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  • Writer's pictureMade by Tori C.

Turmeric Tie Dye

Updated: Jun 25, 2021

Make your own yellow dye at home using ground turmeric! This hands-on activity can be great for teenagers and school-age children. Some children may need assistance with using the stove, handling hot water and ground turmeric—it can accidentally stain many things, which makes it a great ingredient for dye! Also, patience is key when waiting for the dye to set overnight. The longer the turmeric dye can set, the brighter the color will come out. We made tie dye dish towels to give to our moms as gifts. What will you tie dye? Have fun and let us know how it goes!


1 tbsp ground turmeric

2 cups of water

1 large pot

1 large spoon (metal’s best, because the turmeric can stain easily)

100% cotton item (t-shirt, dish towel, pillowcase, etc.)

At least 3 rubber bands

A rimmed baking sheet or a large dish that can hold excess liquid

Step 1: Wash & dry.

Wash and dry cotton item. Especially if it’s brand new, there may be some processing chemicals on it that can prevent the dye from setting in.

Step 2: Boil water.

Pour 12 cups of water into a large pot and set on medium-high heat to bring to a boil. This can take up to 20 minutes long, so start the next step while you wait.

Step 3: Tie dye twist.

While the water is boiling, twist your cotton item using a tie dye technique of your choice. These pictures show the simple spiral technique. Add rubber bands all around to hold it together.

Step 4: Add turmeric.

When the water starts boiling, add about 1 tbsp of ground turmeric and occasionally stir for 5 minutes.

Step 5: Dye your cotton item.

Place your cotton item on a rimmed baking sheet and use a large spoon to pour dye onto the cotton item wherever you like. Pour more dye in some areas than others to create different shades of yellow and you can also flip it over to add to the other side. If you want to dye an entire cotton item, you can just put it in the pot and let it sit for at least 5 minutes.

Step 6: Overnight setting.

After you are done using the dye, be sure to turn your stove off, and then let the cotton item/s sit overnight.

Step 7: Wash & dry again.

The next morning, unravel your tie dye twist and then wash and dry it. Be sure to place your tie-dyed item in the washing machine and dryer alone, so nothing else is accidentally dyed yellow!

Step 8: Make it yours.

When it is done, parts of it might be pale yellow, and other parts might be bright yellow. You can add things like embroidery, buttons, or fabric paint to personalize it even more if you want!

Share with us what you make by leaving a comment, emailing, or through any of our social media platforms!

We love seeing everyone’s finished product and hearing their stories

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