Tea Staining (or The Saga of the Bedspread, Part I)

I found this sweet bedspread last week while my son and I were garage-saling.

Yes, you read that right…my SON.  He wanted to come, and I wasn’t about to turn down one-on-one time with the boy who just hit 6′!  But I digress…

I’ve always wanted a summer-weight bedspread.  It feels more than a little foolish to make the bed each morning with a heavy, made-for-Scandinavia comforter when the temps for the day will be in the triple digits.  My husband or I just shove it on the floor each evening, and then hit the repeat button in the morning…

Back to the garage sale:  there was a reason this beauty was so well priced.  It had a bleach spot.  Nothing hideous, but neither was it going to be hidden under shams and throw pillows.  Caught in the grips of indecision, yet doing my best to keep the morning memorable and fun for the son, I took the plunge to purchase it when the seller suggested “it should be easy enough to tea stain…”


I’ve tea-stained plenty of projects before from paper to pillow shams, so this project seemed simple enough. Seemed… But the size of the project had me a little daunted. I scanned the web for ideas: buckets, bathtubs, stove top (!) until I hit upon my very own solution:
I fooled around with the knobs until I found the setting that would plug the drain and allow liquid to pool in the tub.
I boiled up two huge pots of water, waiting for a full rolling boil before adding handfuls of teabags. IMG_2860
Impatient as ever, I only allowed the tea to steep for 3-4 minutes and then I dumped it into the washer. The bags were impossible to retrieve, bobbing up and down, and sliding beneath the agitator. I knew time was of the essence once the water started to cool, so I decided to forge ahead. After adding hot water, I shoved in the bedspread and allowed the machine to agitate
And just to be on the safe side, I donned my trusty rubber gloves and sloshed the bedspread around myself too. It was hot work with steam billowing past my face and tea sploshing everywhere.

And the result…nada, nothing, ZILCH. Unless you count the spots on the bedspread that came into direct contact with the tea bags. They are a deep and lasting shade of brown. Oh, and that original bleach spot? It took the stain beautifully.

(I’d insert a picture here, but I cannot bring myself to document such complete failure)

I’ve been spending no little time on the Rit Dye website lately. We’ll see if I can muster the nerve to attempt that. But in the meantime, I’m having a great time watching my guys launch the Estes Rockets my 6′ son bought on our garage-sale excursion.  At least one of us is happy with our purchases!