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Thread: Anyone Tea Dye? Is it safe for fabric?

  1. #1
    Rob
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    I was thinking of tea dying some fabric to tone it down a notch and give it a older look. I read online about how to do it but one comment mentioned that the tannins in tea will weaken the fabric. But I have not really found out much more to support that theory.

    What I was curious about --- does tea dying definitely weaken fabric? I mean...if you used a regular dye...that is most likely an acid that I would think would weaken fabric as well. Know what I mean?

  2. #2
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Quilters have been tea dying for decades... I have never heard that it would harm the fabric. I would just launder it well afterwards :D:D:D

  3. #3
    CAROLJ's Avatar
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    I coffee or tea dye all the time. It has never hurt anything I've done which includes cotton and wool. I have never tried it on a synthetic. There may be long term consequences, but I still have a rug that I coffee dyed about 20 yeas ago.

  4. #4
    Super Member walen's Avatar
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    I have used tea to dye fabric and had successful results using PFD Kona cotton. The fabric took the tea evenly and turned out a soft old-fabric color. I got exactly the look that I wanted.

    I tried this another time, and I ended up with a disaster. I had washed the fabric first to remove the sizing, but the tea didn't take evenly. It was a yucky blotched mess. I saved the fabric by running it through a bleach cycle, so it wasn't ruined. This mess made me realize I needed more information about dying fabric before I tried it again.

    I checked out a library book on dying fabric. What I got from reading it was that successful dying depends on how you prepare the fabric before adding tea or any natural dye. I didn't want to mess with the chemicals.

    Now, when I want a lovely old looking fabric, I buy PFD Kona and set the tea dye using the hot iron method.

    By the way, I asked my quilt shop what PDF stood for, Prepared For Dye. LOL..

  5. #5
    Super Member sewcrafty's Avatar
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    Good information! :thumbup: I've got fabric I'm going to finish coffee dying.

    Thanks!

  6. #6
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    I've done it but it's been a while. You got some good advise here. I don't think it will harm the fabric.

  7. #7
    Super Member Gramof6's Avatar
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    I have done it 10 yrs ago in 2 quilts and had no problems at all. I rinsed the fabric well after dying it then ironed it. It has held up as well as the rest of the fabric. You can use coffee also and get diff. colors or tones.

  8. #8
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I have tea dyed fabric and never had any problems with it.

  9. #9
    Super Member MaryStoaks's Avatar
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    I just use Rit Tan dye in the washing machine, comes out great.

  10. #10
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walen
    I have used tea to dye fabric and had successful results using PFD Kona cotton. The fabric took the tea evenly and turned out a soft old-fabric color. I got exactly the look that I wanted.

    I tried this another time, and I ended up with a disaster. I had washed the fabric first to remove the sizing, but the tea didn't take evenly. It was a yucky blotched mess. I saved the fabric by running it through a bleach cycle, so it wasn't ruined. This mess made me realize I needed more information about dying fabric before I tried it again.

    I checked out a library book on dying fabric. What I got from reading it was that successful dying depends on how you prepare the fabric before adding tea or any natural dye. I didn't want to mess with the chemicals.

    Now, when I want a lovely old looking fabric, I buy PFD Kona and set the tea dye using the hot iron method.

    By the way, I asked my quilt shop what PDF stood for, Prepared For Dye. LOL..
    I've gotten the "blotchys" before and just gone ahead and used them. It was a lot like some of the blenders you get nowadays. No one knew but what it was supposed to be like that.

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