Tea Dying

Discussion in 'Finishing Techniques' started by Whystler, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. Whystler
    Whystler New Member

    Here is a photo of my Nocturnal Timepiece printed in White Detail Material after tea dying:


    This piece was put in a strong cup of cold Red Rose tea overnight. Afterwards, I used a paper napkin to dry and buff it.

    I love the warm aged look the tea dying gives the item!!! This piece is now permanently dyed. I does not wash off, even when scrubbed. Not even a little.

    I also tried it on a small greenman bead made of the transparent detail material. It works just as nicely and gives the piece a nice aged amber look.


    (ADDITIONAL NOTE 04/14/09: Tea Dying does not take on the SWF material)

    Last edited: Apr 14, 2009
  2. bvicarious
    bvicarious New Member
  3. madox
    madox New Member
    That is indeed cool!!!
    I was about go to shopping to try your fabric dye idea too...just don't know whereabouts I could go to get some...
  4. Whystler
    Whystler New Member
    I got my RIT dyes from Zellers ... It's a Canadian department store, so I don't know if you've heard of it. Sometimes you can find fabric dyes in hardware stores (like Canadian Tire) ... but I assume you would be able to source this dye from Walmart, or stores that sell fabric and crafts.

    I just searched the Walmart website now .. and there is no fabric dye on the site, but I did find this:


    Now, remember that I used RIT dyes. If you use any other dye, you'll have to do your own tests about how much you need for it to look light or dark enough.

    Aha, here is the RIT dye site:


    Last edited: Jan 9, 2009
  5. madox
    madox New Member
    Now we really are polar opposites (Australia here).

    Just got an idea I might try out today but afraid it'll probably 'wash off'...
    Soft drinks! Fanta...Coke...etc have lots of colouring in them...
    Might as well try
    Hard drinks! Red wine! Bourbon!

    Hmmm the possibilities... will report back :)
  6. Whystler
    Whystler New Member

    ooOOOHhhhhh red wine .... It does a good number on livingroom carpet, so why not plastic?

  7. lorddarthvik
    lorddarthvik New Member
    That Tea Dying looks great! I´ve seen the picture of your nocturnal many times but always thought it was spray painted :)

    About the Coke, I wouldn´t try it! Cokes made up of a lot of acid and sugar, sugars gonna make your item sticky, and the acid may melt it. You can try, but don´t be dissapointed if your item melts into it under 2-3 nights! I would go for some cheap alternative of Fanta and such drinks, one which has lots of coloring additives in it. The ones that even paint your tongue red or yellow would probably make a better paint finish.

    Red wine sounds good, the alcohol probably doesn`t hurt the material. I hope someone has a piece to try it on, so we can see if it works!

    (ps: coke can even melt rubber a bit, in RC car racing we used coke to make tha tarmac grip better! Also if you have an old tooth laying around, you can put it into some coke, wait a few days, and then try to find it. It will dissolve. I never believed this one myselfs until I tried...)
  8. rakkar
    rakkar New Member
    maybe you can try using coffee
  9. Whystler
    Whystler New Member
    Since the last post, I have tried both coffee and red wine. The coffee looks pretty much identical to the tea dying.

    The red wine dye was a purplish-reddish-brownish.. very nice. I'll add pictures soon.

  10. madox
    madox New Member
    I tried fanta and red wine as well :)

    Fanta came out a bit botchy, red wine was consistent and pretty decent.
  11. Whystler
    Whystler New Member
    hey Mad,

    What material did you dye?

    I tea died and coffee died white detail nicely. I tea died SWF with a blotchy/non existant result. I wine died transparent detail nicely, but I would like to see the wine dye on white detail too.

  12. Kitty
    Kitty New Member
    I think any food-coloring would do :)
    I use food-coloring to dye PU resins when i need a colored cast.
    I think it also would work on the plastics that shapeway uses.
    If it can absorb tea, it can absorb any foodcolor diluted in water.

    Probably inks for fountainpens diluted in some water will work as well and they sell that in different colors as well.
    I think that would even work better than foodcolors.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2009
  13. Dark
    Dark New Member
    looks good, what process do u guys use to actualy dye the part?

    ive dyed stuff in the past and we always do that in boiling water.. the part will take more color that way

    is that the method used for the parts we see in the pic or it was made at room temp?

    i will get my first batch of part printed soon, and it is sure one of the first thing i will try

    im looking to get a deep/opac black color for the WFS and the WD material

  14. Whystler
    Whystler New Member
    For tea dying, I put two tea bags into a very large cup or small bowl, add hot water from the kettle, and let it steep.

    For tea, it doesn't seem like hot water makes much difference in the dying process. So I like to let it cool so as not to compromise the material. I cool it by letting it sit, or sometimes chilling in the refridgerator for a short amount of time. Other times, if I'm not looking for a strong tea finish, I add cool water.

    However, for fabric dyes, it's best to use hot water. RIT dies instructions suggest boiling the bath on the stove and dipping your fabric in while it is still very hot. I don't recommend this, because the colour becomes VERY deep. If you do this with purple, for instance, you will make your piece black.

    Instead, use a dye bath of boiled water from the kettle, and place this in a container on the counter. Once the dye bath is mixed (about a 1/4 of a RIT packet per cup), then dip your item into the bath for less than 5 seconds. That's right *five seconds* ... or 1/12th of a minute. Got it? :) A very very short time. And then you will get close to the colour of your dye, if not a bit darker.

    I suppose for black dye, it wouldn't matter really because you want black, and you can't really get any deeper.

    Good luck. Again, from my experience, RIT dyes are the way to got for colour, and for black.

  15. Marleen
    Marleen New Member
    hi Whystler,
    Do you use magic tea bags? One of my prints in WSF has been in a tea solution for three days now and nothing really happened besides making it a bit yellowish... (3 bags english breakfast tea)

    If tonight it still didn't work, I think I'll try the coffee.


  16. daddymack
    daddymack New Member
    lol, I thought the the same thing when Whystler first posted this thread. The nocturnal has a real magical charm tea dyed, my stuff ended up just looking dirty...

  17. Whystler
    Whystler New Member
    I guess you all didn't see this in a follow up post here :) I have only tea died white detail and transparent detail with success. I had nearly no success tea dying the SWF material. Sorry I didn't make that clear in the very first post.

    However, the SWF material colours quite strongly with fabric dyes.

    Magic Tea Bags no ... but with magic mushrooms, you can turn anything every colour :)

    Last edited: Apr 14, 2009
  18. Marleen
    Marleen New Member
    :p LOL
    Thank you... yes I missed your remark. Well, I think I am go to buy some dye. The coffee didn't work either. It just looks ugly now. If that doesn't work, I'll think I will make daddymack happy, by buying a new loverslight.

  19. daddymack
    daddymack New Member
    Mmm... Muushroooms... Now I understand :cool:
  20. Dark
    Dark New Member
    thanks Whystler, that sound good
    thats what i use to dye my stuff, RIT dye

    i will post my results once i get my first run of part
    (are we not supose to get a tracking # once the order is printed and shipped? ordered 1 week ago and still havent had any news yet, no mail, no tracking #.. nothing!?! :confused )