Learn How to Make Boshi Shibori Patterns

I am excited to introduce you to boshi shibori technique today, another technique to help you create your very own shibori designs. Boshi shibori helps you form completely white areas of resist which is particularly useful when creating shibori landscapes. The shapes need to be simple, circles, half circles, simple flower shapes. Additionally, it is better that the design areas are of a regular proportion, most importantly not long and narrow shapes.

To give you some ideas, the images below show how the boshi shibori shapes can be used in creating a landscape in shibori.

Two examples of shibori landscapes using boshi shibori to create a heavenly presence.

Today all the examples I will show you are circles.

Examples of What Can Be Achieved With Boshi Shibori

Here we have examples of some of the markings you can achieve with this technique. Straightforwardly, as in the blue example you can get a clear sharp circle. But sometimes the colour may seep around the edges like the red example. Likewise, colour can creep into the centre and create a halo effect as the gold circle here. I think of these as happy accidents! Don’t expect perfection and enjoy the serendipitous results of this technique.

The Method for Boshi Shibori

Take your plain cotton fabric. Draw around a lid or small plate or jar to make your circle. Stitch with a double thread following the line, leave the ends long. Gather the circle up placing a “core” underneath and pulling tightly to it. Finally place a small piece of plastic bag or polythene a little bigger than your circle, over the raised circular shape. With a strong thread bind the polythene and “core” in place.

I have shown you how to make a circle 5 cm or 2″ in diameter. Additionally, you can make much larger circles up to 8″ or 20 cm in diameter. For this you will have to make a much larger “core”. But the method of creation is the same.

Ways To Make the Cores to Bind Around

Numbered example of different types of cores for boshi shibori

Some things you will find around the house. You are searching for things 2 to 3 cm or ¾” to 1” diameter. But you can make your own out of a scrap fabric and we all have lots of that!


Make use of plastic or wooden cotton reels

Using a cotton reel, you will need to block the hole in the middle, otherwise the dye colour will seep in underneath. Here I show doing this with a small dowel or biscuit used by woodworkers. Another way would be with small scraps of fabric rammed in.

plastic and wooden cotton reels


a section of balsa wood or dowel

CORE NUMBER 4 make a fabric core

This is the best method, to form your own. Take a piece of fabric 27 cm x 10 cm / 11” x 4”. This will give a core 2.5 cm high x 2 cm diameter. The guide here is you require a piece of fabric 4 x the height of the final core you want. Furthermore, if the fabric is thin, you will need a longer piece.

Fold the fabric into four along the length. Starting at one end roll up tightly. Finally, stitch the end of your roll to hold in place. This annotated drawing explains the process well.

Annotated diagram “How to make a fabric core for boshi shibori”

The fabric cores which I make myself have that bit of give in them allowing for the string you bind the fabric and plastic with to strongly grip and hold tight through the dyeing process.


Use a small plastic object. Search the back of the kitchen drawers or in the garage and see what you find.


In conclusion, the information I have given you will help you in your journey to build and make your very own shibori designs and patterns.

This blog is a great introduction to boshi shibori for making completely white areas in your shibori designs. If you want to know more do join one of my Zoom workshops. I describe and show this technique on my creating a shibori landscape course.

If you are a complete beginner to shibori you will enjoy my course “Create A Collection of Flowers in Shibori Stitch Resist” Here is the link

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