Tea Dyeing

I found myself a little short on time yesterday, so I’m combining Foodie Monday and Costuming Tuesday here!  Ha! One of the things I keep finding myself doing as I’m working on projects is tea dyeing.  Dyeing is familiar to many crafters using dyes like Rit or other retail products.  But sometimes I don’t need such an intense change, just something a little aged, and then I turn to my favorite drink: tea!

IMG_2305 Tea dyeing would probably more accurately be called staining, but you get a good effect: a light reddish-brown color in addition to whatever you were starting with.  It’s a nice effect for creating an aged look, and works great on just about anything porous, from fabric to paper (I used to tea dye paper for treasure maps as a kid! Hee!).  Recently, I’ve been using it to darken white materials that just needed a slightly more creamy color.  Tea dyeing is not permanent and detergents will wash it out, so keep this in mind depending on what you’re creating.

One of the items I needed a bit darker was a bit of cotton cord I purchased to make a belt.  Cotton and other natural fabrics will dye much better than synthetics, but synthetics or blends will also stain slightly (I managed to stain quite acceptably a bit of white fur synthetic to a beige).  Make sure you run a test first!

I started out by brewing a nice big batch of tea!  All you need there?  Hot water and a lot of black tea bags (just buy the cheap store brand ones in the big package).  Depending on the size of the item you need dyed, you may need to adjust your container and the amount of tea.  I had a hank of cord about 5 yards, so I just used this medium glass bowl.IMG_2311

Make your tea, and while it’s still hot, add in your material.  Use a spoon to stir it around and make sure you return every few minutes to give it another stir.  Wait for the tea to cool to a manageable temperature and then rinse your material in cool water; this will wash away a lot of the tea and show a lighter color, so if it’s not dark enough, stick it back in the bowl!  Keep going until you get the color you like.

Feel free to experiment!  Got some of that raspberry tea?  It might make a nice rose color!  Got any turmeric?  That makes a heck of a yellow or orange dye!  Works on leather, too!

So?  What kitchen items do you find yourself using in your crafting?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *