top of page


by John Marshall


Katazome literally means stencil dyeing.


The stencil is the paper prototype for a repeating pattern or design in katazome.


To create a repeating pattern on fabric, paste is pushed through the same stencil over and over again. Therefore, the stencil must be made of a very sturdy material – one that won't be weakened by the moisture in the paste and that may be easily washed and used repeatedly.


The material devised long ago for this purpose is shibugami, layered hand-screened paper impregnated with persimmon juice. Several layers of fine hand-made mulberry paper are laminated using a dark pungent tannin extracted from persimmons and smoked, the combination acting as an insect repellent and paper strengthener. The papers are usually graded according to thickness and number of layers. The thinnest is used for very delicate patterns to be applied to sheer yardage. The thickest is used for large bold designs applied to very coarse weaves. The amateur dyer will find a medium-weight paper (#10) to be suitable for nearly all types of dye work – it is easy to handle, yet very strong.


In recent times a synthetic version has come into use. As a synthetic, it does not swell when wet. Some versions may also have a rather unpleasant petroleum-based aroma.

Click on the links below for a step-by-step introduction to katazome techniques.

Stencil Design-.jpg
bottom of page