Whether you are responding to the summer anthem of “mom, I’m bored,” planning matching t-shirts for an event, or just want to have a fun DIY project for yourself or a gift for someone you love, tie-dying is always the answer! If you ever wondered if you could tie-dye using more all-natural methods, you stumbled on the right place to learn how. Turmeric creates a brilliant yellow. Let’s have some fun!
How to Tie Dye with Turmeric
I’m the Queen of great ideas that love to fail. I did a lot of research on using vegetables and all-natural methods to tie-dye, but this was the only one that worked… so far! Trust me… I’m not giving up! So before we get into the actual DIY steps of the shirt that worked, I’ll share my epic fail with you.
The DIY Fail
I wanted to use different vegetables to make a multi-colored shirt. I tried several times using beets and cabbage to make a pink and purple to pair with the yellow turmeric. But it turned out this gray-green and the shirt just looked dirty. One weekend’s worth of a project down the drain. Um… literally.
For now, let’s just go with one color, and one color that works quite well – yellow!
Gather Your Materials
Large stainless steel pot
Cotton fabric (t-shirt or whatever you want to tie-dye)
Sticks (skewers, fondue pokers, knitting needles, etc)
1 oz Turmeric
2-4 cups vinegar
Either play clothes or an apron for yourself – it’s messy!
In a large pot, use 8 cups of water to 2 cups vinegar to prep the shirt. If it doesn’t cover the t-shirt, adjust the ratio as needed. Bring to a boil and let simmer for one hour. Be sure to move the fabric around every few minutes to ensure it doesn’t stick or burn to the bottom of the pan. The vinegar acts as a fixative.
In the meantime, get the turmeric going.
I used 1 oz (one small container or 1/2 large container) of turmeric and added about 1 cup water in a separate pot and simmered for the hour while the shirt was prepping.
After an hour is up (a little longer is fine too), drain the t-shirt from the water-vinegar mixture. Some directions say to rinse, but I found that keeping a bit of the vinegar on the shirt helps the turmeric to stick.
Twist the water out. You want your shirt to still be wet, but not sopping wet. A little dripping is ok.
Pinch and Twist
There are a gazillion different tie-dye methods to make different patterns. This is your standard swirl pattern.
Lay the fabric flat on the floor.
Pinch the fabric in the center or off center. I liked mine a little off center.
Begin twisting the fabric in a circular motion and continue until all of the fabric is in a spiral shape.
Secure the spiral with three or four rubber bands.
Your t-shirt is now ready to be dyed!
Use a stainless steel or aluminum pot to make the magic happen. Add in the turmeric water and your t-shirt. If you need to add a little more water you can. Everything should be in the same pot now. Simmer for an hour or longer, and always be sure to stir occasionally and flip to cover all sides. The longer the fabric remains in the dye, the stronger the color will be. Keep in mind once you rinse the shirt, it will lose some of its color too. Turn the heat off and let the fabric hang out in the dye bath.
I let mine sit overnight to get this color. If you want a softer color you can take it out of the dye bath after an hour or two.
Remove the fabric from the dye bath, remove the rubber bands, rinse with cold water and ring gently until the water runs clean and no more dye comes out. It will lighten about one shade during the rinsing step.
And there you have it! From everything I researched, they say to hand wash with all-natural detergent or dish soap instead of the washing machine. You can probably wash it on the cold and gentle or delicate cycle. But don’t wash it with any other clothes until you know the dye has totally set.
My regular photographer (Stepson) was on a trip with Hubby, so I asked my Father to take the pictures so you can see the shirt in action.
We were at their retirement home by the community garden and the pond. It’s such a beautiful facility. I love going up to visit!
Are you Inspired?
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