Back in the 90’s the hot trend was to tea dye every bit of old lace and linens you picked up at a flea market or thrift store. The idea was to try to make the found piece look as if it had been around for ages. I can’t tell you the millions of Lipton tea bags or pots of strong coffee I used to make my own antique dye. The only problem I had with all that tea bagging and coffee dipping was the strong smell the liquids left behind on the fabric. No matter how much cinnamon or vanilla extract I added, it never quite masked the ugly smell. Then I found I could accomplish the same look without the smell with a bottle of Tan Rit Dye~man I was in tea dye heaven! A few years ago I started venturing out of my Tan Rit Dye phase and started experimenting with some of the other wide range of colors. l absolutely love to pick up a vintage white piece of linen at a thrift store and change up the color to a faded shade of blue, gray, pink or purple. I thought I would share with you how I transform thrift store linens with dye:
Thrift store linens~ 100% cotton fabric such as a pillowcase works great.
Rit liquid or powder dye in choice of color. For my example I used a box of Purple powdered dye.
Metal bucket, you can use plastic but it will leave a stain.
Tea kettle or pan to boil water. The key to getting a good dye color is really, really HOT water.
Wood spoon or stick to stir the fabric in the dye bath.
1. Wet the pillowcase with hot water and place flat on a towel making sure there are no visible creases in the fabric.
2. If using powdered dye, pre-dissolve in 2 cups hot water before adding to bucket.
3. Fill bucket with enough hot water so the pillowcase can move freely. Then add the dissolved powder or 1/2 bottle of liquid dye to the bucket of water. Place the wet pillowcase in the bucket and stir the fabric making sure that the dye is evenly distributed. The longer the fabric is in the dye will determine how dark the final color is.
4. Remove and rinse the pillowcase in warm water, then gradually cooler water until the water runs clear. Wash pillowcase in warm water with mild detergent and rinse thoroughly in cool water.
5. Dry pillowcase.
I personally like a more muted look so I don’t usually keep the linen in the dye bath for very long.
This is really easy to do and the color possibilities are endless!