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Natural Milk & Tea Dye

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Dyeing with milk and tea is a great place to start for anyone who is interested in learning about natural dyes. There are no mordants or chemicals needed, no special equipment, just basic household items. You will need some paintbrushes, a variety of teas, and some fabric. And, this is a great project to do with children!


For the fabric you will want to choose 100% natural fibers. Avoid any synthetic fibers - even just a little - as the synthetics will not be able to absorb the color. We’ll be using 100% cotton tea towels.


The magic of milk and tea lies in the proteins. The proteins in the milk bond with the fibers and absorb the color from the tea much more deeply. The higher the protein in the milk the deeper the colors you will achieve. You can play around with a variety of milks from cow milk to soy, almond, or oat milk.


This process really blurs the lines between painting and dyeing and leaves lots of room for creativity and design. Once you get the hang of it we think you will really enjoy it. So let’s have some fun and get started!

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Handwork Curriculum

1st, 2nd and 3rd Grades

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