Turmeric never ceases to amaze. We put it in everything from stir-fries to tea drinks to smoothies, are well-versed in all of its countless health and beauty benefits, and now we’ve unearthed yet another unconventional use: as a sunshine-hued clothing dye.
Try this unbelievably easy DIY tie-dye experiment—no artificial colorants needed. This single spice is all you need to transform a plain white T-shirt into a one-of-a-kind work of art.
Tip: kids will love this project! Just be sure to help out with the stovetop part.
How to tie-dye with turmeric
Soak clean T-shirt in cold water for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make your dye. Fill a large pot with 12 cups water and add 3 tablespoons turmeric. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
Remove T-shirt from the water and wring it out, then lay it on a flat surface. Starting from the center, gather fabric and secure tightly with a rubber band. Continue securing rubber bands, a few inches apart, all the way down toward the ends of the sleeves and hem. (The rubber bands prevent the die from getting to those parts of the fabric—forming the white “rings”; while the dye hits the rest of the shirt and comes out yellow.)
Return to the simmering pot of turmeric dye and turn off heat. Carefully submerge shirt and let sit 24 hours.
With gloves on, remove shirt from dye and rinse until the water runs clear. Gently wring out excess water. Remove rubber bands and dry shirt in the dryer to set the color.