Tie Dyeing with nature

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Katie’s shirts were starting to look pretty scruffy by the end of winter, half of them had stains and the other half were faded. I didn’t want to buy her a whole new set of shirts, being mindful about the production process of them. And I’d already blown through the budget of buying from organic and ethical brands. I would’ve gone op shopping but they all still fit her well so I decided to dye them. We used black tea and beetroot and it turned out amazing! And it was super easy. So here’s a little how-to.


  • Old shirts, white shirts, whatever you like
  • 2 beetroots
  • 8-10 black tea bags or spoons of black tea leaves
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Elastic bands


  1. Place the clothes in a pot and cover completely with water, measuring the amount of water you put in the pot as you go. Measure out the vinegar to add 1 part vinegar for 16 parts of water. So if you added 1.6 litres of water, add 100mls of vinegar, etc.
  2. Cover the pot and simmer for about an hour.
  3. Cut the beetroot into small chunks and put it in a pot with about 3 cups of water. Cover and simmer until your clothes are ready to take off the heat.
  4. To get your tea dye ready, boil 3 cups of water, place your tea in a big bowl and pour the hot water over it. Strain or remove tea bags after about 15 minutes.
  5. Once the hour is up, strain your clothes and let them cool down.
  6. Tie your elastic bands on the clothes.
  7. Take the beetroot chunks out of the pot and put your shirt in it. Put some clothes in the tea too and leave them all for about 15 minutes.
  8. Take the shirts out, give them a good squeeze and hang them out to dry.

Done! If they smell pretty vinegary, you might want to give them a wash before wear. I haven’t had any trouble with staining other clothes but don’t take my word for it. If you’re worried, hand wash or wash separately, at least for the first wash.

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