How to dye fabric with tea: 9 steps (with pictures)

Table of contents:

How to dye fabric with tea: 9 steps (with pictures)
How to dye fabric with tea: 9 steps (with pictures)

Use the tea dye method to redecorate tea towels, T-shirts, and any other fabric without much hassle or expense. Tea will not be able to drastically change the color of white fabric, but it will help to hide light spots and give things an antique look. The tea method is suitable for everyone who has the opportunity to boil water.


Part 1 of 3: Prepare the tea

Dye Fabric With Tea Step 1
Dye Fabric With Tea Step 1

Step 1. Remove the tea bags from the packaging and cut the strings

Unfold the packaging of each bag and use scissors to cut the threads.

  • Black tea is best for coloring due to its rich color. Green or white tea will not give noticeable results.
  • You can also use loose tea for painting. The main advantage of the sachets is ease of handling.
  • The required number of bags depends on the size of the item and the desired color depth. There should be enough water to cover the entire fabric. The more water, the more tea bags you need.
  • In most cases, the ratio is one tea bag per cup or 250 ml of water. For a richer color, add a few extra sachets.
Dye Fabric With Tea Step 2
Dye Fabric With Tea Step 2

Step 2. Boil a large pot of water and salt

There should be enough water in the pot so that the fabric can be immersed and moved freely. Add table salt to the water and place the pot on the stove. Turn on high heat and bring water to a boil.

  • Assume 4 cups or 1 liter of water for every meter of dyeing cloth.
  • The salt will allow the color to stick to the fabric so that the garment does not fade during the wash.
  • Use 2 tablespoons of salt per liter of water.
Dye Fabric With Tea Step 3
Dye Fabric With Tea Step 3

Step 3. Brew tea in water

After boiling, remove the pot from the heat and place the tea bags in the water. Let the tea steep so that it fully discolors. In most cases, this will take at least 15 minutes.

The longer the tea is infused, the more saturated the color of the water and the dyed fabric will be. Before placing the fabric, you should make sure that you are satisfied with the color of the water

Part 2 of 3: Submerge the cloth in water

Dye Fabric With Tea Step 4
Dye Fabric With Tea Step 4

Step 1. Wash or wet the fabric

The fabric should be damp by the time of painting. Wash previously used fabric to remove stains and dirt. If you are using a new cloth, wet it with water beforehand and then wring it out.

  • Only natural fibers such as cotton, silk, linen and wool can be dyed with tea. All synthetic fabrics like polyester are not suitable for this dyeing method.
  • The fabric should be wrung out before painting, but not allowed to dry.
Dye Fabric With Tea Step 5
Dye Fabric With Tea Step 5

Step 2. Remove the bags and place the cloth in water

If the tea has already colored the water in the desired color, then carefully remove all the bags from it. They won't be useful anymore. Place a damp cloth in a saucepan and make sure it is completely submerged.

  • Use a wooden spoon or other tool to spread the fabric in the pot and submerge it completely under the water.
  • Some areas of the fabric will begin to float. Submerge them under water using a spoon.
Dye Fabric With Tea Step 6
Dye Fabric With Tea Step 6

Step 3. Leave the fabric in the solution for at least one hour

After immersing all the fabric in the saucepan, let it sit in the solution for at least 60 minutes. The longer the fabric is kept in the tea, the more intense the color will become.

  • You can leave the fabric in the solution overnight to make sure the color is saturated.
  • It is recommended to stir the fabric periodically to distribute the color evenly on its surface.
  • You can remove the fabric from the solution from time to time and check the color. It is important to understand that dry fabric will turn out to be lighter than wet, so sometimes it takes more time than it seems at first glance.

Part 3 of 3: Rinse and dry the fabric

Dye Fabric With Tea Step 7
Dye Fabric With Tea Step 7

Step 1. Rinse and leave the cloth in cold water with vinegar

After the fabric is dyed to the desired color, remove it from the tea solution. Rinse quickly in cold water and then let sit in a container of cold water for 10 minutes. Add some vinegar to the water to set the color.

If you are concerned about the tea smell of the fabric, wash it by hand with a mild detergent to remove the smell

Dye Fabric With Tea Step 8
Dye Fabric With Tea Step 8

Step 2. Squeeze out the water and dry the cloth

After the cloth has soaked in cold water with vinegar, it should be removed from the container and squeezed out. Spread the garment out in a warm and sunny place to allow the fabric to dry completely.

Depending on the type of fabric, it is sometimes best to use a tumble dryer

Dye Fabric With Tea Step 9
Dye Fabric With Tea Step 9

Step 3. Use an iron to iron the fabric

After painting and drying, the item will be wrinkled. Use an iron to smooth the fabric and make it look more attractive.

Don't forget to consider the type of fabric. Durable cotton and linen fabrics can handle high temperatures well, while more delicate fabrics like silk require very careful handling. Heavy wool needs to be steamed. Check the operating instructions for your iron to find the best setting for your iron


  • Cotton fabric is best for this dyeing method.
  • Try to get spectacular stains by tying things in a bundle with a string beforehand. Remove the rope after the fabric is completely dry.
  • Create a speckled pattern by sprinkling salt on the fabric before drying. The salt will absorb some of the color and create small stains.
  • Do not rush to pour out the solution after you take the thing out of it. You may want to submerge the fabric in the solution again for a more intense color.

Popular by topic