A home method for ageing or darkening fabric, ribbon or other textiles. We use the tannins from basic tea bags, on a very ad-hoc basis, just to take the heat out of a colour when we need to, to knock it back.

We steep the tea basin boiling water for a few seconds ( and no more than half a minute ) before immersing the material. I prefer to use more tea bags for a shorter time than trying to squeeze out every last dreg of colour; in this way too the dye will be more evenly distributed. For us it is a very inexact science as we’re never trying to colour a very large piece- and it can all be very last minute, when we decide that whatever we are using would be improved if slightly softer,

Before you begin, experiment with a sample piece first–the bowl or bath you use will need to be large enough to accommodate the whole cloth at one time, and you need to know roughly how many teas bags you’ll need for the volume of material.

For small amounts, and for testing, a cafetière is the perfect container for keeping the material under liquid for as even a dying finish as possible. To start with we would use six good quality standard tea bags in a medium sized cafetière. Pour boiling water, over, leave for thirty seconds, remove the tea bags and then add a 50 – 70 cms square of calico to the liquid. plunger an laves for another half minute, then see what you have. From this you will know how to make your adjustments.

There will always be striations at the crease lines and variations in colour–if either, the tea bags stay in, or the fabric remains creased. For ageing rather than colouring this is good. However every situation is different and it doesn’t take long to experiment.

Watch this space, though, for more accurate recipes……




Pin It on Pinterest

Share This