Two Ways to Fold Mandalas

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Flower mandala

Anyone else think mandala dyes are just absolutely gorgeous? I really love the beautiful flower-like patterns.

There are two ways to fold fabric to achieve this look.

Method 1: Basic Triangle Fold

Start by folding your fabric in half and then half again so that you’ve folded it into quarters.

Folding mandala

Fold back the top layer and line it up with the folded edge, creating a triangle.

Folding mandala

Fold a second time towards the same edge.

Folding mandala

Keep folding as many times as you want, lining up with the edge each time.

Flip the whole thing over and repeat with the other side.

This is the method I’ve been using to make my mandalas.

Method 2: Accordion fold

Start by folding your fabric in half and then half again so that you’ve folded it into quarters. Run your fingers along the second folded edge so that you crease the fabric, then unfold the fabric once so that your fabric is folded only in half.

Folding mandala

Match the folded edge of the fabric with the middle crease, creating a triangle.

Folding mandala

Fold back up to match the outside edge.

Folding mandala

Folding to the underside, match the triangles to the center crease.

Folding mandala

Fold the second side towards the center crease.

Folding mandala

Bring up to match the outside edge.

Folding mandala

Fold over at the center crease. You’ll have brought the second half over the top of the first half.

Folding mandala

Fold back the second half so that everything matches up. You should have a stack of triangles.

Folding mandala

You should be able to see each fold from the side. Here’s what it should look like if you’ve folded right:

Folding mandala

Tying and Dyeing

Everyone else seems to soak their fabric in soda ash before folding. The reason they do this is that it’s easier to fold and tie fabric when it’s wet, which is a totally valid reason to do it that way. The downside is that you have to wear gloves (they ruin my dexterity) and a have large enough space to toss around fabric soaked in chemicals.

I prefer to fold and tie stuff up while it’s dry and then soak it after. I’d really rather spread out on the floor to fold and sit on my bum in front of the TV while I tie stuff up. If you tie fabric while dry you have to pull extra hard to get it tight enough.

For my first mandala I drew lines with washable chalk where I wanted to tie it up and then tied it with sinew.

Folded mandala with lines drawn on
Tied mandala

 I always soak after tying for at least 15 minutes in soda ash solution and wring out as much extra liquid as I can.

I wanted more control over where the colors went so I sprinkled the dye on top of the wet fabric then layered ice on top to ice dye.

Dyeing mandala
Purple and blue mandala
Purple and blue mandala

For my second I kept folding just a little over and holding it in place with rubber bands.

Tying mandala
Tying mandala
Tying mandala
Dyeing mandala
Rainbow mandala
Rainbow mandala

I did another two where I randomly tied them off with sinew and dyed in the typical ice dye method which is where you layer the ice over the soaked fabric first then sprinkle the dye over the ice.

Flower mandala
Flower mandala
Rainbow mandala
Rainbow mandala

I have to admit, I’m kinda hooked. These kaleidoscope patterns are so mesmerizing!

Are you going to try making one?

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