Saturday, May 3, 2014

How to "Tea Dye" Lace

Tea Dying lace is a simple project you can do to add a lovely vintage look to ordinary white lace.  There is a rich antique beauty that comes from staining lace this way.  It is also a way to add a little something special to thrift store and garage sale finds.  I love how it looks  added to linens, napkins, tea cozies, purses, and clothes.

Here are the simple instructions:

 Collect whatever lace or material you want, and put it into a bowl or a pot.

 Cotton material will absorb the stain more readily than synthetic.

 Gather 8 -10 tea bags  and heat  1/2 - 3/4 of a gallon of water to boiling.

 Place the teabags into a container and add the boiling water.  Allow to steep until the water is very strong; 8-10 minutes.

 Pour the hot tea over the lace.

 Add until completely covered.

 Stir and submerge until thoroughly soaked.

 You may also add any amount of strong hot coffee to this mixture for added stain.

 Allow to soak 2 hours to overnight.

Stir occasionally as it soaks.

Once it has reach your desired stain saturation, remove and dry.  You may rinse if you desire; I like to keep  a strong stain, so I put it directly into the dryer without rinsing to set the stain.  You can add 2 Tablespoons of vinegar to the mixture once it has soaked for several hours as an added setting agent if you like.  I find it works well with the soak and dry method for the projects I use the lace for.  If you were staining a large piece of muslin or something that you would wash and wear often, it might be a good idea to set it with the vinegar.

 Each type of fabric will take the stain differently.   

 There is no need to worry about exact measurements for this project.  Make the tea and coffee as strong or as weak as you like, soak it as you like for varying dye affects.

Have Fun.


  1. Good Evening Pam, I love the look of tea stained lace. It looks so vintage and soft! What a lovely warm day here today! May you have a wonderful and blessed Sunday and a great Mother's Day week!
    Love, Roxy

  2. Mom I really love this post. The pictures are just gorgeous. I love the look of that Tea Cozy as well. I can't wait for you to do a post on Tea Cozies!! It was so nice getting to talk to you today… I finally had a monument to get on and see your pictures up close! :) I love you!!

  3. wow that lace is beautiful love how you did the tea dye thanks for sharing~Love Heather

  4. Lovely vintage looking lace! I have actually done a little of this but I don't think I used enough tea bags. Now I know, the next time I try this...thanks for the great tutorial with your beautiful photos!

  5. Hello, Thanks for linking up this great How To...
    I love the vintage look of tea dyed lace! Sewing and creating is my heart's desire!
    Love, Roxy

  6. Hello! I am thinking of tea dying my wedding dress. Did you have any problems with uneven dye patterns? Thanks!

    1. Hi Kelsey, I love the idea of you dying your wedding dress; that would be lovely. For the most part the dying I have done has been smaller pieces, which came out pretty even in coverage. There have been darker and lighter variations in the seams and pleats. I have never dyed anything as big as a wedding dress... or even close to it, so I wouldn't be able to say what would happen, you may get some variation and uneven dye patterns. I think if you dyed it in a bath tub, or something as large, you would be able to get a more even coverage. I hope it goes well, and congratulations on your upcoming wedding. I would love to hear how everything comes out.

  7. Hi Kelsey ,
    I also am wanting to tea dye my wedding dress . Did you end up dying it , and if so I would love to know how it turned out