Do you want to dye your favorite outfit by yourself with tea? Don’t worry, you can easily dye fabric with tea in just 3 steps. It involves simple tasks along with no costlier chemicals or auxiliaries. Tea has affinity for the natural fibers like cotton, linen or wool. But will not stain the synthetic fibers like polyester. You must try this simple procedure at home to give your t-shirt, kitchen towel, sweat-shirt or cotton dress a vintage look.
Table of Contents
Supplies need to dye fabric with tea
A large pot
3 basic steps to dye fabric with tea:
Steeping tea bags in water
Soak the fabric that is to be dyed
Let’s discuss the steps in detail –
Steeping tea bags in water
Discard the tea bags from the packaging and cut the strings from them. You can easily do it with scissors.
The number of tea bags needed depends on the depth of color you want. If you need dark shade then more tea bags will be needed.
Black tea will be a good option for dark color. Green tea can’t give that prominent color. Black tea gives cream, tanned or brown color. Again, for pale or light green color use green tea. If want pink or lavender shade then use flower or fruit teas.
This procedure can be carried with loose tea also. But that may be a messy one.
Here, 1 tea bag was used for one cup of water. Again, the amount depends on the quantity or length of the fabric that is to be dyed. For this experiment 85 pcs of tea bags were used.
Set a pot of water on heat and bring it to a boil. Use water according to the need to dye your fabric and select the pot properly sothat the fabric can freely move inside it. Add two tbsp. of salt for every four cups of water. It will help to penetrate and set the color to the fiber and also will prevent the color from coming out.
Then add the tea bags in the boiling water. Here, for this particular experiment 85 tea bags were used.
Make sure you stir the tea a few times to lift the tea from bottom and to ensure it is mixed properly.
Allow the tea steeping in the water. Let them soak in the boiling water until the desired color comes out of it. Keep them good for 10-15 minutes. This time is generally enough for the tea bags to release the entire color.
Once you get the desire color, remove the tea bags from the pot.
Putting tea bags in boiling water
Steeping tea bags in boiling water
Removal of tea bags
Image Source: Tasha Leelyn
Soak the fabric in tea water
Wash the fabric to make it completely free from stain or dirt. If yours is a new one then just spray water on it as you want your item get damped. You can also soak the fabric into water but make sure you don’t completely dry it.
When the desired color will come out, add the damp fabric into it. Make sure the fabric is completely immersed in the tea dye bath.
To make sure the fabric rests under the water, any wooden spoon or spatula may help you to swirl the fabric.
Allow the fabric to soak at least for one hour. Here, for the experiment, the fabric was soaked for 3 hours. The more the fabric will be soaked, the darker the color will be.
For a deeper shade, you may soak the fabric overnight.
Temperature helps in dyeing. But some fabric may shrink to set in the boiling water. You can keep the fabric to be soaked while keeping the flame at low level. Or, just keep the fabric to be soaked in the boiling tea dye bath without any heat. Do not worry it will keep warm for a long time.
Tea dye is good for natural fibers. It will not work on synthetic fiber. Check every few minutes for fabrics like linen or cotton as the color easily penetrates inside them. For other fabrics you need not to worry that much.
It will be beneficial to stir or agitate the fabric inside the bath to ensure even dyeing.
Pre-wash the fabric
Fabric immersed in the tea water
Soak the fabric in the tea water
Image Source: Tasha Leelyn
Once your desired color comes out, get the fabric out from the bath and give it a good rinse with cold water.
Add vinegar to the water and immerse the fabric into that mixture for about 10-15 minutes.
This step will help to retain the color on the fabric and enable the color not to fade easily.
Then get the fabric out from the vinegar-water mixture and allow it to dry completely.
Air dry your fabric or you can use dryer according to the fabric you used.
Iron the fabric to remove any wrinkles from the fabric that may be caused during dyeing. It will also give a good luster to the fabric.
The after-treatment procedure is carried out for long lasting color and better color-fastness. But in this experiment no vinegar is used just rinsed the fabric, allowed to dry and ironed for a smoother appearance. Using vinegar will keep your color for a long time.
To Sum Up!
Tea dyeing is a very easy process. Give it a try at home and make your favorite dress look prettier. With these simple steps any one can easily dye the fabric using tea bags. Whether you want to dye orprint by yourself at home, it is not that difficult at all. With some basic tools, enjoy to wear your apparels dyed or printed by yourself.
Salma Hasin Shila, the author of this site completed her BSc. in Textile Engineering (Wet Processing Engineering) from Bangladesh University of Textiles www.butex.edu.bd (BUTEX). She has a passion for textile technology and love to write about it. She wants to share her knowledge to help the students in their studies and businessman & entrepreneurs in their business in making wise decisions fast.