Natural dyes are having a moment. Instagram is awash with crafty people experimenting with cooking ingredients to inject vibrant colours into fabrics and textiles. Although you can use fruits, plants and spices from rhubarb and blackberries to hibiscus and camomile, turmeric is by far the simplest and most effective. Use this golden wonder to dye natural fabric and turn it into a table runner – any imperfections will add to its character. All you need is a sheet of natural undyed fabric, such as cotton, linen, organic muslin or silk – just wash it before you begin to ensure it’s clean and free of any chemicals. Once you’ve mastered this method you can create any pattern you like, by folding the material in different ways.
1 Cut the fabric to your desired size. It will absorb the colour better when damp, so either crack on with the dyeing straight after washing, or dampen it with water before you start.
2 Lay out the material. Fold the fabric in half widthways, then in half lengthways. Fold over the top corner of the fabric to meet the opposite edge, forming a triangle.
3 Now take the other top corner and fold in the same manner, repeating the process down the entire length of the fabric, until you are left with a single triangle.
4 Press down firmly on the fabric to help define the edges – you could iron it for even stronger definition, if you like.
5 Fill a medium-sized pan halfway with water and bring to the boil. Add 4 heaped tablespoons of turmeric and let it simmer for 30 minutes – this will give the spice time to colour the water. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.
6 Carefully dip each edge of your fabric triangle into the turmeric water. Set aside and leave for 30 minutes to absorb the colour, then rinse the fabric under the cold tap until the water runs clear.
7 Unfold your fabric to reveal the pattern, leave to dry, then iron. Wash on a cool setting after use (it will fade slightly).
Find more handy tips in Jamie magazine every issue, or click here to save on a subscription. Words: Sarah Tildesley; Photography: Sam Robinson.