Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tea Dye Tutorial

I know I promised to show you what's inside those cute Halloween packages…but I’m waiting to receive my Halloween tree in the mail.  If I don't have it in the next few days I will show you anyway.
I have been working on decorating my place for Halloween (I LOVE Halloween) and thought I would make a tutorial on how to tea dye since I need to dye some things for a project and have had several inquiries on how I do it.   
So here ya go..this is my first tutorial so bare with me.
If I'm not dying yards fabric, I usually use my 2 cup Pyrex measuring glass and 10 tea bags.  If I'm doing lots of fabric I use a large pot on the stove and LOTS of tea bags. 
This time I'm only doing small things so I will be using my trusty Pyrex measuring cup.  Fill the cup with water to the 2 cup level and put it in the microwave for about 5 minutes or until it is boiling.  Remove it and add the tea bags.
This is how it will look.  I just leave the bags in there.  You will see why later. 
Cover a cookie sheet with foil.
Heat your oven to 220.
Since tea stains more that just your fabric, be sure to cover your counter (and yourself) with something to protect it in the event of drips and spills…because you will have drips.  Too, it will stain your hands and fingernails, so if that concerns you be sure to wear a pair of gloves.  I don't usually bother with gloves since I always have my hands in ink or glue or something depending on the project. 
Place your item into the cup tea being sure to saturate the item well.  Use this method only for fabric and trims, not paper.  Here I'm using burlap.
Remove the item carefully since the tea will be hot.  Set it aside on a plate for a minute or so to cool off then wring it out over the cup. 

Lay it out on the cookie sheet and put it in the oven.  I don't really have a set time that it takes to dry.
I just keep checking every 5-10 minutes depending on what I am dying.  I usually turn it over about half way through.  This makes the color even on both sides.  If you will only see one side, no need to turn it over.
  If you are dying paper, place it on the cookie sheet where you want it to be.  Be sure to put it where you want because once the paper is wet you wont be able to move it (it will tear).  Take a tea bag from the cup of tea and dab it on the paper.  Where you see the tea puddles the paper will be darker. 
Sometimes when its dry it doesn't quite look like I want it to.  In that case I just add more tea and return it to the oven.
Here is some of the stuff I dyed before putting it into the oven.
DSC04925 And here it is after.
Tickets before and after.
Cheese cloth before…
and after…
This is an image I printed onto muslin sheets that I bought I JoAnn’s in the quilting section.  It ran because I forgot to iron the image before I tea stained it.  I have done these before and they don't run if you follow the directions ~ and iron the image.  Actually I kinda like the way it looks for a Halloween pillow.  Everything smeared except their faces.
 Here is everything ready for me to create my banner.
And future projects.
So there you have it.  Let me know if you have any questions. 
I will show you my banner that I made from these supplies soon!


  1. Robin, your technique is by far, the best I've seen and it's even better in person! Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Oh this is fun!
    All your little bits done to perfection. I am curious to see what you make. Especially with the photo of the think it is fab the way it ran. It looks old and like it had been hanging near a fire for years and years.
    Thank you for showing us how you age and distress your materials.
    Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and for your very kind and encouraging comments.


  3. Thanks, Robin. I need to do more of this. I need a variety of creams and browns and I just dyed a bunch of lace with coffee and vanilla which smelled very good. Have you ever used an instant tea? Just curious what the results would be like as I am liking instant coffee as opposed to brewed coffee.

  4. Robin, Your tutorial ROCKS!!!!!!!! You did an amazing job & your results are awesome. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Can't wait to stop back by and see what you did with all these wonderful things.....I bet the coffee and tea market has increased dramatically with all of us "ageing" everything......

  6. Great tutorial girl! I know you put a link to it in the comment section of my tutorial but would you mind if I put an actual link to it so that people can just click and go? Thanks and hope you have a great weekend!

  7. You are one creative lady! Outstanding tutorial!!!


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