DIY: Dyeing With Turmeric

I share my home with two young girls.  They’re always asking me to do projects with them. These projects are generally garden or food related, and occasionally household jobs concealed as special ‘projects’. Shhh! We were going to make soap one day but I then realised how tricky it is. So I pulled out some tumeric powder from the kitchen cupboard and dug up a piece of cotton fabric and got dyeing. It was kinda magical! This is how we did it:


  • Natural fabric like cotton, cheesecloth, silk. I used part of a coarse natural cotton drop sheet I got at a secondhand shop.
  • Around 3 tablespoons of turmeric powder (I am not the measuring type, if you use more, the colour will be deeper, less, it will be softer.
  • About a cup of white vinegar. You can also use mordant. I didn’t because I didn’t know what it was and I had vinegar in my kitchen.
  • 4 litres of water.


  • Fold/roll/scrunch the fabric and wrap with rubber bands or string to make patterns in it. If you like straight lines you could fold it neatly and use pegs and stuff to make a more shibori style design. Or you could just scrunch it up wildly, wrap it up, and see what happens!
  • Soak the fabric so it’s thoroughly wet. This will help it absorb the dye better.
  • Fill a saucepan with water, add turmeric and vinegar and bring to the boil.
  • Once water is boiling add the fabric.
  • Boil until the fabric is the colour you would like it.
  • Take the fabric out of the saucepan, run under cold water and then unwrap. This is the fun bit, its kind of like opening a christmas present!

Its impossible not to be happy when faced with a wild tie-dyed yellow extravaganza. Make it into a cushion, a dress, a bag. Or just smile.

Ps. Turmeric is not the longest lasting dye – it will fade over time. Good stuff ain’t meant to last forever anyway…

Do you want to know how to grow turmeric? We wrote about it here!

Or perhaps you would prefer to eat it? Well, you are in luck. We’ve got the most delicious recipe with the weirdest name ever. Sfoof! Here it is.

The turmeric!
Roll/fold/scrunch fabric and wrap with rubber bands or string.
Remove fabric from dye pot when you are happy with the colour.
Unwrapping the fabric is the fun bit!
The finished product.