Monday, 12 May 2014

Tea Dye Tutorial





This morning at my quilt guild, "The Chinook Guild of Fibre Arts", in Calgary I taught the ladies the basics of fabric tea dye.  This is a simple and fun process that results in gorgeous colors.

Begin with 100% natural fibre fabric.  For this experiment we worked with white fat quarters of 100% cotton.  Silk, wool, and linen will also work well.

In 1 litre (or quart) of boiling water steep 3-4 tea bags or equal amounts of loose tea.  Add 1/4 cup vinegar to help set the color.  

Allow this to steep and cool.  Leave the tea bags in the water throughout the whole dye process. 

Place your fabric in the tea bath and allow to soak until you have the desired color.   A longer time will result in a deeper color.  You can leave the fabric in for as little as a minute or up to an hour if you desire. 

In the photo above the browner tones are black teas, the medium pink is a berry tea, and the darker pink is a hibiscus tea.  At this stage these fabrics are drying outside on my picnic table.

I have scrunched and twisted the fabrics to dry as this will create a mottled effect in the color.  Some of these fabrics have loose tea rolled in them to create another color effect.  

After the fabric is dry, rub off any dryed on tea, and heat set the fabric with an iron.  The dyed fabric will be washable in cold water and air-dryed.  It will fade some after washing, so as little laundering as possible is recommended.

 Fabric after air drying. 


 Heat set with an iron. 


 The completed fabric. 


I must thank my good friend, Connie, for inspiring me to tea dye fabric :) 


Please see this link for more information:




3 comments:

  1. Love the subtle effects achieved. Definitely one to try.

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  2. OH MY, DOES THIS EVER TAKE MKE " BACK " TO DYING FABRIC AND WOOL WITH MY MOTHER. LOVELY CLASS, MANY THANKS MELANIE !!!

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