Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tea Dye Tutorial

Before (above) and after (below) the tea dyeing process

Last week a client asked me to make a basket in the natural earthy tones of the Arts and Crafts movement.  I thought a lovely tea color would work well with the theme.  So, I found the darkest tea in my cupboard, a rich breakfast tea from Turkey, and went to work!

If you'd like to give tea dyeing a try, here's how to do it...

You will need:

10-12 bags of dark tea
1 yard of pre-washed fabric (cotton, linen, wool, and silk work best)
2 large bowls or pots (I used one 8-qt pot and one large ceramic bowl)
Boiling water

Dark Turkish tea - perfect for dyeing fabrics

Let's get started…

Place the tea bags in the bowl and add boiling water.  Let the bags steep for about 20 minutes, until the water is very dark in color.

Letting the tea bags steep

While the tea is steeping, place the fabric in the second bowl or pot and add cold water.  Wetting the fabric insures that it will take the dye evenly.

Wetting the fabric in cold water

Once the tea solution is good and dark, add the wet fabric.  I left the tea bags in with the fabric, which did not seem to cause any uneven color.  (Of course, you may want uneven color!)

Soaking for 5 or more hours

Let the fabric soak for about 5 hours, or overnight if you prefer.

After the fabric has reached the tone you desire, remove it from the tea solution and rinse in cold water.  When the water runs clear, wash the fabric in your washer, and then place the dryer for a short cycle.  This ensures that the color has set.

Voilà!  You now have lovely earthy tones, perfect for your next project!

Warm earthy tones

If you enjoyed this tutorial, check out my fabric painting tutorial.


  1. Oh this is such a good thing to know. Thank you gor sharing, really lovely color ;)


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