Natural Dye Experiment: Turmeric

This past week I did a little bit ‘o experimenting! I really wanted to try and dye my own fabric…. But, I didn’t want to buy the dye from the store. Soooo, I used turmeric spice! Yup. And, it worked really well.

Supplies needed:

– Salt

– Water

– Fabric (I used an old white scarf)

– 2 Tbs. Turmeric

– Wooden spoon

Natural Turmeric Dye


1. First, prep your fabric/material. Combine 4 cups of water and a 1/4 cup of salt, bring it to a boil, add your fabric and let it simmer for one hour. The salt acts as a β€œfixative”. It helps the fabric take the dye.

2. When the fabric is done, drain the water. Once cool, wring out the remaining water from the fabric.

3. Time to add some color! Combine 2 cups of water with 2 tablespoons of ground turmeric, bring to a boil, and let simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Turn off the heat and add your fabric to the turmeric dye mixture. Use your wooden spoon to push the fabric down into the dye, trying to coat it evenly. The longer the fabric soaks: the deeper the color will be. The dye also reacts differently for different fabrics.

4-1. To create an ombre color, dip your material partially in, and pull it out slowly. I moved my fabric out of the dye about 2 -4 inches every couple of minutes.

5. Rince your dyed fabric in the sink until the water runs clear and hang to dry. That’s it! You’re done!

Side note: You can double the recipe of the dye… for larger projects.

Plus, I have another post up on Better Homes and Gardens today! Using this same natural turmeric dye technique, I dyed a bunch of fabric and made a lovely lampshade! I really love how it turned out (and, so does the husband… double win). Here’s a photo:

– Chelsey


  • everydaywaiting on said:


  • vegantester on said:

    i don't think the salt is a fixative – it just opens up the fibers of the fabric to make it more receptive to taking the dye. something like soda ash is the actual fixative during the dye process (it changes the ph level and bonds the dye to the fabric) /pedant

  • vicki on said:

    Oh, I love that lampshade. I think I'm going to attempt something but with felt. it seems fairly similar to those felt wreaths…and I have an abundance of felt I can use, lol.

  • Heather on said:

    What a great project!! I LOVE that lampshade, like LOVE it πŸ™‚

  • Mindi on said:

    Oh very pretty! I wonder if I could use this with yarn. I have been wanting to start learning how to dye my own yarn. What do you think? BTW I am loving your BHG posts. Simply awesome!

    • The Paper Mama on said:

      Oh yes! I definitely think you can do this with yarn. Plus, did you see this link I shared on my link post today?
      Let me know if you try it! I'd love to see photos. And, I'm glad you love my BHG posts. It's so nice to hear people enjoy them. <3

  • Amanda on said:

    You are so insanely crafty and creative, I will admit I'm a bit envious! Also, I wanted to say that I read your other post about
    the women gossiping in the Starbucks and that you made the smart and mature choice but sitting elsewhere.
    Kudos to you! There is no need for any extra negativity in this world that we live in, I totally agree! Finally, I think your blog is
    fabulous and the bee's knees and I really wish that I could someday get to your blogging level. And the fact that you get paid
    for it…girl, I'm jealous! I'm sort of new to this whole world of blogging and would LOVE to know how to make a couple extra
    $$$ on the side. I would love to hear any suggestions, comments, or advice from you since I look at you as a my blogging
    sensei. Here is my blog ( and please keep up the amazing work, I truly look forward to and love reading your blog!

    P.s. your family is adorable! πŸ™‚

  • Pingback: a little blog lovin’ | the handmade home

  • dumb mom on said:

    Man, that is really pretty! I don't think I have any tumeric in my house, but I might need to snag some to try this!

    • The Paper Mama on said:

      I bought this spice in the bulk section… it was .80 cents. Awesome!

  • Amber on said:

    Wow. That lamp shade is beautiful. Tumeric is such a great dye. I used it on a couple of stained onesies. It does bleed the first few washes. I just washed them with some old towels.

  • Amanda Neves on said:

    What a great idea! I'll definitely be interested to learn how well the color holds, such a great color from something I already have in my pantry!

    • The Paper Mama on said:

      I'll be sure to mention it after a few washes on my scarf. πŸ™‚

  • Audrey on said:

    How does it hold up in the wash? Cus that is very lovely!

    • The Paper Mama on said:

      I'm not sure yet, but i definitely suggest washing separate, or by hand. πŸ™‚

  • Mariana on said:

    Oh, this is so beautiful! Both, the scarf and the lamp. I think I'll try this out soon. πŸ™‚

  • Diana on said:

    Beautiful! The lampshade looks like flower pedals!

  • Kati on said:

    Wow!!! That's impressive. Both look gorgeous!

  • Gina_AcuteDesigns on said:

    that lamp shade is gorgeous! I tried natural dyes a few months ago and used turmeric, black tea, and blackberries.
    The blackberries made the pretties soft purple color.

  • Trish on said:

    Wow what a super cool idea! I am totaly obsessed with indian food, so I've always got turmeric around the kitchen. I've definitely gone some "used to be white and could use some dye" items to do this with. Do you think it would wash out if put in the washing machine?

    • The Paper Mama on said:

      I think it will lose color, but not all of it. I'd definitely suggest washing separate or by hand. πŸ™‚

  • Katlyn on said:

    That is so awesome! I'm going to have to try this.. It's so easy!

  • Kiara on said:

    Very cool, funky lampshade!

  • Meg on said:

    Oh wow! I'm lovin' the lamp shade. How long did you dip the fabrics in to get the color variations?

Leave a comment!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.