Monday, March 15, 2010

Star Mandala Tutorial Part 1- Folding

Though the results can look amazing, this fold is relatively simple. You will need your fabric, I'm using a square of silk, a washable marker, a ruler or straight edge, and string to bind your fabric. Oh, almost forgot, you'll need a squirt bottle set to a mist spray.

The first step is to fold your fabric into quarters. Give it a spritz of water so that it is slightly damp and the layers stick together. I also take the opportunity to smooth out wrinkles.Place your finger at the center corner of your quartered piece of fabric. Keeping your finger on this corner, fold your fabric again to create a pie wedge. Your fabric is now folded in 8ths. Fold once more to create a narrower piece of pie. Your fabric is now folded in 16ths.

16ths pie-wedge and marking fold lines
Using a ruler or a straight edge, draw a diagonal line from one edge of the pie wedge to the other. Draw a few more lines along the length of your folded fabric. These will give you a guide as to where to fold and tie. They also will help delineate your bands of color when you dye your star.
Accordion fold along the lines that you have drawn. I prefer to bind each line/fold separately. Again, these will act as a guide as to where to apply dye.

Binding the folds

An accordion fold is the basic pleating of the fabric. This is done by carefully gathering the fabric by means of gently pushing and pulling the folds together. For thinner and smaller fabrics like the silk used in this tutorial, the height of the folds should not be more than a 1/2 inch high. Thicker fabrics can require taller folds. Otherwise it can become unwieldy to work with.

Accordion fold

Folded and bound mandala star


  1. What type of dye do you use?

    1. professional dyes work best. You also need to wash in Synthropol to seal dye in and keep it from ever fading. I use from High Point NC . search for cotton dyes, they work a
      on all natural fibers- hemp, cotton, wool, silk, linen.

  2. Silk and cotton use different types of dye. If you use dye for cotton material on silk it will wash right out. When you buy the dye the manufacturer should post which fabrics the dye works on.

    1. I have used Procion Fibre Reactive Dyes from Dharma Trading ( on both cotton and silk with excellent, very long lasting results.