Bringing Back Tie-Dye

An all natural recipe for achieving that hip Earth-loving t-shirt

In honor of Earth Day (April 22nd), here’s an easy, step-by-step “how-to” on tie-dyeing – the natural way. Your kids will love this activity, especially when they see how kitchen ingredients can be used to make fun and cool-looking t-shirt designs.

Now, there are articles out there that recommend using blueberry juice concentrate or beet juice as natural dyes; however, these juices are not strong enough to leave clear patterns and vivid color (and don’t waste your time trying – I’ve already attempted with these two!). Turmeric – that oh-so-tasty spice – is the tried and true ingredient.

For a bright and cheerful yellow tie-dyed shirt (perfect for spring!), you will need the following:

To prepare your shirt for dyeing:

  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • 6 cups of water

To tie-dye:

  • 4 tablespoons of turmeric
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 white t-shirt
  • 8-10 rubber bands (I used hair bands, which worked just fine)
10 easy steps:

1)   Lay the t-shirt on a flat surface and roll it up

2)   Place rubber bands along the rolled-up shirt

3)   In a medium-sized stock pot, bring the water and vinegar to a simmer

4)   Add the shirt and simmer for 30 minutes.

5)   Pour out water and vinegar; remove shirt and place in a bowl of cold water

6)   In the medium-sized stock pot, bring water and turmeric to a simmer

7)   Squeeze the water out of the shirt and add the shirt to the simmering water and turmeric

8)   Simmer the shirt for 1 hour and then turn off the heat and let the liquid come to room temperature

9)   Remove the shirt and rinse it under cold water until the water runs clear

10) Let the shirt hang dry


And that’s it! Let your kids enjoy their homemade, tie-dyed shirts and feel good knowing that they’re synthetic-free and eco-friendly.