Kakishibu Liquid


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Kakishibu Liquid is a full strength solution of the tannin-rich persimmon Diospyros kaki.  It is an important color in the Japanese palette and is used as a protective wood stain, an antimicrobial, and provides a slightly crisp finish to fabrics. Japanese parasols are coated with kakishibu dye as a water repellent and katagami paper used for Japanese stencils are dark red brown from repeated soaks in kakishibu to create a strong paper for stencil making. Thanks to John Marshall, we even had kakishibu in a hard candy! The original light brown kakishibu color darkens with exposure to the sun, resulting in a warm, dark reddish brown shade.  When a kakishibu fabric is dipped in iron, stunning brown and gray colors are possible.

Kakishibu is similar to ceriops tagal in that it can be immersed repeatedly in a cold water bath and the color is built with successive dips, drying and oxidation. The dye is saved and reused until it is completely consumed.

We used kakishibu in Takayuki Ishii’s workshops for shibori patterning and achieved beautiful warm brown tones. Your results may vary.

We offer kakishibu in a 4-ounce bottle. No mordant or heat is required to use this dye.

Suggested Fabrics Any lightweight cellulose (cotton, hemp, linen) fabric dyes beautifully with kakishibu. I have not tried it with silk or wool but it does add crispness and stiffness to the fabric.

Container size  I used a very small container – approximately 1 quart – and diluted the kakishibu liquid with equal parts dye and water. This made a very dark kakishibu bath.  You could also dilute 4 ounces of kakishibu liquid with 8 ounces of water and achieve a medium shade.  It is the exposure to sunlight that darkens the shade with multiple dips.

Directions  Use the liquid full strength, or dilute with room temperature water. You may use the kakishibu at the strength you mixed, or add more water to dilute it. Pour it into a small container. Dip  damp fabric into the kakishibu bath and rotate for a few minutes, then carefully remove and allow the excess liquid to drip back into the kakishibu container. Squeeze gently to get out as much excess kakishibu liquid as possible.  Hang in sunlight.  If you want to achieve darker colors, return the fabric to the kakishibu bath and repeat.  Make sure you dry the fabric before reimmersing and briefly dampen the fabric before redipping.

Allow the kakishibu dipped fabric to air dry in sunlight. You can place a bowl or tray under the drying fabric to catch any of the precious liquid. Exposure to sunlight will darken the dye, and it is a gradual process to build up the color that occurs over a few days to a month. You can redip and air dry between dips to build up a darker color.  Rinse lightly afterwards and allow to air dry. The fabric will continue to darken.

When done, return the kakishibu liquid to a covered container such as a stoppered liter bottle or airtight jar like a Mason jar. Store in a dark place. Stir or shake before use.

For more information, check out our blog post about Kakishibu.



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