05th Oct2011

Tea Staining

by Dinah Wulf

Tea staining is a great technique for aging or antiquing clothing.  Nonetheless, it comes in handy for DIY Halloween costumes as well.  I am making headless zombie costumes (tutorial coming soon!) this year, and tea staining came in handy to age my zombie attire.  It also works great to dress up those DIY Halloween props such as stuffed scary “visitors” sitting on your front porch.

Here is a step by step tutorial on tea staining. The materials you will need are as follows.

  • Light colored clothing, pre-washed
  • Tea bags
  • Tea kettle
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Vinegar (optional)

Step one: Fill a tea kettle with water, and boil the desired amount of tea bags.  The more tea bags you use, the darker the stain.  For this tutorial, I used five tea bags.

Step two: Fill the bucket with hot water and saturate the clothing you are staining.  Use a wooden spoon to dunk the garments.

Step three: When the tea is ready, pour out most of the water in your bucket, and then pour the brewed tea into your bucket.  Use the spoon to stir and soak the garments.

Step four: If desired, leave the tea bags in the bucket for a darker stain.   Let the garments soak for several minutes.  The longer the soak, the darker the stain will be.  Remember, the garment will dry lighter than the color it appears to be when it is wet.

Step five:  When your garment reaches the desired color, rinse it out with cold water.  Another option is to rinse the garment in vinegar to set the stain.  If you are making a Halloween costume, I don’t think the vinegar rinse is necessary. Once your garment is rinsed, dry it in the dryer with warm heat.

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