Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How to dye wool and yarn with tea

Lately I've been needle felting hedgehogs. But before I even started the project I had a problem. I only had white wool in the house and I needed something darker for the snout. The easy solution: dyeing with tea.

This tea dyeing only works on natural fibers like wool and cotton.

Step 1:
Soak the wool/yarn in cold water with a little bit of soap for half an hour or so. Rinse the wool/yarn.
Step 1

Step 2:
Heat up tea bags in a saucepan to a simmer. Here I've heated two fresh ones, with three that had been used half an hour before. They are the cheapest tea bags I could find. Generally speaking, the more wool you have, and the darker you want the dye to be, the longer it should brew and the more tea bags you should use.
Step 2

Step 3:
After 5 or so minutes you should have a nice brown. But you can brew it for much longer than 5 minutes if you want a darker shade.
Step 3

Step 4:
Pour the dye into a large pot, and add enough water so that the wool won't be too crowded, or it might dye unevenly. Place the already rinsed wool/yarn (still wet) into the large pot. Let it soak a bit. Don't swash the wool around a lot, especially if the dye is warm. If you jostle the wool a lot, you might end up felting it.
Step 4

Step 5:
Take the wool out. The wet wool will looker darker than the final dry product. I rinse the wool, but you don't have to. The wool will get lighter if you rinse it. Pat the wool/yarn dry, then leave it to dry completely on a towel.
Step 5

Step 6:
Admire your creation!
Step 6


  1. I like how you add the photos for every step. That helps big time!

  2. Different kinds of tea will produce different colors, too. Coffee works well, too!

  3. Excellent. Saw this on totally tutorials and had to see. Like the final product. :)