Shibori with Watercolor on Paper

Have heard of shibori? It’s a Japanese fabric dying technique using indigo dye and it’s been pretty popular for a while now. Case in point, this shirt that I had to have from Madewell:

I was playing around the other day and hit upon a technique that makes shibori-like prints on paper — so cool you all! I happened to be working on small pieces of watercolor paper so I just kept making more — it’s kinda mesmerizing watching the color move and blend.

Here you can see the printed version on the left and the original next to it.

This technique is super simple to do — I made a quick video to demo it for you right here that uses pink + orange liquid watercolors but the concept is the same — just use an indigo blue instead.

The basic steps are:

  1. Wet watercolor paper with clean water
  2. Apply lines of color — to get the shibori look I used Avery Elle’s liquid watercolor in sapphire — I bet other watercolors would work too but I haven’t tried that yet. If you’re using regular watercolors I’d recommend mixing up your color in a small container and then using an eyedropper to apply it
  3. Use a comb and run it across the paper — and that’s it!

I decided to scan these in and then print them out to use for mini art prints. My printer isn’t the greatest and the paper always jams when I try to use anything besides regular ole boring copy paper — ha! So for now I just have this printed on that. I’m kinda thinking that I’ll have it printed on nice paper from someplace such as Artifact Uprising or Parabo Press.

And here you can see a print on a little shelf by my bed.

These are some souvenirs from our recent month-long road trip: leftmost postcard from Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California, Joshua Tree National Park, cholla from West Texas, the shibori print, dewberry from our yard, rocks from my cousin’s ranch in Arizona and the Keep Going print is one that Tina at Life Love Paper did for Studio Calico.

The next day, I liked it even more.

Supplies I Used

Supplies I Want to Try

Can’t wait to make some more.

Before you go, I’d love to hear if you’d be interested in purchasing a digital print of these? I’ve been thinking of opening an etsy shop for a while now and this could be the start! — xoxo

12 Replies to “Shibori with Watercolor on Paper”

  1. Just fabulous Lisa. I love these. TFS xxx 💜 xxx

  2. Stephanie Stratton says:

    Excellent new technique- easy!!! I will try and if I can’t get it the way I want it for my all blue bedroom, I’ll be back!!!

    1. Oh I’d love to see!

  3. These are so cool!!! I LOVE this fun technique. I need to try it!!

  4. These are just fabulous! I’ve been sitting here all afternoon scanning for something I could do in watercolors to use as guest room art. Bingo! Love this and these new Avery Elle colors are perfect for what I need. I’ve been card making and scrapbooking for yrs – it’s always like finding a new treasure when I come across a new-to-me technique. Thank you, Lisa!

  5. barbara lassiter says:

    Love these and would, even if blue wasn’t my favorite color! You are so creative! :)

  6. Amazing! And for card backgrounds, just a little sentiment, done, to not take away from the beauty.

    Of course you always make things look easy; I’ll reserve judgment of how mine will look. : )

    (Beth from the SC sketch class way back when)

  7. I should add that having received scary health news (not for me), I’ve been pretty down and low energy lately, and this beautiful blog entry revved me up. You never know what effect sharing will have. So thank you.

    1. Oh Beth! Sending hugs, girl! xoxo

  8. Lisa, I just tried it. My comb is curved – doesn’t work so well! But it is addictive. I wanted a little white on some of the thicker lines so tried a Sharpie fine point paint pen. It worked well even if a tiny bit damp – just absorbed into the blue a bit, didn’t jump out at you.

  9. Dorothy Mutafopulos says:

    Loving the technique and background is so awesome too!!! Love it !

  10. […] there! Today I’m sharing a card set that was inspired by an awesome technique the fabulous Lisa Spangler showed awhile […]

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