Wednesday, November 07, 2012

DIY: Dyeing Fabric with Tea

I have this tendency to find things super cheap and have this horrible lapse in judgement on whether or not the item even looks good. This $5 sequin tank was one of them. So I figured I could turn this into an opportunity to try out a project dyeing fabric with tea bags.


1. Boil enough water to submerge your entire item in water and fill your chosen container. I was told that it's best to use a lighter colored container, rather than a dark colored one to get a better feel of what the color would look like. I used a clear Pyrex.

2. Add small amounts of tea bags at a time until you find a color that you like best. I found it best to start out with a lighter solution because it allowed me to pull out my shirt before it got too dark.

3. Saturate your item in clear water and shake it out, trying to make sure there are not wrinkles or creases. This allows the item to absorb the dye more evenly. (Most people suggest to test a swatch of the fabric first to make sure you like the results. I was a tad too impatient to do that.)

4. The longer you keep your shirt submerged, the darker it'll be. Pretty simple concept.. Pull out your item from the dye when you've reached your desired color, and rinse it in clear water until the water runs clean.

5. Wring out the item and dry it.

I used Lipton black tea and ended up with this light, golden color. I was pretty pleased with the results, and the new color definitely makes it more wearable in my opinion. I'll probably iron it to allow the color to set in. It'll be interesting to see how long it lasts. Similar to when you dye any other items, it's usually best to dye natural items made from cotton, muslin, or linen. This shirt was actually made of polyester and rayon, so I was surprised it held the dye so well.  And since your using a "natural" dye, but cautious when you use normal laundry detergent and throw it in the wash. There's a chance that the colors may come out entirely. Hand washing it seems like it'd be the safest bet.

It was a simple project definitely worth trying, especially being a girl on a low budget. It's great not only for clothes that need a little pick-me-up, but also super white curtains that you want to give a vintage touch or a lace table cloth. Hope someone out there finds this to be helpful!!

Happy Dyeing!