Natural dyeing is one of the oldest Korean traditions that harmoniously blend nature into daily lives. Using ingredients like persimmon or anil (a plant used to make an indigo color), people have produced fabrics in many different delicate colors. Even though most of dyeing process has been replaced by factories’ machines using artificial chemicals, a number of people have passed down the traditional way of dyeing.

Jaebin H, one of our Trazy users, succeeded in dyeing a handkerchief with a beautiful color. Why don’t we follow her footsteps of the handkerchief dyeing?

I had this handkerchief natural dyeing experience at a place called Haneul Mulbit Workshop. The class starts at 11am, 2pm, 4pm every day, and I attended the one at 11am. You can get to this place both from Anguk station and Jonno3-ga station. I think Anguk station is maybe little bit closer to get there, but in my case I went from Jongno3-ga station.

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When I got off at Jongno3-ga station, I headed for the exit 6. After I got out of the exit 6, I had to turn back and go straight down the street until I reached the first corner to turn left.

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Go straight for a while until you see this convenience store named GS25. When you reach that spot, look at your right side. Cross the street, and go into the alley in front of you.

IMG_4815 IMG_4817 IMG_4818 If you go straight, you will see a small alley on your left side very soon, like this. Go into that small alley.

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This is the place!!!! When you walk down the stairs, you will find yourself in a place like this.

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A staff will explain this natural dyeing by showing a book. The contents of the book are written in the frames as well.

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When he finishes giving you the explanation, he will give you an instruction of how to dye a handkerchief. You will be given a white cotton cloth with rubber bands, and you can freely make patterns.

IMG_4827 IMG_4828 Where you put rubber bands on the handkerchief are the spots that won’t get dyed and will be kept in white while all the other parts will get dyed, making patterns. 
When you finish this process, you can start dyeing the cotton cloth finally. You should put these rubber gloves on your hands first, and put the cloth in the bucket full of dye.

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When you take the cloth out of the bucket, you should make sure that the cloth is exposed to air sufficiently until it turns into blue from green. You have to repeat this a few more times.


When you are done, take off or cut off the rubber bands, and spread the cloth.  The staff will put your handkerchief in a plastic bag, which is the end of the experience.


But there are several more steps you have to go through after you bring it home. First, you have to dry it for two days. Second, you should put it in boiled water (or very hot water) and stir it. Third, you should put it in water with neutral detergent and stir it. When you finish rinsing it with water as a final step, now you can have your one-and-only handkerchief.IMG_4834This dyeing method is designated as one of Korea’s intangible cultural assets. I was really impressed by the fact that we could get such a beautiful color from natural resources. I heard it’s good for your skin if you wear naturally dyed clothes. I really enjoyed this experience of discovering the beauty of natural dye.

I’m so happy to have the one-of-a-kind handkerchief for myself!


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