How to Make Tea Stained Paper Doilies- Bride Blogger, Amber

If you are anything like me, you love DIY projects that require very little set-up, and even fewer supplies. If it requires me to special order a part or piece on-line, or make trips to five different stores for the right supplies… it probably isn’t going to happen any time soon. That simple fact is why I love paper projects. Who doesn’t have paper lying around?

Over the weekend I did some experimenting with tea staining. Bright white papers lack personality and seem overly sterile for my tastes, so tea staining gives them just a touch of character for next to nothing. I dyed a bunch of paper doilies I recently picked up (24 for a $1 at the Dollar Store!) to see how different teas might stain different colors. (I have been toying with the idea of using them on the outside of our party crackers.)

I used a bunch of old tea I had gathering dust in my cupboards and brewed up three different batches and one additional bath made of instant espresso. The results were really awesome. I love the different tones I got from each tea bath and playing with the color intensity based on how long I let the doily soak.

Some tips for tea staining doilies:

1. Make it strong! I threw at least 5 bags in a two quart pot at the beginning and then let the water boil down to at least half way down the pot. If you want it even stronger, add more bags or boil it down further.

2. Let the tea cool completely. Patience doesn’t always come easy to me, especially when I’m riding the wave of motivation, but if you start dipping the paper in lukewarm water, the paper just tears and falls apart.

3. Dry the doilies flat between layers of newspaper or paper towel before you hang them. Initially they will be too fragile to hang from a clothes line. As they become more damp and less soaked, they will be stronger and easier to handle.

As you can see I got some great variation in color.

From left to right: Unstained doily, Rooibus Spice Tea, Espresso, Peppermint Tea, and Lemon.

My favorites are the pink tones from the lemon tea, and the burnt edge effect the espresso bath gave. Can you think of any other teas that might give me other color?


  • Reply June 5, 2013


    Thanks for the tips. I’m going to do this for place cards for my wedding. I’m going to try Mountain tea (Macedonian Tea in bud form) it will definitely be lighter in colour, but I will experiment with it. Maybe mix it with a darker tea. Thanks !

  • Reply June 12, 2013


    I did this and they turned out great!!!!!! Thank you so much for the tip!!! We are doing antique cloth doilies in the center of our tables and wanted something vintage for underneath our mismatch china. I was so proud! My kitchen looked just like your pictures. Thanks again

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