How to dye paper with tea bags

Written by jenny harrington Google
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How to dye paper with tea bags
Any type of tea works well for dyeing. (Saddako/iStock/Getty Images)

Tea provides a natural dye that gives an aged look to papers. The colour of the dye depends on the type of tea. Black teas give a tan, parchment-like colour while orange pekoe gives a peach tint to the paper. The colour produced by herbal teas depends on the contents of the tea bag, but can range from pale green or pink to tan. Experiment with different types of tea and papers to find the colour of dye that appeals to you the most.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tea bags
  • Spoon
  • Slotted spoon
  • Pan
  • Paper
  • Paper towels

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  1. 1

    Fill a pot with 1 litre (2 pints) of water. Place 10 tea bags in the water and bring the liquid to a boil.

  2. 2

    Boil the bags for 15 minutes to extract as much dye as possible. Stir constantly and squeeze the bags with the spoon, which helps force the dye out of the bags.

  3. 3

    Lift the tea bags from the water with a slotted spoon. Pour the tea liquid into a shallow pan.

  4. 4

    Slide the paper sheet into the tea dye. Allow it to soak for one to two minutes then remove.

  5. 5

    Lay the paper on top of a paper towel. Lay a second towel on top and press lightly so that the excess liquid is absorbed. Let the paper air dry completely.

Tips and warnings

  • Crumple up the paper before dyeing to give more of an aged look to the finished paper.
  • Paint the tea dye on with a sponge or brush, or use the tea bags as a brush.
  • Iron the paper with low heat after dyeing if you prefer it perfectly flat.
  • Coated papers, such as those used in laser printers, do not absorb dyes.

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