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DIY Tea Dyed Yarn

By: Rebecca Roush for AllFreeKnitting

Did you know that you can use tea to hand dye your own yarn?  In this free tutorial, we'll learn how to dye wool using common kitchen ingredients.  The result is pretty neat!
 


 

Once I started dyeing yarn at home, I soon found myself looking around my kitchen for anything that could dye yarn. I started looking at item that could cause stains on clothing. Finally my eye hit my huge tea collection. I have used tea in the past to stain paper to make it look aged, why not use it to dye yarn? In the accompanying video, I dyed yarn with three types of tea simultaneously. For the purposes of this written tutorial, I will write the instructions for a single dyepot.

Materials:

  • Fiber - I am using 100% wool yarn for this tutorial, 4g in each sample.
  • A microwave safe container that can hold your desired volume of water.
  • Heat - a microwave.
  • Tea - I used three different types of tea in the video to show you how you can get a range of colors: Black Tea, Chamomile Tea and a Fruity Herbal tea. I used 1 tea bag per 4 g of yarn in this tutorial, but this quantity of tea is enough to dye greater quantities of yarn.
  • Acid - White vinegar (1 tsp per cup of water)
  • Water - In this tutorial I am using 1 cup of water per sample. If you are using more yarn, you will want to increase your volume of water so there is enough to cover your yarn in the microwave safe container.

 

Instructions:

  1. Before you begin, pre-soak your yarn in cool water.
     
  2. Boil some water in a tea kettle or in your microwave. Transfer boiling water to the microwave safe container you will use to dye your yarn (if necessary.) I used 1 cup of water per 4g of yarn.
     
  3. Add your tea bag to the hot water and brew your tea for 1 min or until you get the tea to the desired strength.
     
  4. Add 1 tsp of vinegar per cup of tea to the dyebath.
     
  5. Gently squeeze out the excess water from the presoaked yarn and add it to the tea/vinegar mixture.
     
  6. Place the container in the microwave and heat until the water starts to boil. Allow the yarn to cool until desired color is reached, reheating if necessary. Unlike other types of microwave dyeing, do not expect the dye bath to clear.
     
  7. Allow the yarn to cool completely. Be careful when checking the color of the yarn, avoid agitating the yarn to prevent felting.
     
  8. Once the yarn is cool, rinse the yarn in lukewarm water with mild soap until the water runs clear.
     
  9. Hang up your tea dyed yarn to dry!

 

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to tea stain yarn. Isn’t it fun to stain something on purpose? Now that you have started to dye yarn with tea, you can experiment with different amounts of yarn, different amounts of acid, and even the volume of water you “cook” your yarn in. You can even add food coloring to the tea to see how it affects the color of your yarn. In my experience, using tea with food coloring results in more muted (less vibrant/neon) colors.
 

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What a great tutorial! I love that you can use tea to dye yarn, fabric, and even lace. Simple way to dye with ingredients from your kitchen and a microwave! For my wedding, the florist dyed lace to wrap around a closed umbrella with flowers attached as my bouquet. Gave it a vintage look. Tea really works as a dye!

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