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Tips & Techniques > Changing bright colours to dusky (using tea dye)

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Posted by: Dilliander
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About Dilliander starstarstarstar
NSW Australia
Member since: 11/28/08
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Posted on: 9/30/12 8:46 PM
Review Rating: Very Helpful by 9 people   
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This is the second successful experiment to find ways to change fabrics with bright colours to dusky. The first dye was with espresso coffee


In this experiment tea bags were used to over dye a linen knit from a bright pink to a dusky salmon.


8 cups boiling water
12 regular strength Lipton Quality Black Tea bags


* steep tea bags in boiling water for approx 5 mins

* allow to cool

* pre-soak fabric in water

* add wet fabric to tea solution and use a small plate to ensure all fabric is submerged

* soak for 20 minutes

* iron dry


The tea bag dye gave a good depth of colour change and worked well for this garment from natural fibres with an existing light solid colour.

Finished cardigan before & after comparision This photo gives an indication of the change in colour and tone. However in reality the pink was not quite so pink and the over-dyed cardigan is slightly more autumnal in shade.


added 11 october 2012

This experiment used the same method as above, except the tea dye solution was weaker and the fabric was a bright blue cotton slub knit with 5% elastene (purchased from Spotlight).


6 tea bags steeped in 1 litre boiling water for 5 mins, then removed and diluted with 1 litre cold water. Fabric soaked for 20 mins then ironed dry


Fabric colour changed from a bright 'Summer' blue to an 'Autumn' dusky teal

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niceheart said... (11/4/12 10:25 PM) Reply
What a terrific tip. Does the colour revert to normal after washing?
KathySews said... (10/25/12 8:19 AM) Reply
Thanks. I have a too bright fabric that I keep looking at, trying to make it work. This will be the answer.
Kathy in NM said... (10/5/12 12:21 PM) Reply
Thank you for sharing your examples. I keep thinking about trying this. Your notes are very straight forward.
brissie71 said... (10/1/12 9:06 PM) Reply
Great tip. I'm sure this one is going to come in handy for me, too, as I prefer the warmer shades.
margk said... (10/1/12 10:38 AM) Reply
Great idea. Let us know if the "dye" fades with washing.
Stitchsdm said... (10/1/12 7:34 AM) Reply
How cool is this! What a great job Dillander.
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