DIY Tea Craft: Tea-dyeing

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Dearies, I’ve been a little excited about the approach of spring! Kat and I are having tea parties, sipping floral teas, and trying our hardest to celebrate everything spring. The other day I was having a look through one of Kat’s magazines and I noticed quite a lot of tie-dyed clothing. Tie dye always makes me think of warmer days. When Kat was little, Char would have her over and they’d create all sorts of lovely tie-dyed shirts and leggings, hanging them out to dry on the clothesline right outside the kitchen window. I’d gaze out the window and look at all those vibrant colors. It had me wondering, is it possible to use tea to tie-dye? Shall we call it, tea-dyeing?

 First you need to choose what you are going to dye. Kat’s recently done pillowcases, tank tops, t-shirts, even cloth napkins. I love using tea-dyed cloth napkins for tea parties- they certainly are a conversation starter! Make sure your fabric is washed and ready. Along with your fabric, you’re going to need a few things to get you started:

 -Teabags: we’ve used black tea, blueberry, hibiscus, and pomegranate teas in the past, but you can use all sorts- anything that gives a lovely dark hue. You don’t want anything light, it won’t take very well to the cloth. But also make sure you are using a tea you won’t mind parting with, since you won’t be drinking it!

-Boiling water

-Large bowl or pot- something large enough for the fabric you are tea dyeing

-1/4 cup white vinegar (optional)

-Lots of rubber bands

 Wrap up your fabric with the rubber bands. To get an interesting pattern, you can wrap the bands all over. It will make interesting rings around your fabric once the dye sets. If you prefer to have your fabric completely stained, then you don’t need to add the rubber bands at all. But I do like the festive patterns they create.

 You’ll need to boil enough water to submerge your fabric. Be extra sure to check that your fabric fits in the vessel. You don’t want to have everything ready to go and realize you can’t fit your pillowcase in the bowl you chose!

 Once you have your water boiled, you’ll need to add lots of teabags- you want the liquid to be as dark as possible. The tea isn’t like traditional dyes, it won’t stain as brightly. Kat uses about 20 teabags for a pillowcase. If you’re dyeing something larger, you should really use more. Let the bags steep for quite a while, at least 15-20 minutes. Make sure the water is nice and hot when you submerge the fabric. The color takes to the fabric much easier when it’s hot.

 Leave your fabric in for as long as you’d like- remember that the color make look dark but once it dries it will lighten up considerably. Kat likes to leave things in for at least 20 minutes and will leave things in for up to an hour, to make sure it’s good and dark.

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Once you are satisfied with the color you have, take out the garment and give it a quick rinse in cold water. You can add a 1/4 cup of white vinegar to your rinse, to help set the color in. Unwrap the rubber bands and hang to dry.

 When it’s time to wash your fabric, make sure to hand wash. If you throw your tea-dyed garments in the machine, it’ll fade much quicker.

 Enjoy your springtime tea craft! I’d love it if you sent me pictures of your creations. Tea loving folk are such a creative bunch!

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