Turmeric Dye

Being an artist is fun. There are so many ways to create and express yourself. I have recently decided to learn the art of plant based dyes. There are so many more plants you can dye with than I ever thought!  I want to try them all.

My first experiment is with turmeric. A pretty common natural dye, so I thought it would be a great place to start.

IMG_0629   Processed with VSCO with a9 preset

What you’ll need:




Large pot

Rubberbands or cotton string

Rubber gloves

100% cotton fabric or clothing of some sort


Begin by washing your fabric to ensure any startch is removed. Following that, fill the pot with vinegar and water (4 cups water to 1 cup vinegar). Fill enough to cover all your fabric, but don’t put the fabric in yet! Heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes and then insert the cloth and let it simmer for one more hour.

After the hour has past, empty the pot into a sink or tub. Rinse the cloth until the scent of vinegar is gone. It shouldn’t take too much rinsing. Set the cloth aside, still damp.

Now prepare your dye pot. Fill the pot again with water–I didn’t measure this, just filled enough to cover the cloth. Add about a half cup of turmeric. You can play around with how much you put in, depending on what shade you want. Let the dye simmer without the fabric for 10 minutes. While you wait you can use rubberbands or cotton string to tie off certain sections for that tie dye effect.


Insert your fabric into the dye pot and summer for 15 more minutes, stiring frequently. After this time has past let it sit for as long as you want, dependong on what shade you want. I let it sit for a few hours. The fabric will appear a couple shades darker then you want when it comes out of the pot and will lighten up after rinsing and washing.


When you pull your fabric out, rinse it REALLY well with cold water. And don’t forget to use your rubber gloves, unless you want yellow hands. Rinse it gently until the water is clear then place it in the dryer. The heat from the dryer helps set the color. After it is dry, you’ll want to wash it separately or with some towels.

The turmeric filled my kitchen with a lovely spicy scent during this process. I dyed about a yard of cloth and and a thrifted shirt and the color came out beautifully with both. I enjoyed this dying process and can’t wait to try more! My next dye experiment willl be with black beans!


Follow my Pinterest board: natural dyes for more natural dye inspiration.

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