Tea Dyeing

Do you prefer the OLD, faded and worn look of antique needlework or hooked rugs? A simple technique of ‘aging‘ a hand-piece may be accomplished right in your very own kitchen by tea dyeing. Tea dyeing will dull down a ‘bright’ piece of wool or fabric and give it an antique, primitive look.

Start by pre-soaking your wool or fabric in warm water with 1 drop of Jet-Dry. Fill your enamel or stainless steel dye pot approx. 1/4 full of water and bring to a boil. Add about 4 tea bags – I prefer Lipton, but you may experiment with other tea brands. Red Rose gives off a more distinctive reddish tint.  Remove the tea bags and add your wool to the pot and continue to simmer until you’ve reached the desired color/effect. Add 1/4 cup vinegar and boil an additional 10 minutes to set the color. Cool thoroughly, then rinse well with water and dry.

Similarly, make a tea ‘bath’ by boiling a kettle of water, add 4 – 5 tea bags and steep for an hour. When cooled, use the tea bag to blot your finished hand-worked piece to achieve the desired effect. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees F and place your tea stained ‘piece’ on a cookie sheet in the oven to dry. Check frequently so that it doesn’t burn!

Also…vanilla flavored instant coffee may also be used for ‘dyeing’ a deeper color than tea dyeing. Add about 1 tablespoon instant coffee to 1-2 cups boiling water. Fill your dye pot 1/4 to 1/2 full of water and bring to a boil. Add the coffee solution and your pre-soaked wool. Watch closely for the desired color and repeat as for tea dyeing. I also like to use coffee ‘dyeing’ for staining paper and card stock to create primitive-looking tags & labels!

Enjoy creating a hand-made today… tomorrow’s heirloom.

2 thoughts on “Tea Dyeing

  1. Pingback: My 1st Try at Needle Felting « Red Rope Farm

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