Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Tea dyeing

I keep seeing it on the Internet and so I had to have a go at tea dyeing.   I didn't bother much with recipe instructions, I simply added salt to hot black tea - very strong, and left my scraps of fabric in it or a few hours.  The salt fixes the stain a bit - in theory.

It worked really well and I was delighted with the antique and shabby chic looking colour it produced.

Again, I can't get a good enough shot to do the colour justice, but these fabrics were once pure white cheesecloth, and black/white striped lightweight cotton. I've made enough for a Blythe outfit I have planned.

Here's a bit of a close-up.  I still can't get the full colour, but at least it rinsed well and the stain remained in the fabric.   I always recommend lining dolls clothes with white or ivory, or very pale fabrics - even with commercially dyed fabrics.  Just to be safe.

I'll have a go with coffee next, just to see if there's a big colour difference.  I once had a flatmate who dyed a cotton jacket and skirt suit with coffee, and it worked amazingly well.   I'm inclined to try a squash, like blackcurrant or Ribena too.   Having gotten Ribena on white teeshirts in the past, I know it's very hard to shift the stain! 

Looking around the interwebz at what people have tried, I see Kool-Aid can be used for tinting various materials too. It can't be used on cottons and rayons, alas, only animal fibres like wool and silk.  But I'm positive that cottons will stain using some of the fruit squash we have in the kitchen cupboards.

I'm going to be so popular with my housemates.



  1. Looks good - I've seen Koolaid used to due yarn with great results. You might get some ideas as to what might work from this site I suspect cotton doesn't take these sort of dyes well though! I do like the idea of using icing colours to dye yarn... one day when I've more time!!!

    1. I do have a load of proper fabric dyes, but I'm contrary and like to find different ways of dying with ordinary (and cheaper) kitchen items! I may try using icing colours with salt to see what happens.

  2. Lol, I love your inventiveness. I used to tea dye a lot when I was patchworking, think I tried coffee as well but never thought to see what else in the kitchen cupboard might work. Looking forward to seeing more results!

    1. I love doing it, but there's not mush space to dry stuff indoors so I have to wait for sunshine. I read about a couple of other easy to use dyes too. Turmeric for yellow, and elderberries reportedly make a better purple/blue than blackberries. And apparently spinach makes a good green.


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