Aged to perfection

Today’s washing day. . . and there’s been plenty of it too. We unfortunately had some extreme weather conditions over night that resulted in a flooded studio again. Luckily I heard the rain intensifying and was able to get out there before the big deluge came. Needless to say, there was lots of soggy wet towels and drop cloths that requiring cleaning this morning.

It’s still pretty hot and humid here, so a few hours of sunshine this morning was all that was needed to dry out the wet floors of the studio and the towel supply, ready for the storms predicted this evening. . . such strange weather we are having!!

Anyway, I figured that I may as well make washing day fun and have been staining muslin fabric ready for my next lot of crafty projects.

If you love the look of aged, antique fabric then you have probably at some stage dyed your own fabrics too. Over the years, I’ve tried most types of dying. . . tea, coffee, ink and my favourite, Parisian essence. They all vary slightly in their colour from light tans to dark browns.

These little muslin bags drying out in my lavender patch only got a quick dip in the dying solution, as I only wanted a soft warming of the colour to give them an aged look.

There are lots of variants when dying fabric. . . rate of dilution, how long you leave fabric in solution, drying techniques etc. In my experience, the differences between tea staining & coffee staining are subtle. Tea is lighter and gives a slightly yellow 'dirty' look. Coffee seems browner and gives an 'older' appearance. Although I love the colour of coffee staining , I rarely use it as coffee is much more aromatic than tea and the finished item retains the coffee smell for a fair while.

Tip: Generally, the colour will dry lighter than it looks wet.

My favourite recipe uses Parisian essence and gives a deeper brown appearance. This method requires a bucket of solution using the ratio 1 tablespoon of Parisian Essence to 1 litre of warm water. I’ve found 2 litres of solution is usually enough for most projects, but if you want to dye a larger quantity of fabric to store for future projects, increase the amount of solution.

Note: Parisian Essence is found in the cooking isle of the supermarket – usually where the baking essences are.

Recipe for tea staining:

Bring water to a boil, remove from heat.  Half fill bucket with hot water and add 6 tea bags - let sit until desired colour is achieved.  A few minutes will usually be fine. Remove tea bags. This is important. If you leave tea bags in the water and they come into contact with the fabric, it could result in darker stains on the fabric.

Before dipping your fabric into your tea mixture, soak the fabric until completely saturated and gently squeeze out any excess water. Now place your fabric in your tea mixture and stir gently with a wooden spoon. The fabric stain will appear darker when it is wet. Allow your fabric to sit in mixture until the desired colour is reached. 

Once you've obtained the desired colour, remove the fabric and rinse well with warm water and a little mild dish washing liquid.  This is also very important because tea contains acids and if left on the fabric, it can ultimately weaken your fabric if not rinsed out. Hang your fabric to dry completely.

Tip: wear rubber gloves when dying fabric.

It seems no matter who you talk to, they have their own recipe for adding that time worn appeal to their crafting fabrics. What’s your favourite dying recipe?

Hugs ~ Kerryanne