tea dyeing

In the olden days, folks used all sorts of things to dye fabric . . . plants . . . minerals . . . and even crushed insects, although for bug crushing instructions you’ll have to look elsewhere. The Old School will not be covering that.

For eggshell and tan colors, using tea is simple and quick.

Sprog #1’s wife (sprog-in-law?) wanted to make a slip with antique lace edging, but her lace was eye-blazing white. Tea to the rescue.

What do you want to tea dye? Natural fibers will take the dye best.

Choose a pot big enough to comfortably hold your dyeing project and heat water in it. Add 4 or 5 chamomile tea bags (use black tea such as Earl Grey for a darker end result).

Loose tea is pesky because it can stick to the fabric, so bag that. Let it boil for about 5 minutes for an eggshell/very light color, longer for darker.

Remove the tea bags and add the thing you’re dyeing. Poke it around until it is well submerged and soaked, then walk away.

After 5 minutes, check the color by lifting the object out with tongs.

When it has achieved the color you like (with chamomile, it will probably take 30 minutes or so), remove from the tea, blot with an old towel and let it dry.

Rinse with cold water, and you’re done.

If you’d like a more uneven look, put the steeped tea in a spray bottle and spray the dry object. The Damsel sincerely advises you test this spray method first, on something other than the quilt top you’ve spent hours weeks on.

Bonus: your house will smell delicious and cozy.