Monday, September 19, 2011

˚tutorial˚ Picnic Wedding: Tea Dying

Have you entered the giveaway here? Hop on over really quick and do it. Four chances to win the PDF pattern and materials to make this adorable little creature. Ends on Saturday!

Do you remember the little dresses from here? Before they could be worn by the adorable flower girls, they had to be tea dyed. Everybody knows you can't have the bride in ivory and the flower girls in white right?

As we looked online for tutorials, most places said to only use black tea. We ignored their advice and tested out the tea for ourselves. We labeled the different boxes and the cups with corresponding numbers. We then soaked the tea bags in hot water for awhile before throwing in some scrap fabric.

The fruit teas tended to give more of a red tint and the lighter teas didn't give enough color. We ended up choosing two dark brown teas and mixing them (mostly because that is what we had on hand. If you are purchasing tea to use, I would just go ahead and use black tea.)

Once we picked the tea we wanted to use, we removed the permanent marker on the glass cups with rubbing alcohol. Worked like a charm.

We pulled the scrap fabric out and dried it to make sure it was what we wanted. You can see the change in color on our scrap fabric below. 

To do the dresses, we found an old paint bucket. You will want to use a large container that can be tossed when you are done. The tea tends to stain it a bit. (Although plenty of tutorials say they did this in their sink. Not sure how they functioned for 6 hours without a sink, but its an option) We put about 50 tea bags in the bottom (and we should have removed the tags...but we didn't.)

We boiled a lot of water...

...and a towel underneath the bucket provided a little bit of protection for the floor as we poured the boiling water into the bucket. 

We let the tea sit for about 30 minutes...

...with a large pan over the top to keep it hot.

After about 30 minutes, we removed the tea bags and fished out all of the paper tags. We should have taken those off in the beginning. live and you learn.

After rinsing the three dresses in cool water, squeezing most of the water out, and untangling them...

...we plopped them in the bucket and gave them a good stir. And then we waited. About 4 hours. BUT...we stirred those dresses about every 15-30 minutes.

Once they started looking a little darker than we wanted,

we rinsed them out until the water ran clear.

They weren't quite as dark as we hoped, so we plopped them back in for a little bit longer. 
Once we took the dresses out for good, we found a few dark spots on one of them. LAME! Apparently one of the tea bags had busted and the particles were all over in the bucket. 

We soaked the two dresses that looked good in water with vinegar for about 15 minutes to set the color.

Then we got to work on the spotted dress. We decided to strain the tea through a cloth to remove any of the small particles. 

We were quite surprised by how many particles we removed. 

We also took the dress and soaked it in clean water with a little bit of bleach. This removed all the color rather quickly. And we started over. About 6 hours later, we had a lovely colored dress.

 (In the end, there were a few random spots here and there on all three of the dresses, but we decided it added to the vintage feel.)

Phew. After sewing on the buttons and adding a ribbon around the waist, those little girls were thrilled to wear such cute dresses.

In the end, we learned a lot. If I were to do it again, I would have done a few things differently:

1. tea dyed the fabric BEFORE making the dresses
2. removed the paper tags from the tea bags
3. strained the tea at the beginning

So, if you ever have the desire to tea dye something.....remember that. 

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous!! Love the craft and the model! Adorable dress, and thanks for the tutorial! And thanks so much for linking up to mini mod!


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