how to: tea dye
after failing to acquire natural colored cross stitch fabric at my local sewing store, i tried my hand at tea dying. this was a first for me, but the process was so simple and the results were so spot on, that i had to share. all you need are 10 tea bags and a large pot of water. i was dying a 14" x 40" piece of fabric, in an 8qt pot filled about 3/4. any cheap black tea will work. i was too lazy to leave the house again for cheap tea, so i used what we had (tazo awake).
- open 10 tea bags. it helps to tie the bags together so you don't have to fish around for all of them later.
- bring water to a boil. turn off heat and add tea bags. let steep for 10 minutes.
- squeeze the excess liquid from the tea bags, and remove from the pot.
- wet fabric before adding it to the pot. this helps it to absorb the color evenly.
- completely submerge fabric, and let sit for 30 minutes.
- check fabric to see if it's the color you're looking for. remember that it will be lighter once you rinse and dry it.
- if you want a darker color, put fabric back in the pot and give it a good stir. keep submerged for 30 minute intervals, stirring every time you check (mine was in for 2 hours).
- when the color is slightly darker than what you want, remove it from the pot and rinse under cool water.
- let dry by air, or toss in the dryer on low heat.
something to think about: this is a cotton based fabric. i have no idea what would happen with a silk or wool, but if you're fabric has any degree of synthetic in it, i wouldn't recommend this method.