Hundred Acre Floral

DIY – How to easily make Vintage Looking Fabric

Want a Vintage Styled look?

Would you like to recover your favorite chair with vintage-looking fabric?

Distressing or creating a weathered look on a piece of furniture or an accent piece is a popular and decorative design style.  Distressing furniture makes furniture look older, worn, or less than perfect.  Sandpaper or paint stripper is used to remove some of the paint but not all of it. This gives the furniture a worn look.

There are many techniques to age furniture.  Distressing, whitewashing and antiquing are just a few.

Did you know you can tea stain fabric and achieve the look of worn or old fabric?  Want to recover your favorite chair with vintage-looking fabric?  I’ll show you how.

It’s as easy as making tea!

Different flavor tea bags can dye fabrics in different colors.  A spiced tea will give the fabric a red tint.

Here’s how to achieve a weathered look with cotton or linen fabric.  You can tea stain silk and wool also.  If you want a vintage look though – you’ll want to use either cotton or linen fabric.

This material was stained with the look of dark stains and spills.  You can stain fabric for your project evenly or with lighter or darker stains and spots – it’s up to you.

Use a neutral color fabric-like beige or off-white or fabrics with prints and colors.  It’s a good idea to stain neutral colors separate from fabrics of color. Before you begin, clip a corner or small piece of fabric.  It’ll be fun to compare the difference in the fabric after you’re finished staining.

Let’s get started

For this project, you’ll need:

  • Your Fabric
  • Water
  • Large Stock Pot to boil water in
  • White Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Tea Bags
  • Large Container for rinsing the fabric
  • An Iron to set the color

Step 1 – Boil Water – Add water to a large stock pot for boiling. Boil Water. Remove the stock pot of boiling water from the burner. Add salt and large tea bags. Note: For every 4 cups of boiling water add 2 tablespoons of salt.

Step 2 – Let the tea bags steep in the water for 15 minutes. Check the water to see if the water is dark enough for your project.  If not, let the tea bags steep longer until you have the desired color.

Step 3 – Remove the tea bags. Add the fabric to the tea and stir. The stock pot should be large enough to move the fabric freely in the tea. Let the fabric sit for about 15 minutes.

Note: If you’d like, you can strain the tea before adding your fabric.

When you remove the fabric from the tea it will look or appear darker than when it is dry.

Step 4 – Remove the fabric from the tea and rinse with cold water.  Twist the fabric until damp. 

Step 5 – In a large container add a 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar to 4 quarts of cold water.  Add fabric to the cold water.  Move fabric around to make sure it’s completely covered.

Let the fabric sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 6 – Remove the fabric from the container and wring the water from the fabric.  Fabrics can dry in the sun or use the dryer until the fabric is damp.  

Step 7 – Iron fabric to dry and set the color.

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