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Thread: tea dying? Anyone try it?

  1. #1
    Super Member JanTx's Avatar
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    tea dying? Anyone try it?

    I am making a wall hanging and have black on white fabric for part of it. I've decided I'd rather have an antique/parchment look to it. What do you think about dying it in tea? Since it's a hanging it won't get much, if any, washing. If I do that how do a get a mottled look rather than an all-over dye?
    So many quilts, so little time.

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    I know a lady that hangs them, then puts the tea in a spray bottle and sprays them, heavier in some places then in others.

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    Junior Member lynnegreen's Avatar
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    Years ago I made a baby blanket and the white parts were to bright for my taste, and dusty colors were in fashion. I tea dyed and was delighted with the outcome. The muting was subtle but consistent overall. No one ever knew the fabrics weren't actually those muted color to begin with. I did mine in the washing machine. I steeped 12 tea bags in hot water, filled the washing machine with water on small setting, poured in the tea, added the quilt and let it start to do gentle aggitation. Mine did not mottle.
    Last edited by lynnegreen; 02-12-2012 at 06:01 PM. Reason: left out something
    Lynne

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    Super Member bluteddi's Avatar
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    I guess I like the darker look, and I'm impatient.. I use coffee for staining.....

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    I tried a piece of fabric that had too much white in it. I made the tea and put the fabric and tea in the sink to soak, did not agitate. That must be the key, because I had darker spots here and there. They were small, but it looked like the fabric had measles. Tried to bleach it to get the tea out, but that didn't work. Put the fabric away, but would like to find out how to get the tea out now, or at least lighten it.

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    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanTx View Post
    I am making a wall hanging and have black on white fabric for part of it. I've decided I'd rather have an antique/parchment look to it. What do you think about dying it in tea? Since it's a hanging it won't get much, if any, washing. If I do that how do a get a mottled look rather than an all-over dye?

    Scrunch it up and secure it some way. I'd think that might work..

    Or maybe use some wax or something for a resist, if you have a way to sort of dab it on. Maybe a course sponge?
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    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackie Spencer View Post
    I know a lady that hangs them, then puts the tea in a spray bottle and sprays them, heavier in some places then in others.

    Sounds like a great idea! Best yet!
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    Junior Member Christine George's Avatar
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    I tea stained white pillow cases and sheets in the washer and it worked fine. 6 or 8 tea bags, agitate, soak, agitate, soak...........

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    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yngldy View Post
    Put the fabric away, but would like to find out how to get the tea out now, or at least lighten it.
    I tea stained a single block that had several seams. the stain was darker where the seams were. after looking at it for a couple of days and not liking the look, i washed the block with laundry detergent and a smidge of washing soda. most of the tea dye came out and the end result was a dull white, which is what i had wanted.
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    Super Member ShowMama's Avatar
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    I needed a fabric that looked like wood, but the only one I could find at the time was way to light. So I tea-dyed it. I boiled a couple of tea bags, then put the fabric in and let it soak for an hour or so. Then I rinsed it well and ironed it dry. The color came out perfectly for what I had in mind.
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  12. #12
    Super Member JanTx's Avatar
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    Okay - I'll do it. I'm going to start with the spray bottle then may put it in a bowl. WHere I've sprayed it should turn out darker, right? I'll post before and after pics when I get it done.
    So many quilts, so little time.

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    Have tea-dyed fabric several times. Just put it in a large pot of hot water with the tea bags tied up in muslin and let it soak. It will get that mottled look {if you want it} by not aggitating it. Keep bags from touching fabric so you don't get a darker spot on fabric.

  14. #14
    Super Member JanTx's Avatar
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    Okay - I used the spray bottle and really like how it turned out. The pic has:
    The fabric with writing on it is what the LQS clerk thought would work in place of mottled music note fabric I couldn't fine. I agree that the IDEA is the same, but I WANTED MUSIC NOTES. (I'm a piano teacher and this is going to be a wall hanging above my piano.) On top of the writing fabric is the white/black music note I sprayed with tea. THe white/black next to it is the original too-white music fabric. I think this will work just fine.

    The larger block with writing on it was white/black. I have 4 blocks with writing that will be the focus of the wall hanging.

    Thanks for all your help!
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    I tea-dyed the appliques for my wedding gown 21 years ago. The appliques I wanted only came in white and my gown was ivory. I was quite pleased with how they turned out.

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    When I tried to tea dye, and then washed the fabric most of the color came out in the wash. I better check out the www sites. Thanks for that information
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  17. #17
    Super Member JanTx's Avatar
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    Since this is for a wall hanging there's much less to be concerned about than if for something that would be washed more often. I am ironing a lot, but .. don't know that it matters.
    So many quilts, so little time.

  18. #18
    Power Poster Annaquilts's Avatar
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    I have. If you iron it when it is still wet it mottles more.
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    A friend uses Chamomile tea instead of regular tea like Liptons cause it turns it more golden than a dingy brown.

  20. #20
    Senior Member gmcsewer's Avatar
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    Looks like you solvled your problem. I like the final effect much better. Just a few comments for future dyers. I had a picket fence made of white striped fabric to put in a quilt and it was too bright so I wanted to tea dye it. I tried small pieces in steeped tea, instant tea, regular instant coffee and and decafinated coffee. Each one gave a differend tint. I also used some onion skins boiled in water. That gave kind of a peach color. So try a scrap of your fabric to see what you like.

  21. #21
    Super Member JanTx's Avatar
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    Here's what I have so far. I think I overdid the tea, but will see what it looks like when it's finished - then I can wash it and see if it fades a big. The border is bigger than I first thought of, but the scale of the piano fabric seemed to need that. This is a wall hanging for the wall behind my piano - I teach 23 students after my day as an elementary music teacher! There are 4 word panels total so this is half of it.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Dandish's Avatar
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    I like it! If you wanted to do that in a bed quilt, how would you stop the tea stains from washing out eventually? Or can you?

  23. #23
    Super Member JanTx's Avatar
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    I don't know about long term use of the tea dye. I only did this because it was a wall hanging. Seems like there are references to it early in this thread though. I did iron it right after spraying it and that should set it for a while.
    So many quilts, so little time.

  24. #24
    Super Member raedar63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluteddi View Post
    I guess I like the darker look, and I'm impatient.. I use coffee for staining.....
    I also use coffee too , I save any unused coffee in the coffee pot in the fridge when I know I am going to dye something. After all coffee is getting expensive!

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