Crafts Home decor Textiles

Tie-dye Fabric Using All Natural Dye

Tie-dye fabric with wrinkled texture made from all-natural dye |


Huuum…….I can’t believe it, but here it is.  I actually made this textile from recycled fabric and turmeric.

That’s right.  Turmeric….the spice that you’d put in your recipes.  And honestly, it was one of the quickest and easiest projects ever.

OK, so have you ever wanted a piece of fabric in a certain color or with a certain pattern and just couldn’t find it anywhere?  This is exactly what happened to me and exactly why I started making textiles using all natural dyes.

Tie-dye pillow is made from recycled drapery liner and homemade all-natural dye |

So let’s get right to it…….

Tie-dye Step 1:

  • Find a piece of fabric that is light in color.  It also helps if the fabric is made of all natural fibers, like cotton, but is not 100% necessary.  I used old drapery liner that was a cotton and poly blend.
  • Make sure the soap is rinsed out and do NOT use a fabric softner.

Tie-dye Step 2:

  • Grab the household vinegar, a measuring cup, a big pot, and head over to the stove.

All natural yellow dye can be made from turmeric |

  • For my piece of fabric, 7 cups of water and 1 cup of vinegar were added to the pot and brought to a   simmer.
  • Then the wet fabric was pushed into the pot.
  • If you do this and the liquid doesn’t cover your fabric, add more of this mixture.  
  • The key is to make sure the fluid covers the fabric, is very hot, and simmered about 45 minutes. 
  • I covered my pot and turned off the heat so the fluid wouldn’t evaporate.
  • The pot was left to simmer on the warm burner. 

Tie-dye in vinegar and water presoak |

Tie-dye Step 3:

  • Once the fabric is removed from the vinegar soak, rinse it with cold water until there is no trace of vinegar.
  • Wring out the excess water, gather the fabric, and tie it with string, rope, or rubber bands.  
  • Just make sure that the item used to tie it with won’t leak any kind of dye into the soak.

Tie-dye fabric bound with rubber bands |

Tie-dye Step 4:

  • Make sure all of the vinegar is rinsed from the pot, then add fresh water.
  • I used about 7 or 8 cups of water.
  • Add 1/8-1/4 cup of turmeric and simmer about 10 minutes.
  • Add the fabric.
  • How long the fabric needs to simmer depends on how dark you want the color.
  • I left the fabric in the turmeric bath about four hours and kept turning it over during this time.
  • Notice how brown and orange the fluid is in the pot compared to the color of the fabric.

Tie-dye in turmeric soak |

Tie-dye Step 5:

  • Remove the fabric from the turmeric soak and cut the ties.
  • Rinse the fabric under fresh, cold, running water.
  • Hang the fabric to dry.  The cloths dryer could be used, but I wanted the wrinkled texture of the fabric to remain. I was also concerned about any dye that might attach itself to the inside of the dyer and ruin other fabrics.

Tie-dye fabric created with home-made all natural dye |

Tie-dye Step 6:

When the fabric is completely dry, it’s time to create some wonderful.  For my first outing, I chose something simple.  

Tie-dye fabric with wrinkled texture made from all-natural dye |

Please remember that natural dyes are less permanent that chemical dyes.  What this means is that natural dyes tend to fade with repeated washing.  So this pillow cover will get few washings.  When the fabric is washed, I will wash by hand, use a mild soap, and dry it on the line.

Tie-dye pillow is made from recycled drapery liner and homemade all-natural dye |

And, that’s how it’s done.

One tie-dye textile made with all-natural dye.
Tie-dye fabric is made from recycled drapery liner and all-natural dye made from turmeric |

So when you clean out your pantry….save all of those expired spices.  I surely did and plan to make plenty more textiles. In fact, I have yardage left from this fabric and already have a companion fabric underway.  

Tie-dye fabric made with a homemade all natural dye works well with farmhouse or vintage decor |


 Quick and easy PILLOW COVER tutorial here. 

How my custom pantry was built on wasted wall space here….. 


Tutorial Explains Easy Tie-Dye Using All Natural Dye |


AND NOW……MORE  ideas from my bloggy friends….

Grocery Store to Gorgeous


  • Reply kim @ hunt & host June 21, 2016 at 6:52 am

    Susie – your fabric is so gorgeous! It’s the perfect adult tie dye! So classic and surprisingly easy! I love that you can use all your outdated spices because you know EVERYONE has those in their pantry!!! Lovely project friend!

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 21, 2016 at 9:39 am

      Thanks, Kim. Appreciate being included in your very unique and fun blog hop..

  • Reply Grocery Store To Gorgeous - Hunt and Host June 21, 2016 at 7:24 am

    […] The Chelsea Project […]

  • Reply ambientwares June 21, 2016 at 7:37 am

    It’s beautiful! I love the idea of using natural ingredients over chemical. It’s even better that the process looks easy and the materials are easy to come by if you don’t already have them.

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 21, 2016 at 9:42 am

      Thanks so much. And I agree about it being all natural. I made it while making dinner, rinsed the pot, and popped it in the dishwasher.

  • Reply 2beesinapod June 21, 2016 at 8:26 am

    Susie – you have opened up a whole new world to us! We had no idea how to naturally dye fabric. Love your pillow and your creativity! Looks great!

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 21, 2016 at 9:43 am

      Thanks so much. As I learn more about different processes, I’m totally amazed. Hope to share more fun fabrics.

  • Reply Carolann June 21, 2016 at 10:10 am

    I love it. It’s so delicate and chic. What a great idea. I’ll have to try this for sure!

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 22, 2016 at 11:31 pm

      Thanks so much, Carolann…… my fav spider slayer… LOL.. wink wink.

  • Reply Betsy June 21, 2016 at 10:22 am

    Who knew? Love your pillow and the pretty shade of yellow! Very clever.

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 22, 2016 at 11:30 pm

      Thanks so much, Betsy..

  • Reply Angie @ Postcards from the Ridge June 21, 2016 at 11:07 am

    You’re so clever! I never would have thought to use spices as dyes. The color is gorgeous too. Thanks so much for the great tutorial!

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 22, 2016 at 11:30 pm

      Thanks so much, Angie..

  • Reply michelle james June 21, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Susie this is too fun. I love the color and it looks so bright. Who knew?? Thanks for sharing this. I definitely want to try it.

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 22, 2016 at 11:30 pm

      Thanks, Michelle… It was super easy…

  • Reply Angie Chavez at Knick of Time June 21, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Oh my gosh, this is gorgeous, and I had NO idea turmeric could be used as dye – pinning it!

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 22, 2016 at 11:29 pm

      Thanks, Angie… appreciate much…

  • Reply Debrashoppeno5 June 21, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    This is so cool. I can’t wait to see the other fabrics you dye.

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 22, 2016 at 11:29 pm

      Thanks, Debra!! XO

  • Reply Toni @ Small Home Soul June 21, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    That turned out so beautiful, I’ve always wanted to try dying fabric with food. I’d love to try this with beets and I think you’ve given me the courage.

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 22, 2016 at 11:28 pm

      Thanks, Toni..

  • Reply Marie, The Interior Frugalista June 21, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Well I just so happen to have a pantry full of “old” spices and after reading this, they are staying in my cupboard in a separate basket labeled “for fabrics”. Thank you for this great tutorial and the inspiration, Susie! Pinning to share and refer back to.

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 22, 2016 at 11:28 pm

      LOL…thanks Marie! Yes, save your spices and we will make some really good stuff… 🙂

  • Reply Lisa June 22, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    I love this!!!!!!! What other spices have you tried?

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 22, 2016 at 11:26 pm

      Thanks, Lisa. Yes..I have some more colors and fabrics in the works.

  • Reply simple nature decor June 22, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    So pretty the yellow tie dye, very vibrant, makes me happy, I just made 9 pillows , so I love making pilows and this is great idea.

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 22, 2016 at 11:25 pm

      Thanks, Marie.

  • Reply Janine |Happy Happy Nester| June 24, 2016 at 1:37 am

    Love this and the color looks so natural and beautiful! I can’t wait to try this. I should be careful when I cook with Turmeric!

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 24, 2016 at 8:06 am

      LOL…yes! It really stains…so do be careful. Thanks Janine.

  • Reply Anika June 24, 2016 at 9:54 am

    I love this!! You could never guess it was done with turmeric!

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 24, 2016 at 1:39 pm

      LOL….Thanks Anika…

  • Reply Diane | An Extraordinary Day June 25, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Very fun and soooo creative!! LOVE it!

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 26, 2016 at 1:24 pm

      Thanks so much, Diane. It’s so good of you to stop by.

  • Reply Alison Bell-Irving June 26, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Hi Susie, I love the cushion.

    Question: Do you think the natural dyes would stand up to outdoor living? I have an old patio swing set with a canvas seat and built-in awning. I plan to re-paint the metal framing, but am struggling with how to restore the old gray canvas fabric that is non-removable. I’m wondering if I could spray it with dye and perhaps even spray it with vinegar when it’s dry to set the colour. Thoughts? Many thanks.

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 26, 2016 at 1:19 pm

      Hi Alison. I’ve been thinking about your question. I would hesitate to use all-natural dye because I worry that it will not last. I would ask you to consider power washing the canvas with an appropriate concentration of water and bleach. Check the manufacturer’s website for this option. If your manu doesn’t offer one, please hop over to the Sunbrella website. This is the bleach/water combo I use on my umbrellas. This is to remove dirt, grime, and mildew. Set the piece to dry in the sun. From there, please check to see if the fabric looks clean and all one color. If it does, I’d probably leave it and add color in the seating. The reason for this is that this canvas will continue to take the brunt of the outdoor elements and it will need repeated cleaning. Hope this helps. Please let me know if you have more questions.

  • Reply Patric Neal June 26, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    Turmeric glows under a black light, we use it in our icing when doing a cake for a blacklight party, does the tie dyed items do the same?

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 28, 2016 at 6:02 pm

      Hi Patric. I haven’t tried because I don’t have a black light. If I can find one to borrow, I’ll send you the results.

  • Reply Heather Northington June 27, 2016 at 12:38 am

    Fantastic! I never would have thought to use turmeric! What a fun summertime color too. Thanks for a great tutorial!

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 28, 2016 at 5:59 pm

      Thanks Heather… It really is great for summer! XO

  • Reply Waste Not Wednesday Week 5 - My Thrifty House June 28, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    […] Tie-Die Fabric Using Natural Dye {The Chelsea Project} […]

  • Reply MLK, VBS, and Waste Not Wednesday #5 - Small Home Soul June 28, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    […] Tie Dye Fabric with All Natural Dye by The Chelsea Project […]

  • Reply Waste Not Wednesday #5 - Gratefully Vintage June 28, 2016 at 10:42 pm

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  • Reply kellien June 28, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    such a great idea!! and I love your blog!

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 29, 2016 at 9:43 pm

      Thanks so much… I’m trying to just have a blast and enjoy the fun of sharing. Thanks so much for stopping by! Love having you here.

  • Reply Sam@Raggedy Bits June 29, 2016 at 2:14 am

    Got to love turmeric! I use it so much in my cooking and I also recently found out that it’s great for aching joint pain! Who knew that it could also be used to dye fabric!! Ingenious!! I love the colour and it is just perfect for your summer time over there and brightens up my winter over here!
    Thank you so much for sharing over at #WasteNotWednesday this week! Your awesome project is featured this week! Can’t wait to see what you bring to the party this week 🙂

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 29, 2016 at 9:41 pm

      Thanks so much, Sam!! Appreciate so much.. I’ll definitely link when I get something else made. Thanks again..

  • Reply Miki @ Set Free My Gypsy Soul July 7, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Wow! This is so clever and I love that it is all natural . Tie-dye is so much fun… I can’t wait to try this! Your finished pillow looks so beautiful

    M x

    • Reply theChelseaProject July 7, 2016 at 2:56 pm

      Thanks Miki… appreciate your stopping by!!

  • Reply gracefulcoffee July 7, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    What an awesome idea! I love that you used all natural dye 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

    Edye |

  • Reply Creatively Crafty Link Party, Week 23 - Our Daily Craft July 14, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    […] require a lot of fancy equipment or supplies. Check out the Chelsea Project’s tutorial for tye-dyeing fabric with turmeric. I want to try this. It’s so […]

    • Reply theChelseaProject July 14, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      Thanks so much!

  • Reply Mary Ann Chase August 15, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    Great idea. I’m 72 with fibro, cronic fatgue and diabetes but I think I can manage this project. can it be used for easter egg dye?. How bout cinnamon? Love the smell.

  • Reply Kim August 16, 2016 at 10:54 am

    I found your project on Hometalk. Love your pillow and plan to share it in a fall blog post tomorrow. I’m linking the picture back to your post, of course. Thanks!

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  • Reply Cristina@remodelandolacasa January 3, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    So pretty! This is going straight to my to do list…. I know, some day, some day. Thanks for the detailed tut!

    • Reply theChelseaProject January 4, 2017 at 9:40 am

      LOL… Thanks Christina!

  • Reply Tammy Brereton June 18, 2017 at 11:40 am

    On the tie dye how can you change the color? Or does it always have to be yellow?

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 18, 2017 at 1:04 pm

      Hi Tammy and thanks for stopping by! The color of the turmeric spice is always yellow. But you could get a different color by using a different spice, fruit, or vegetable. For example, beets would provide a reddish color. You might think about just trying some sample colors on a small piece of fabric to see if you like the color. Good luck with your project! Send us some pics if you get a chance.

  • Reply Susanne June 12, 2018 at 7:09 am

    Well isn’t that just the coolest thing ever!!! I would have never thought to use a spice to tie dye fabric. Thanks so much for sharing with us at Create and Celebrate!!

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 15, 2018 at 10:18 am

      Thanks Susanne. It was a fun little project.

    Thanks so much for your comment!

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