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zen hand drawing

How we make

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Our products are made with dyeing techniques called “Tegaki(means hand drawn) Kyo-Yuzen” which is the same process as we make our Kimono.

What is “Tegaki(means hand drawn) Kyo-Yuzen”?


Although dyeing techniques had existed since the 8th century, it is said that Tegaki Kyo-Yuzen of painting dye directly onto cloth was established by Yuzensai Miyazaki, a popular fan painter living in Kyoto toward the end of the 17th century. He introduced his own style of painting as a way of rendering patterns and this led to the birth of a hand-painted dyeing technique.

Roughly divided into 13 processes

It is the traditional style of dyeing and designing kimono in Kyoto, is known as a team endeavor that can be pursued by different kinds of craftsmen process by process.
This is how me make products by hand.

1.Rough drawing/Design

Rough drawing/Design
As a producer, we tell designers our concepts that we want to make.
After that, he draws designs with pencils and brushes.

2.Glue contouring

Glue contouring
Contours are precisely drawn with the resisting agent such as rice glue or rubber glue over the drawn preliminary sketch.
The white outline will be there in the end because the part which glue is contoured won’t be dyed.


Before painting/dyeing the background next, the patterns/designs are covered with rice starch to prevent it from coloring.
After masking the patterns, sawdust is put there.
Putting sawdust protects the glue of masking for next processes such as 5.Background color dyeing and 6.Steaming.


The glue is drawn on the cloth. This is for the next step to dye it equally.
The glue called “Funori” is mixed with warm water and dried glue plants.

5.Background color dyeing

Background color dyeing
The cloth is now being dyed. The patterns are not dyed because they are covered.
Background color dyeing
It looks pretty easy. But skilled works are needed to be able to dye it nice and equally.


The cloth is put into a steaming box for 20-50 minutes at more than 100 degrees.
By steaming, the colors become more vivid and stabilized.

When craftsman does background color dyeing, he also needs to think and dye the cloth carefully how the cloth changes after steaming.

If the background color is very dark or deep, the cloth has to get steamed again. Making deep colors stick takes more time than light colors.


Starch and unstable dyes are washed off with brushes in running water.
After washing
After washing, the white parts which are masked show up and the background color is still there.

8.Painting designs

Painting designs
This step is called “Yuzen” in Japanese. As there is a word “Yuzen” in our techniques making products “Tegaki(hand drawn) Kyo-Yuzen”, this step is the most important part.

Colors are selected from various dyes and patterns in outlines(white parts) are painted with several kinds of brushes.

Even though there are outlines using glue to avoid color leaking out the area, craftsmen need to paint it carefully for just in case.
Painting designs
Not only the craftsman paints the pattern with one color all over, but also he creates a gradient with a brush. Isn’t it awesome?
Painting designs
It’s pretty easy to create a gradient in Photoshop or Illustrator. But can you imagine that he makes it by hand?
He can not make mistakes easily because it’s not easy to fix once he painted. There are no erasers or something to fix. Therefore, he needs experiences and skills.

9.Steaming and washing

The cloth is washed and steamed again like 6.Steaming and 7.Washing
The colors that painted in the previous step become more vivid and stabilized.
After steaming and washing
The glue that contoured is finally washed and taken away. Then the white color(the fabric color) shows up because the glue can’t get dyed or painted. The white color looks like outline.

10.Gold placing

Gold placing
It might be enough already. But To make the design brilliant and gorgeous, craftsman puts gold, silver, bronze or brass on the cloth.
Gold placing
Gold placing is one of the brilliant processes in “Tegaki(hand drawn) Kyo-Yuzen”. This process is often called “Makeup“.
It’s the same as when women put makeup on. If you see a woman puts too much makeup on, how do you feel?
When the cloth is put too much gold or brass, the design will get messed up.
So Craftsman who places gold really need good tastes and experiences.


As you should already understand, “Tegaki(hand drawn) Kyo-Yuzen” is made by hand.
Our handmade products are not perfect in appearance. They are made by hand and involve no machinery in the production. There gotta be more or less something to fix such as mottled appearance, stains and so on. Refinishing work is kind of dull but always needed.

12.Water repellent coating

We consider that you use in any situations, for instance in an office, a cafe, a car, at home, on the train or on a plane. And we care the weather as well.

We don’t want to make you sad or upset because it’s ruined by running the dyes or getting stains when it rains, when you put coffee/Teriyaki sauce/water/hot water or anything.
But we know we does these things above even though we use them carefully. To avoid these things, we put water repellent coating on the cloth. Then it won’t get ruined products so easily.
However if it gets dirty, pat the spot with a damp towel. Our silk is very sensitive so do not rub it.

*Water repellent coating doesn’t mean “water proof”. Please do not wash or tumble dry.

13.Cutting and sewing

First of all, the cloth is cut by a sawing machine. When I saw cloth-cutter’s works, I was very surprised how fast she cut it and she cut the edge not to cut the white paper(a pattern for an iPad bag).
After cutting, they look very awesome.
Sewing is started.
iPad bag
Finally, it’s done.

A relay race for a couple of months

Our products are being supported by all craftsmen for sure.
No matter how fast we work, it takes 3 months from the cloths to products following the processes above.
Like a relay, our products are made through many steps/processes by craftsmen based on the division of labor. So we also are so happy when we see our products are completed.
Background color dyeing
Even though the design is the same, our products are a bit different because we make each other by hand with no machinery.
In the process of making our products, there are very good looking ones such as Painting designs or Gold placing. But the products are never completed lacking of any process. We want to introduce every process to give you something that interests you about Tegaki(hand drawn) Kyo-Yuzen on our website.