Deying Crafts

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Turmeric produces a bright yellow/orange colour that can be combined with woad, cochineal or safflower to give a wide range of colours. Adding acids and alkaloids at different stages of the dye process also changes the hue of the final colour. In an alkali solution it will turn red (baking soda) but if acid is added to neutralise the alkali then the colour will change to yellow.

It is however, inherently non-lightfast – but it does fade beautifully! The only solutions are to store turmeric dyed items out of bright sunlight as much as possible and wash and dry them indoors.

Plan on re-dyeing every year or so. That’s what the monks in Tibet do. Over-dyeing with woad does seem to produce a more resilient green. Over-dyed with cochineal it produces a redcoat scarlet.


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