Dyeing Fabric with Black Tea {how to / tutorial}

As you can probably guess...this tute or how to is a precursor to a larger, much more fun project!
But since I had to google a how to on this {for tips} I'd thought I'd share it with y'all.

How to Dye Fabric with Black Tea!!!

LOVE the stains!  
{If you don't, be sure to read the instructions for some TIPS}

Okay, so here we go...I needed to dye the following:

1 white cotton sheet, twin size ; 6 yards of cheese cloth ; white cotton tights ; 1 cotton turtle neck

TIP ~ Cotton and other natural fabrics dye really well.  
The more cotton in the fabric, the better your dye job will be!
Synthetic Fabrics WILL NOT dye with tea.

I found the box of Black Tea at Target. It was only $1.94 for 100 bags!

You'll also need a container to dye the fabric in.  Since I was dying a large amount of fabric I decided to use a 20 gallon RubberMaid bin I had laying around.

You can use anything that will fit your fabric...even your sink if you'd like.

I threw in 30 tea bags and filled the bin halfway with a mixture of 
boiling water and hot water from the tap.

TIP ~ Let tea steep for about 5 minutes before you put your fabric in.

I threw my fabric in...stirred with a spoon and threw 10 more tea bags in just for good measure!

TIP ~ I used about 2 tea bags for every 8 oz. of water.

And then I set the timer for 60 minutes!

I just HAD to show you my cute little red vintage timer...ain't she cute?!?

TIP ~ the longer you leave the fabric in, the darker it will become.  
I checked my fabric every 20 minutes to make sure it was getting too dark for my taste. 

TIP ~ Note that once the fabric is dry, it will be a little lighter than it is wet.

TIP ~ For a more even dye job, stir the mixture frequently.  
For a more stained/spotty dye job, let sit!

This is what the tights looked like after 60 minutes...good enough for me!

Once done, pull fabric out of mixture {ringing out as necessary} and rinse with warm water.
Once you have done that to all of your fabric, throw it in the dryer for 30 minutes.  This will 'set' the dye!

And there ya go...taking bright whites to dirty dingy has never been SO easy!

TIP ~  Tea is a natural colorant and can be washed out with bleach. 
If you have dyed some fabric and decide you don't like it simply rinse it in the washer with a little bleach.  

Why Tea Dye you ask?!?


1 ~  Tea is non-toxic and is less irritable to the skin and DIVA has eczema
2 ~ It's easier to use than fabric dye
3 ~ It's inexpensive
4 ~ It's unpredictable and that's the look I was going for

Now...be sure to stay tuned for the BIGGER project!!!  
You won't want to miss it!

UPDATE: These tea dyed items were used to make:

DIVA's MUMMY Costume 2011

and her matching HandBag {Trick or Treat Bag}