Monday, October 29, 2012

Tea Dyeing Tutorial

After doing a tea dyeing test run on a white t-shirt, I knew that tea dyeing a pair of old tube socks would be perfect for my sons Halloween costume.
What you'll need:

8-10 tea bags,
Pot of boiling water,
White cotton fabric,
and a spoon or tongs.
I used a cheap tea that I've had forever!
I wouldn't spend a lot of money on the tea, it all stains the same so go to the dollar store.  I'm pretty sure I bought this box of tea at Wal-Mart and it was super cheap.
I'm not sure how many bags you'll really need, I used 8 bags for a pair of tube socks but when I did the test run on a white t-shirt I used 15.  If you want a pretty medium brownish tan hue then I would use more bags, just to be on the safe side.
It's a good idea to tie your tea bags together, it makes them a lot easier to handle.

Depending on the amount of fabric you're using you'll need a medium pot of boiling water.
You want the least possible amount of water.  The less water, the darker your tea will be.
Once your water is boiling, take it off the hot burner and start steeping your tea bags.

Once you've achieved a dark murky color, discard the tea bags and insert your fabric and use a spoon or tongs to push your fabric down into the water and make sure it's all covered.  If you have any spots that keep floating to the top, you'll have to stand there and keep pushing them down because if it's above the water line, that part of the fabric will not stain evenly or at all.

This is what the tube socks looked like as I was letting them set.
I waited about 10-15 minutes for them to set.  The longer you wait the darker the hue will be.  You can wait over night if you think it best.
You can also reuse the old coffee grinds from your coffee pot to make a richer hue.
I didn't use coffee with the socks but I played around with it on that "test run t-shirt" that I keep mentioning.  It's a little difficult to manage because coffee filters aren't enclosed and you don't want coffee grinds in your water.

Approximately 10-15 minutes later I CAREFULLY removed the socks from the HOT water.
I poured the water out of the pot as I held the socks in the pot with my spoon and ran cold water into the pot to cool them off and then rung them out and threw them into the drier by them self.  I didn't want to chance staining my other clothes.
This is actually a terrible picture because the flash was to bright on my camera therefore making them look lighter then what they really are.

There you have it.  It's that simple.
Just a quick side note though, you should always try this dyeing method on a piece of cotton fabric that you can live without.  It would be terrible if you tried dyeing your favorite shirt and ended up not liking the color.  Also, I have NO idea how this dyeing method works on any other fabrics.  I have only used it on cotton.
I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and that you'll have fun tea dyeing.

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