A Quick Dye

It has been a busy last few months! Between my pregnancy, kiddo starting school, and SCA stuff resuming in person I feel like getting time to work on projects has been limited.

However, the first week of school presented a “need to do now project”. Kiddo’s class was doing color days to help them learn their colors. Basically every day he would get to wear a different color. Not a problem till we got to yellow.

I myself have several yellow pieces of clothing but seeing as my latest yellow chiton wasn’t going to fly for the school day I had to come up with a plan b.


To be more exact Tumeric dye.

This is one you have probably seen around on Pinterest or any other natural dye posts. With good reason, turmeric is probably one of the more simple dyes to make. You can buy a jar of the stuff at any grocery unlike some of the other stuff I have had to order online. In fact, our bottle had been chilling in the spice cabinet for longer than I would like to admit. After that, all you need is heat and a pot of water.

Now the drawback with this is that Tumeric is what is called fugitive dye. Basically, it will fade given time sunlight and other environmental conditions. ( A very good thing for me as I may or may not have got a spot on the countertop….don’t tell my mother….) So don’t expect long-lasting results should you chose to use this dye method. BUT do be aware it still will stain/dye with a vengeance until it fades, so don’t skip things like gloves.

This was just washing out the dye that got my nails!!

But what if you want yellow to last? Use weld! But that is another post.

On to the method

For this, I kept it simple, I didn’t bother to measure or really time anything. I just needed some shade of yellow.

The stuff! One cotton t-shirt. 1/4 bottle of the Tumeric, (You can get it here from Savory Spice) hot water, salt, and then a vinegar post-bath. Pot to heat, sink to rinse and a spoon to stir. Also, get gloves and make sure you put the spoon down on a spoon rest, not the countertop.

I want to note because this is a food dye we are using I felt ok to use our regular pasta/curry-making pot. NORMALLY I have a whole dye set up that is separate from food prep.


Step one was to heat a pot of water just before a boil. Rember stainless steel pot or non-reactive pot.

Step two Get your t-shirt wet for even dye results. You can also add a mordent in the stage. I opted to skip this and add salt in the bath.

Step Three When the water has reached basically a simmer I added the salt ( a good shake) and the turmeric to the water. Gave it a stir and chucked the shirt in. Make sure to stir it so you get the dye to take in an even manner.

Step four. I let the shirt simmer for a few minutes and then cut the heat and let it soak for about half-hour to an hour more.

When I came back and pulled it you can see how vibrant it was. More a marigold yellow than primary, but I was impressed! It also had a lovely spicy smell.

From here I dumped the water and started rinsing out the shirt. Worried I was going to lose the color I applied some white vinegar to help it fix to the fiber. It was then I learned the dye is PH reactive as the color shifted from warm to eye-smarting yellow.

Once the color was running close to clear I let it hang dry for kiddo to wear the next day.

The final result! One SUPER bright yellow shirt.

I was pretty excited that this worked as well as it did! I have no intention of letting it go in the wash as I have no doubt whatever I wash it will get a yellow cast or the color will wash out. But for kiddo to wear once to school it was worth it.

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