How to tea dye fabric for an aged or antique look is very easy.
One method is to use tea to dye your fabric. You can tea dye the fabric
before using it or after depending on its end use. If I am making a sewing bag for example.
I would dye the fabric before using it.
If I wanted to embroider on the fabric I would choose to tea dye the fabric after working on
it simply because it is much easier to transfer the pattern prior to darkening the fabric.
Although if you choose to tea dye the fabric after embroidering on it be aware that the dye
can effect the colour of the embroidery threads used and can sometimes shrink the fabric as well.
To dye fabric with tea place some tea bags in a glass bowl and then fill with boiling water.
Add a teaspoon of salt to help set the dye. The number of tea bags will determine the strength
of the tea dye solution. As a guide use approximately 4 tea bags for a weak solution. Let the
solution cool slightly. Wet the fabric to be dyed with warm water. Squeeze out the excess and
then place into the tea solution. If you are wanting an even dye remove the tea bags. Leave for
a few hours stirring occasionally to ensure the tea dye is being taken up evenly.
Alternatively leave the bags in the solution for a more uneven result. Remove the fabric from
the tea solution and squeeze out the excess water. Remember the colour will be lighter when the
Another method is to put some strong tea in a spray bottle and spray the fabric until you get
the desired effect. Or you can dab the fabric with the warm tea bags to give a more dappled result.
Another method used to age fabric is to use Parisian essence (found in the cooking section of the supermarket).
Parisian essence is used in cooking for browning gravies, soups, broths, cakes and puddings.
The same technique described above can be used for aging your fabric with this solution.
Simply substitute the tea bags with a 1-2 teaspoons of Parisian essence. Coffee can also be
used as an alternative substitute, although is a more expensive choice.
If you experiment with each of these methods you will find that they all dye the fabric a different shade.
Tea will give a more yellow brown colour whilst Parisian essence and coffee give a deeper brown shade.
Once your fabric is dry and you are happy with the aged look press with a hot iron. If you are unhappy
with the result simply repeat the process again to darken further, or soak in a solution of stain remover
such as colourfast Napisan to bring the fabric back to its original condition.
Dyeing fabric with tea,coffee or Parisian essence can give your projects a unique aged feel to them.
Click here to get a free redwork pattern that has been given the tea dye look...this ones on us!