tea dyeing fabric tutorial


Black Tea is a great natural dye because it is pretty simple and makes a beautiful warm beige color.  Black tea is super easy to find and contains tannins so you won't have to use a mordant.  Salt is added at the end to help the tea stick to the fabric, but salt is not technically a mordant.  

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Book: -Wild Color- https://amzn.to/3egcLUd

Supplies: 100% Cotton Fabric or Other Cellulose Fiber Fabric

-20 Black Tea Bags such as Liptons or Store Brand ex: https://amzn.to/3hCdqkY

-Rubber Bands- https://amzn.to/3wIsYIL

-Iron- https://amzn.to/35CKbru

-Ironing Mat- https://amzn.to/2TQ3Ml1

-Or Ironing Board- https://amzn.to/3q8CxhM

-Synthrapol- dyers' detergent- https://amzn.to/3cSPNls

-Drying Rack- https://amzn.to/3gHQLmU

-Hot Plate- https://amzn.to/3gQ4lV1

-8 Quart Stock Pot- https://amzn.to/3d6w15J


I started with about 1 gallon of water in the stock pot and put it on the hot plate.  I put the heat on medium and let the water come to a boil and simmer for an hour or so.  I kept my eye on it to make sure the tea bags don't break- stirring gently.  I then let it cool off for about 2 hours and then removed the tea bags.  My goal was to get the most tea out of the tea bags.  

During this time I prepped my fabric.  I used 100% cotton fabric, but you can use any sort of cellulose fibers (plant based) such as linen, hemp, rayon, etc.  I would not recommend polyester and if you use silk or wool you will need to add acid instead of salt (and keep the temperature lower). I used shibori folds for the fabric and tied them up with rubber bands.  Check out my video for the folding techniques.  

Once the tea bath was ready and my fabric was ready, I added the tied up fabric.  I added more water at this point.  It is important to keep the fabric covered with liquid.  I turned the hot plate on low medium and got it back up to simmering.  Then I added 1 cup of salt to help the dye stick to the fabric.  The fabric and the dye are both negatively charged, so the salt helps with that.  Black tea has natural tannins, so I didn't use a mordant.  Mordants are usually made from metal, such as alum or iron.  Salt is not a mordant.  I would recommend Jenny Dean's book Wild Color to learn more about mordants etc.  

Wild Color- https://amzn.to/3egcLUd  

Disclaimer: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This is an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com.

I stirred in the salt until it was dissolved and then let the dye and fabric simmer on low for another 2 hours.  After that, I turned the heat off and let the pot sit overnight.  After it sat overnight I rinsed it with cold water and opened up my pieces to see how they turned out!  Once they were opened I rinsed them again with cold and washed them on hot with synthrapol.  After washing I set them with heat.  I washed them by hand since it was such a small load, but you can also wash in the washer dyer.

Check out my post about Natural Dyeing with Onion Skins here: https://onyxartstudios.com/blogs/news/natural-dyeing-with-onions-tutorial 

I love to teach workshops, I teach an online shibori workshop for beginners here: Online Shibori Workshops: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/shibori-indigo-tie-dye-for-beginners-virtual-workshop-tickets-121551745543?aff=erelexpmlt

Online Tie Dye Workshops: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tie-dye-online-workshop-for-beginners-tickets-112993855664?keep_tld=1

I'm also available for private and corporate workshops. Please contact me for more information. https://onyxartstudios.com/pages/contact

Skillshare Workshops:

Skillshare 14 Day Free Trial for Indigo Tie Dye Shibori Beginner Level: https://skl.sh/3mPXk83

Skillshare 14 Free Day Trial for Ice Dyeing Beginner: https://skl.sh/3xKUPJfn.

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#teadyeing #teabagdyeing #naturaldyeing

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