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How to Dye Fabric: Natural Dyeing with Turmeric and Cabbage

We’ve tried lots of dyeing techniques in the past, but this time we’re keeping it natural. I’m going to use ground turmeric and a head of cabbage to dye some unbleached muslin. I’m also adding some salt and vinegar to make it more vibrant.

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Materials

  • Turmeric
  • Head of cabbage
  • Vinegar
  • Iodized salt
  • Pots for boiling water
  • Cutting board
  • Strainer
  • Measuring cups
  • Spoon
  • Knife
  • Gloves
How to Dye Fabric: Natural Dyeing with Turmeric and Cabbage

Video

Instructions

Natural Dyeing with Turmeric and Cabbage

First I’m going to cut up the head of cabbage into chunks and put it in the pot.

Fill the pot with water just enough to completely submerge the cabbage.

Bring to a boil, then let it simmer for about an hour.

While the cabbage is simmering, I’ll prepare the turmeric dye.

Mix 3/4 of a cup of turmeric with about 12 cups of water. Also add a few teaspoons of vinegar to make it a little bit brighter. Stir well and bring to a boil.

 

Both dyes are heating up, so now I’ll prepare my fabric.

Make sure the fabric is damp before dyeing. You can just put the fabric into the dye as is, but I want a bit of a design. I’m going to scrunch my fabric lengthwise and tie the middle with a rubber band.

After letting the turmeric dye cool down, put your fabric in. I’m only putting in this muslin up to the rubber band in the middle.

Let it sit in the dye for 30 to 60 minutes or more depending on how saturated you want the dye to be. You may need to stir the fabric a little so it dyes evenly.

After letting it sit for 30-60 minutes, take it out and rinse with cold water.

At this point, my cabbage dye has been simmering for about an hour so I’m going to strain it into a new container and add salt and vinegar. I’m using 2 cups of salt and a few teaspoons of vinegar. Stir well.

Now go ahead and submerge the fabric. It should be left in for at least an hour. Stir again so it dyes evenly.

When you’re ready to take it out, rinse with cold water until the water runs clear.

Machine wash with cold water and use an all natural non-toxic detergent, and air dry.

I’m happy with how the turmeric side came out, it’s a nice vibrant yellow.

The cabbage on the other hand didn’t really take. I think next time I’ll use less water and maybe add some beets for a more saturated color.


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