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Thread: using tea to dye fabric

  1. #1
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I keep reading about using tea to dye fabric. Has anyone done this before? Any hints on how to do it would be great. Thanks

  2. #2
    cynde's Avatar
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    I've only tea dyed a few of times, but I love the results. I just boiled water and put it in a big bowl with a few tea bags (many if you want the dye to be fairly dark). Take the tea bags out when the "tea" is the right colour. Let it cool, then drop in the fabric, make sure all the fabric gets wet, I agitated it a bit with my hands which is why I let the tea cool. Pull it out, check if the colour is what you are looking for. Rinse in cold water and dry normally.

    The first time I did it, I tried it on some small samples of fabric first. Good luck and enjoy.

  3. #3
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    I use the cheapest tea I can find. The tannin sets it better, I think. Just be careful in laundering - you are actually just staining the fabric, so avoid enzyme cleaners like Era and some of the Cheer varieties.

  4. #4
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips. I'll let you know how it goes.

  5. #5
    Super Member jbsstrawberry's Avatar
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    I tea dye doilies sometimes, for an antiqued look. When I do I always make sure to use cotton thread, it seems to take the tea a lot better. I'm not sure if the same rule applies to cloth, but I imagine the more natural the fabric content the better results. Let us know how it turns out for you!!

  6. #6
    Leslee's Avatar
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    I love the aged look, too. I've found tea-dying works best on 100% cotton that's been pre-washed to remove any sizing or other treatment that would keep the color from absorbing. I've also read somewhere that the color lasts longer and is more insect-proof when you use a final wash in a dye-set solution, like Synthropol or Retayne. A friend of mine uses a mix of 2 cups vinegar, 1 cup water and 2 tablespoons of salt (this was enough to "fix" about a fat quarter of tea-dyed fabric) Haven't tried this method myself. I've also had pretty good luck using brewed coffee as a dye. If you do an on-line search for "Natural Dyes" you'll find some kinds of leaves, flowers and berries brew up to make pretty cool dyes as well.

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