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Which is the best way to dye fabric with black tea?

Hi Creative Mamas! I am so excited to share with you how to achieve beautiful results with tea dyeing fabric! I want to show you this super easy and quick way to dye fabric with black tea.

The main reason why dyeing with black tea is so easy and fun is because tea naturally contains tannins which means that it will bond to the natural fibers without the assistance of a mordant. You will normally go through a few steps before you can even dye your fabric as explained in this article. But I am about to share a super quick hack to get amazing color from black tea and avoid a few long steps along the way 🙂

Dyeing fabric with tea is a super eco friendly process and a fun activity to share with the kids. You can also tea dye wool and roving and create beautiful knitting, crochet and felting projects!

dyeing with tea

The best dyeing methods to use for dyeing fabric and wool with tea

My favorite dyeing methods to use when dyeing with black tea are:

Is tea staining or dyeing permanent?

Yes! Its definitely permanent. Just make sure that when you rinse your fabric the water is coming clear. after that stage the dye should never bleed again and it will be there forever 🙂

How to tea dye fabric Tutorial

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link. Please see my disclosure for more details.

For this tutorial I will show you how to dye 100 % cotton which is a cellulose fiber. As with all natural dyeing processes you must use 100 % natural fibers to obtain best results. With a simple fabric burn test you can make sure that you have the appropriate fiber before you start the dyeing process. Click here to read how to quickly perform a fabric burn test.

Materials and Equipment:

You can follow this tutorial using these napkins or you can use any regular 100% cotton fabric. I love these napkins because I can give them away as presents!

Step 1: Tea dye

Fill a pot with hot water. Add 1 tablespoon of neutral PH soap and stir well. Place fabric inside the pot. Bring solution to a boil and boil the fabric for 1 hour until the water is yellow. Rinse well.

dye with black tea

Step 2: Tea Staining

Fill your dye pot with water and place the tea bags inside. I used 15 tea bags for this tutorial. Bring the liquid to a boil and let it go down to a simmer for 15 minutes minimum. Once you have a nice brown color you can place your wetted fabric inside the dye pot. Stir well and keep simmering for 1 hour.

dye  fabric with tea

The fabric will start to take the color little by little. You can leave it simmering for longer if you feel that the color is not intense enough. Also remember that the color will look lighter once the fabric is dry.

dye  fabric with tea

You can also add more tea bags to the dye pot in case you really want to increase the dye intensity. The dye bath will keep working for you as long as you keep the heat source going 🙂 Just play around and have fun!

dye  fabric with tea

Step 3: Removing the fabric from the tea dye

Once you are happy with the color intensity that has been achieved (in my case it took 1 hour of simmering) you can remove the cotton from the dye bath and rinse it well.

dye  fabric with tea

You want to make sure that you rinse until there is no color coming out. Tea dyeing is very easy because of the tannins in the tea. The fiber normally absorbs the tea dye really well.

dye  fabric with tea

The result of dyeing fabric with tea

dye  fabric with tea

How to achieve an antique look using tea staining to dye fabric

I use a little hack called “over dyeing” to change the color of my commercially dyed fabrics and threads as well as to change the tones of my antique laces, trims and doilies.

To learn how to give fabric a vintage look using black tea check out this tutorial.

dye  fabric with tea vintage look

How to tea dye using Solar Dyeing

I also like to use the Solar Dyeing Method to dye with tea. It’s a fun process and super cool to share with the kids. Check it out here!

solar dyeing

Are you interested in Natural Dyeing?

Download your FREE Natural Dyeing Guide. EASY 8 steps process to create bright colors from natural dyes that will last forever (even if you have never done it before.

Natural dyeing guide

If you enjoy dyeing with things that you have around the house check out these articles:

How to dye fabric with onion skins

How to dye beautiful pinks with Avocado dyes

How to make natural black dye with acorns

Want to remember this? Save this tutorial to your favorite Pinterest Board!

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