Tea staining has been around for hundreds of years. It is the perfect way to give fabric, lace or even paper an antique or vintage feel. I was first introduced to tea staining as a small child when my brother and I drew out a treasure map. To give the map an aged look my mother made a cup of tea, removed the tea bag and wiped it gently over the paper. It worked! She also set the corners alight with a match to give it a vintage feel, though I wouldn't recommend you ever doing that with any fabric or lace! It was from that moment that my fascination with natural dyes began. Our latest Antique Tea Rose Collection, featuring a silk bias cut teddy, long line bralet, tap pant and knicker, all feature 100% cotton Nottingham lace which has been tea stained in our Brighton studio.
How to tea stain lace
Fill a large bowl with boiling hot water and add a couple of tea bags. To create darker shades just add more bags. For a lighter shade you should only use one. If you are planning on dying larger pieces of fabric or items such as pillowcases or table cloths you should use your bathtub and roughly around 20 tea bags. Allow the tea bags to brew for a couple of minutes before removing them. I would suggest you keep them to one side until you have achieved the desired shade. You can keep adding the teabags until you are happy with the colour. Once you have the correct shade and all tea bags have been removed you can add your lace or fabric and allow it to soak for 10 minutes. Then remove and gently wash in warm water. Allow the lace or fabric to dry naturally before ironing on a light setting.
Extra bit of advice: Never place your stained lace or fabric on a radiator or iron when wet as this will leave dark marks.