- purple cabbage
- turmeric (in the grocery bulk spice section)
- orange pekoe tea bag
- small cooking pots or microwaveable containers
- strainer and paper coffee filter
- old white cotton T-shirt
- medium paintbrushes
- elastic bands
To make red, purple, brown and yellow dyes:
- Wash, peel and coarsely chop 2 beets and 4 red cabbage leaves.
- Place beets and cabbage each in their own small pot and cover, just to submerge, with water.
- Place tea bag in a separate pot and cover with water.
- Bring each pot to a boil, turn heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Alternatively, “cook” each in the microwave, in a microwave-safe container, on high for about 1 minute. (Open a window—it may get stinky.)
- Let cool for at least 30 minutes.
- Pour coloured water through a strainer into a small bowl (plastics may stain). Compost the veggies.
- To make yellow dye, mix 1 tbsp (15 mL) turmeric with 1/3 cup (75 mL) water and simmer as above. Drain through a coffee filter.
- Store dyes in tightly covered containers in the fridge for up to 1 week.
To tie-dye the shirts:
- Grab any bunch of fabric and wind an elastic band around it—the tighter the better. Repeat several times on different parts of the shirt.
- Using tongs, lightly dip part of the shirt in one colour dye, or paint it on with a brush. For best results, don’t soak the shirt.
- Continue dipping or painting the tied shirt with the different dyes.
- Hang the shirt (with elastic bands still on it) to dry.
- Remove elastic bands (use scissors if needed). Admire the vibrant colours and white splashes where the bands have been.
Note: Do not wash shirts (just dab at dirty spots), as the dyes will bleed. Or swish them quickly in the sink with equal parts cold water and white vinegar.