Dying fabric with tea makes a lovely patina for an aged look to a basic fabric. Tea dying does not create a major change in the color of the textile, it’s a great and inexpensive way to create a vintage look to either new or old fabrics or clothing. Below is a step-by-step guide how to dye fabric with tea.
Dying fabric with tea is a natural, inexpensive and non-toxic way to change the color of your cloth. The tannnins in black tea make a great dye, giving your fabrics a nice patina. The tannins bond well to natural fibers, so you don’t need any mordants to assist with this, making dying with tea an easy method.
Here are our tips and tricks on how to dye fabric with tea.
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Is dying fabric with tea permanent?
The answer is pretty much yes. If you had accidentally spilled tea or coffee on your linens or clothes, it does come out – sometimes with a little bleach or stain remover. If the stain is really set in, usually a soak in Oxyclean will get it out. With this process, it’s not a simple spill, we are encouraging the fibers to soak in the tea and hold on to the new color. I would consider this method permanent, but if you really, really didn’t like it once it is done, you probably could use a lot of elbow grease to get it out.
What fabrics can you dye with tea?
It is best to use natural fiber fabrics, like cotton, linen or silk. Polyester, nylon and rayon fabrics or blends will take the tea dye, but generally not as well. Always test a sample of your fabric first.
What’s the best way to test a sample of the fabric before tea dying?
Take one tea bag and put in a large coffee cup. Pour boiling water over the tea bag. Add a piece of your fabric, about 4-5″ square. Soak for about 10 minutes, then microwave for about 30 seconds to heat it up again. Don’t let it boil in the microwave. Let it sit for a few hours. Rinse until the water is clear. If the color stays in the fabric, it will when you do your larger piece.
Can I tea dye a finished garment? Draperies? Linens?
Yes! You can tea dye just about anything! For larger items, you just need a large enough pot to hold the tea and whatever it is your are dying. Follow the same directions as above.
Can I use other tea blends or flavors to dye fabric?
Yes! I thought of other teas that might make interesting colors and tried Green tea, Hibiscus tea and Red Zinger. The two red tone teas were gorgeous in the water, but after rinsing, faded all away. The green tea never was ‘lovely’ but it was a darker shade until rinsing. These are fine but not too exciting. I think I’ll stick to black tea for dying my fabrics with tea. Here are my results:
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