictures, above) from the Wivenhoe Deli and Tea Rooms – I’m a fan and I’m not even gluten intolerant!

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Learning the art of Shibori

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It’s always great to learn new craft techniques – especially when they can be put to good use on home and fashion makes. I recently got to grips with the art of Shibori, an ancient Japanese dying technique, during a workshop at White House Arts in Cambridge.

Japanese printing

I went to the one-day workshop with my mum and my sister and we had a go at two Shibori dying methods; Arashi and Itajime.

Arashi shibori is also known as pole-wrapping shibori. You wrap your cloth around a pole (which looks like a large section of plastic industrial piping), then tightly bind it by wrapping a thin cord up and down the pole. Once the cord is secured, you scrunch the cloth up the pole and sink it into the dye. Arashi is the Japanese word for storm – and that’s a pretty accurate description of the kind of effect you get from this particular type of printing. As you can see above in the first picture in this post and in the photograph here:

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Itajime shibori is what is known as a shaped-resist technique. This means that an object is placed over the folded fabric (for example, a piece of wood) which be used to form a ‘resist’ that stops the dye making contact with the material. Because the fabric is folded (this can be done in many ways) the end result is a gorgeous geometric design that would look great on bedding and other homewares.

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