Vintage Tips – Staining with Tea for a Classic Vintage Look

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Renatl NC

Want the classic creamy vintage color for a tablecloth, lace overlay or any piece of cloth?  Try using a tea stain!  It’s easy, inexpensive and fast.

This past week I was on the hunt for a few more lacy overlays for Casi’s upcoming wedding. I finally found one beautiful crocheted tablecloth with several stains and one white lace overlay.  They had the dimensions I was looking for but I needed to do a bit of work on both.  For one I needed to get the stain out and the other I needed to put the stain in!

The stained crocheted cloth had to be carefully soaked.  After soaking in Oxiclean and gently washing 3 times followed by a concentrated overnight soak and a final wash, it is now ready.  I should have taken a before photo but you can definitely appreciate the after. So beautiful!Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

The white overlay had to be treated in an entirely different way – I had to stain it.  I wasn’t sure if it was going to work because it’s not a cotton material but it did!  Here are the easy steps.

First, steep the tea.  I used 5 family size bags and added  hot water to a pitcher under my Keurig machine.  I ran the water 4 or 5 times until the tea bag released all the tea color.  After stopping up my stainless steel kitchen sink, I added the brewed tea and enough water to cover the cloth.  One tip that was shared by the antique dealer I bought it from was to make sure the tea was evenly distributed so I used a wooden spoon to stir the tea.  Then I added the cloth.

I quickly made sure all of the cloth was getting soaked in the tea.  Standing there at the sink, I continuous moved the cloth through the tea water.  Periodically I lifted it up to check on the color.  When I got the soft creamy color I wanted, I wrung it out and put it in the dryer under low heat with a lavender dryer sheet.  Don’t rinse or you’ll lose some of the color but the good news is that if you stain too much, you can rinse some of it out before drying. Also note that the dryer may pick up some tea stain so after I dried this lacy overlay, I put in a brown towel to clean off any of the tea color on the dryer drum.

Here’s the before and after!

The perfect creamy color!  Now I have to remember to hand wash this as recommended but that’s no biggie because I can always dye it again. Want to add a little vintage color?  Use tea!  These and other lovely vintage overlays, crocheted and lace, are available at Southern Vintage Table.  Our inventory is growing and we have many different sizes available.!

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Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC