How to Tea Dye Fabrics for a Vintage Look

Lace and white cotton fabrics with an ‘aged’ vintage look have always been viewed by collectors and designers as special and unique, with a number of them going the extra mile to look for vintage inspired fabrics, for instance, to sew wedding gowns, make table linen, or use for art and craft hobbies.

However, we know that genuine vintage fabrics are hard to find but nothing stops us from getting imaginative.

If the authentic is unavailable or impossible to find, you can get creative by tea staining fabrics but it's good to ensure you choose fabrics with classic weaves and textures like lace, brocade, embroidered velvet, or satin if you seek that genuine aged look.

The ‘Aged’ Fabric Look


That faded aged look peculiar to today's fabrics finds of the late 1800s to the mid-1900’s with an almost creamy ‘buttery’ hue were luxury materials of the time. Today, you'll still find treasures of such in bridal wear, blouses, other clothing, home décor items (table cloths, napkins, chair-back covers, beddings, linen, and comforters) that you find at estate sales, yard garage sales, and from online stores like eBay.com and Amazon.com.

If you have a passion for vintage stuff, including fabrics and apparel, here is a simple way to make them look vintage or antique.

Tablecloths, lace-edged pillowcases, a Victorian style wedding dress, a bridal veil? You can make whatever you desire. All you need is to buy some great fabric, cotton, voile, lace, or linen, and tea dye it to 'age' it.

Best Fabrics to Tea Dye


The best fabrics for this project are cotton-based textiles like lace and voile but you can also use plain fine cotton, satin, and such similar materials and as long as it is predominantly cotton, it will work well. And if you can’t find what you require at your local stores, look for it online at places like Fabric.com, MoodFabrics.com, or BestFabricStore.com


How to Tea Dye - Step by Step Guide

 

The colours that work best for tea dying are white, champagne, eggshell, or off-white fabrics.

What you Require for Tea Staining

You’ll need the following to give your fabric that perfect antique and vintage look.
  • Regular tea bags
  • 1 gallon of water to 2 yards (2 m.) of fabric
  • Vinegar
  • Salt

Staining Process
  • Boil 6 teabags per gallon of water.
  • Leave the tea to cool down until warm
  • Put the cotton cloth in the tea solution, and leave it in to soak well
  • If you require just a light staining, let it sit in the solution for 6 hours
  • For a medium stain, it’s good to let it soak in the solution for 12hours
  • If you want maximum staining, let it sit for approximately 24hours

In some cases, tea dyed materials will fade with consecutive washes, so if you want a longer staying power, you may want to use a couple more tea bags than suggested above. This will give you a darker tea solution, and thus a deeper shade.

If you want to avoid it getting washed out over a short period of time, steep the tea stained fabric in a vinegar/salt/water solution immediately after staining. Air-dry flat or dry it with a semi-hot iron. This will allow the dye to set perfectly and ensure it won't fade after your first couple of washes.




What You Can Make with Fabrics That Look Aged


You can get creative with this! Tea dye fabrics and make any of the following (and more) items:
  • Vintage bridal dress styles
  • Cathedral veils
  • Cloche hats
  • Bridal gloves
  • Lace tops and blouses
  • Embroidered jackets
  • Table linen and napkins
  • Chair covers
  • Lace collars
  • Necklace collars
  • Patchwork quilts 
  • Crafts

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