How to Dye Fabric: Natural Dyeing with Turmeric & Cabbage

How to Dye Fabric: Natural Dyeing with Turmeric & Cabbage


Hey guys, it’s Jen from OFS. In this tutorial I’m using red cabbage and ground turmeric to make natural dyes and create an ombre design. So let’s get started. The materials you’ll need are: pots for boiling water, iodized salt, turmeric, a strainer, a cutting board, a head of cabbage, vinegar, measuring cups, a spoon, a knife, unbleached muslin, and gloves. First I’m going to cut up the red cabbage into large chunks and put it in the pot. Once it’s all chopped up fill the pot with water just enough to submerge the cabbage. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for about an hour. While the cabbage is simmering I’m going to prepare the turmeric dye. First I’m going to mix three quarters of a cup of turmeric with 12 cups of water and bring it to a boil. I’m also going to add a few teaspoons of vinegar to make it a little bit brighter. While these are heating up, I’m going to prepare my fabric. Make sure the fabric is wet, I already rinsed out my fabric. Then I’m going to scrunch it up lengthwise and tie the middle with a rubber band. The turmeric has cooled down a little bit, and now I’m going to submerge this end of the fabric right up until the rubber band. Let it sit for a half an hour to an hour depending on how saturated you want the color to be. This has been in here for about 45 minutes, so I’m going to take it out and rinse it with cold water. The cabbage has been simmering for about an hour now, so I’m going to strain it into a new container and add salt and vinegar. I’m putting in two cups of salt and a few teaspoons of vinegar. Make sure to stir it well. Now I’m gonna submerge the other end of the fabric up until the rubber band and leave it in for about an hour. Stir it a little bit so that the dye gets to all parts of the fabric. When you’re ready to take it out rinse with cold water until the water runs clear. Then machine wash it with cold water with an all-natural non-toxic detergent and air dry. So these are the results obviously the turmeric is a lot more vibrant than the red cabbage. I’m really pleased with how the yellow came out. The red cabbage is actually more of a light gray more than red and I think next time I will use beets to make it more saturated and more vibrant. Thanks for watching this OFS project.

16 Replies to “How to Dye Fabric: Natural Dyeing with Turmeric & Cabbage”

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  2. Thanks for the demonstration and the clear instructions. I was looking with a cheap and easy way to dye a few costume pieces and yours is the first tutorial I found that was concise, didn't require specialty store product (i.e. "To begin dying at home, buy some fabric dye!"), and showed the results clearly with full disclosure about what did and didn't work. I really appreciate it!

  3. How long does the colour last on the fabric? I'm scared that when I try this the colour will fade after washing two times haha

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