Natural Dyeing Recipe: Tea
For this, I used oolong tea leaves because it’s the only black tea I had, but it works. pH didn’t seem to make much a difference on it though.
Strainer / cheesecloth
- Boil loose tea leaves in water for about an hour, until you’re happy with the intensity of dye bath
- Let cool before straining
Tea is rich in tannins, which is a natural mordant, so you don’t actually need a mordant when dying with tea. But for the sake of my sanity (dyeing 23 pieces of wool in a week!), I kept everything constant by having all the wool I used mordanted with alum.
There is another recipe which I found that suggested soaking tea leaves in water and white vinegar, 4:1, for about 20-60 minutes. And then to boil it after that. I think it’s more for plant-based fibres, and for use without mordanting as vinegar is one way to fix colours on cellulose textiles. So if I do this again, but with something like cotton or linen, I’d try this second recipe!
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