arashi shibori poles

Indelco Platics

As noted by Karren Brito in her book and blog, pipes for arashi shibori need to be of a material that can withstand the heat the poles are subjected to during discharging, dyeing, and steaming. At first I used the poles that could be found at local Home Depot stores. These were schedule 40 ABS pipes. After several uses though, the pipes begin to distort and make it very difficult to wrap effectively and with the desired results. According to Excaliber Extrusions:

Schedule 80 Polypropylene Pipe –

Polypropylene pipe is light weight but as strong and durable as high density Polyethylene. Polypropylene is excellent at high temperatures where thermoplastics such as PVC and Polyethylene cannot be used.

Polypropylene pipe has resistance to common reagents such as sulfuric acid, nitric acid, hydrochloric acid and caustic soda. Resistance to abrasion is very high.

Polypropylene pipe is not recommended to be used with strong oxidizing acids such as chlorinated hydrocarbons and aromatics.

So, I have finally invested in the proper pipes and should be receiving them next week. There are many sources for this material online and you need to determine which suits you best according to your location and the shipping charges that will apply.

14 thoughts on “arashi shibori poles

  1. Eva

    Congratulations on your new pipes 🙂 One day I’d like a PP one too… My PVC one does bend quite fast. For now I think I’ll just cut the distorted end off…


  2. shiborigirl Post author

    Yes, when doing smaller pieces that is an option and I saved my PVC pipes for “solar shibori”. Cutting them isn’t really an option for me however, since I have built myself a wrapping station that necessitates that the poles be 2′ in length. Make sure you are steaming in a ventilated area (I steam outside) as PVC will off-gas fumes. Best to use PP pipes.


  3. Vashti

    Geez, the only big-diameter CPVC sched 80 pipes I could find were incredibly expensive! (Like $150 for 9 feet.) I think it might be cheaper to keep replacing my PVC pipes.


  4. shiborigirl Post author

    In the beginning, I used about 40 of the sched 40 pipes at a cost of around $4 each ($160). Not taking into consideration the hassle of struggling with distorted poles and the sometimes less than desired results achieved, (not to mention the off-gassing), I feel the $400 spent will pay for itself (and my sanity) in the long run. I also was not happy discarding the used poles- even in the recycle bin. Wasn’t sure if they were actually being recycled as our city has some limitations on the types of plastics that can be recycled. The poles arrived yesterday and I have lots of silk ready to wrap!


  5. James

    I do shibori and currently used 22″ diameter PVC pipe for regular shibori without discharging. I am not currently discharging at this time. However, I do plan on discharging when the weather cools off (I am in the cental valley of California). I looked at the website for the pipes you are now using and saw they only make them up to 2″ diameter. Do you know if they make bigger pipe? Thanks


  6. shiborigirl Post author

    james-for some reason i never saw this comment until now. 22″ diam. pipes huh? wow- thats big. what is the length and what size pieces of fabric are you working with?
    i believe excaliber has pipes at least up to 8″ OD. they will definitely be expensive!


  7. Mandi

    I just posted a question to the dyers list, but I thought I might ask you (since you’re a pro!). I want to dye some silk veils. They are 3 yards by 45″ wide. how in the world can I wrap something that big, or do I need to buy the 24″ diameter pipe? I found some online for $50 a foot. Is there a trick to wrapping a bigger piece of fabric that I just can’t see?


  8. shiborigirl Post author

    fold and iron the silk in half lengthwise 3x or however many times suits. then polewrap.
    if you buy Karren Brito’s book she has more info on polewrapping there. you can buy it directly from her on her blog, Entwinements-link provided at top of sidebar. Anyone doing arashi should have a copy of her book IMHO. She wrote the book, as we say and the small price of it doesn’t come close to the time and frustration she has saved you by writing it! have fun!


  9. Jennifer

    Shibori Girl,

    I see you wrote this post back in 2007. May I ask how have these pipes held up over the last three years? Have you had to replace them or are you still using the same ones? I would appreciate your feedback on this because in the next week or two, I plan on investing in pipes for arashi.

    Thank you!

    prismkitty21 [at]



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