What’s the point of buying new clothes to sit at home and do nothing in? Not a lot. However, that doesn’t mean your current wardrobe wouldn’t benefit from a makeover! Why not create a whole new tie dye look for yourself out of completely natural products.
Since last summer, tie dye has made a bit of a revival so, as we have time on our hands and brains that need to be kept occupied, how about tie dying your own clothes?
Forget normal fabric dyes. These can be toxic and cause lots of pollution. Instead try a natural substance like turmeric – which can be found in most kitchens.
If you’ve ever cooked with turmeric or eaten a turmeric-rich curry, you’ll be familiar with the yellow stains it can leave. But on top of this colourful quality, it also has huge health benefits and is an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and an antioxidant.
Turmeric is more of stain than a dye, which means it will fade over time. However, you might actually like the shade it lightens too and you can always re-dye it safe in the knowledge that its completely toxin free.
Tumeric tie dye works best on clothes made from cotton or linen. Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to turn that boring white t-shirt into a quarantine couture!
What You Will Need
- Whatever item of clothing you want to dye
- Big Pot
- Sieve (optional)
- Rubber bands
- Large Bowl
- Tongs or 2 big spoons
Step By Step
- Start by weighing the item of clothing when it is dry. Note down the weight as you will need this later.
- Place your fabric in a large bowl and fill it up with 1 part vinegar to 4 parts cold water until the fabric is covered. The vinegar will help to bind the dye to the fabric so leave it in here for a minimum of 1 hour.
- Whilst your fabric is soaking, it’s time to make the dye bath. You will need to use half the amount of turmeric to the weight of your fabric. For example if your fabric weighed 50g, you will need 25g of turmeric.
- Place the turmeric in a large pan and fill with enough water to cover your fabric (although your fabric should still be soaking in the vinegar mix at this point).
- Use a whisk to stir and remove any lumps of turmeric then place the pot on the stove and bring to simmer on a medium heat. Once simmering turn down to a lower heat and leave for 2 hours.
- After the dye has been simmering for 2 hours it’s time to prepare the fabric for the dyeing process. First remove from the water and vinegar mix and squeeze out any excess liquid (don’t throw this vinegar mixture away, you’ll need it later). Now, lay the fabric down flat on a surface and using rubber bands decide what sort of pattern you want to create (click here to see how to make different patterns).
- Optional – after 2 hours, the turmeric that has been simmering can start to form little lumps and these can stick to the fabric creating darker spots. While these can look really pretty if you prefer a more even look, sieve the mixture and place it back on the heat.
- Give the dye bath one more stir with a whisk and then add your fabric into the mixture using tongs. Leave the heat on low and keep the fabric in the mixture for 20 minutes.
- Add more water to the bowl containing the vinegar mix and place beside the dye bath. After 20 minutes, use the tong (or two spoons) to remove the fabric from the dye bath straight into the bowl of water.
- The fabric will be very hot so let it cool down and then remove the rubber bands. Now wash the fabric in the sink with just cool water. Keep washing till all the dye is out and no yellow water is running out of the fabric. Squeeze out excess liquid and leave the fabric to dry indoors away from sunlight (put something underneath the wet fabric to catch any possible yellow drops!)
The tie dye bath will last a couple of weeks if you want put it into a container and save it for your next masterpiece! Also, it’s best to hand wash your newly dyed clothing item and don’t dry in sunlight to prevent fading.