Sunday, May 6, 2007

How to dye fabric with tea

Giving your fabric an aged or antique look is very easy. One method is to use tea to dye your fabric. You can tea dye the fabric before using it or after depending on its end use. If I am making a sewing bag for example. I would dye the fabric before using it. Here is an example of a sewing bag that has used tea dyed fabrics.

If I wanted to embroidery on the fabric I would choose to tea dye it after working on it simply because it is much easier to transfer the pattern prior to darkening the fabric. Although if you choose to tea dye the fabric after embroidering on it be aware that the dye can effect the colour of the embroidery threads used and can sometimes shrink the fabric as well.

To dye fabric with tea place some tea bags in a glass bowl and then fill with boiling water. Add a teaspoon of salt to help set the dye.The number of tea bags will determine the strength of the tea dye solution. As a guide use approximately 4 tea bags for a weak solution. Let the solution cool slightly. Wet the fabric to be dyed with warm water. Squeeze out the excess and then place into the tea solution. If you are wanting an even dye remove the tea bags. Leave for a few hours stirring occasionally to ensure the tea dye is being taken up evenly. Alternatively leave the bags in the solution for a more uneven result. Remove the fabric from the tea solution and squeeze out the excess water. Remember the colour will be lighter when the fabric dries.

Another method is to put some strong tea in a spray bottle and spray the fabric until you get the desired effect. Or you can dab the fabric with the warm tea bags to give a more dappled result.Here is a sample of a project that I have tea dyed by dabbing with a tea bag.

Once your fabric is dry and you are happy with the aged look press with a hot iron. If you are unhappy with the result simply repeat the process again to darken further, or soak in a solution of stain remover such as nappysan to bring the fabric back to its original condition.
Dyeing fabric with tea can give your projects a unique aged feel to them.

Happy fabric dyeing !

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