On Friday’s fall decor post, I shared the new fall watercolour pillow covers I’d bought from Craftberry Bush. They were just the pop of colour I was looking for in our living room, but I’ll admit that when the pillows first showed up I was really worried about them.
They were bright white, which would be great if you had bright white in your room, but all of my other throw pillows are off white. The bright white (left) made everything else look really dirty. After testing out natural tea dyeing on one pillow (right) I was sure that I could keep the vibrant watercolour design, while toning down the bright white background.
You can use this natural method of dyeing for most types of fabric. These pillow covers are polyester, which I was worried wouldn’t absorb the dye, but so far they’ve been going strong for the last few weeks. Cotton based fabrics may absorb the dye faster, so check them frequently while doing this process.
If you’re going to do this in your kitchen sink like I did, give it a thorough cleaning first.
Fill the sink up halfway with hot water and toss in 5-6 tea bags. I used Red Rose Orange Pekoe. Let the bags steep for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Take the tea bags out of the water…
…and squeeze out the excess liquid. Continue with all the tea bags and discard. Stir the solution again.
Rinse the pillow cover (or whatever you’re dying) in water and then submerge in the tea solution. Swish it around until all the fabric is saturated.
Once everything is soaked, place heavy glass dishes to keep the fabric submerged.
Check on the fabric every 10 minutes to see how it is taking the dye. I found that with two pillow cases in the solution, it took 40 minutes to get the ivory colour I was looking for.
Rinse out the tea solution and hang the pillow covers to dry. As they dry, the colour will lighten. If the colour is too light, you can re-dye the covers and if it’s too dark they can be washed. The colour will fade with each washing.
The difference may seem subtle in this picture, but in real life it gave the pillow covers a very soft off-white look that was just what I wanted to complement the rest of my fall decor.