Natural Fabric Dying With Tea

Dying fabric with tea is great because for the most part you don’t need a mordant! Tea is rich in tannins which acts as mordant, giving the dye great staying power.

Tea is still a natural dye so it will fade slightly over time, especially if you use stain removers or detergents with bleach.

For our dying project we used pure white pompom trim in anticipation for another project (you’ll see soon! I’m excited for it!)

What you will need for this project:

– White fabric

– Black tea bags (I used decaf orange pekoe but you can use anything you have around)

– Pot

– Water

– White vinegar

– TongsAny size wood. We used 1x8x8 unfinished pine.pngWe are going to be putting these pom poms somewhere where they will be in direct contact with natural light (hint hint). So even though I didn’t NEED to use a mordant, I did decide to give it an extra boost of staying power buy boiling the pom pom trim in white vinegar before I started the dying process. You can skip this if your project won’t be in direct sun light or in a high traffic area. 20200614_100750.jpgThis project is basically like making a very large and very strong cup of tea!

If you wanted the tie dye look (who doesn’t these days!?) you would want to tie the cloth off now before you start the dying process.

You’ll bring a large pot of water to a boil and add your fabric. I like to get the fabric wet first so it absorbs the natural tea dye more evenly.

Once your fabric is fully saturated go ahead and put your tea bags in.  I started off with one tea bag and let it steep for 5 minutes to get a sense of what the color would be like. For me it was too light so I added a second tea bag and let steep in the boiling water for another 5 minutes. 20200614_111237.jpg20200614_112335.jpgYou can pull the fabric out slightly with a pair of tongs to see how the color is setting and get an idea of the final product. I loved this color so I took the pot off the element and let the fabric sit in the tea bath for 24 hours.20200615_101728-1.jpgAfter a day of steeping I pulled out the fabric and rinsed it under cold water until the water ran clear. If you are doing this with clothing you will want to add an additional step here and launder it on a cold gentle cycle. 20200615_101806.jpgHang to dry- it was a beautiful day here in Toronto, Canada so I hung ours outside to dry.

I love the color and can’t wait to show you what we do with it next week!20200615_102225.jpgHere’s the natural tea dyed pom poms beside the original20200615_170943.jpgExcited about natural fabric dying as much as I am? Heres a list of other natural dying projects from us at Tall Dork and Matching

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Avocado Dying Crib Sheet

Last week I was given two large jars of avocado dye by my pall at @Backyardbedding and I showed you our ‘Ombre Avocado Dyed Macramé Cord’ project. Today I’m going to show you how you can make your own avocado dye so you can start turning your own house millennial pink.

**So far I’ve only done 3 projects with the dye, which I think is very conservative considering how much time I have right now, how easy it is, and how beautiful the dye looks. **Pats self on back**20200520_134747.jpgWhat you will need for this project:

–       Avocado pits

o   We freeze ours so we can use them as needed, just clean, pop into a ziploc bag, and you’re good to go until you need them.

–       A large pot

o   Do not use ceramic or porous material as it will stain

–       Mordant-

o   White Vinegar -1 part vinegar to 3 parts water

–       Tongs

–       Natural fabric

o   The dye will not absorb well into synthetic material Any size wood. We used 1x8x8 unfinished pine.png1.     You will place your avocado pits in a non-porous pot filled with water. Some of our pits had come apart, but no need to intentionally split them. We used about 20 pits for this pot of water (thank god baby C loves avocados!). Bring your water to a boil and let simmer on low with a lid on for 60min. Remove from heat and let sit over night for maximum color extraction. In the morning, removed pits and discard them.

o   Don’t start step 2 until step one is completed.IMG_7513.jpgIMG_7515.jpg

2.     You will need a mordant to prepare your natural fabric. A mordant is a substance used to set natural (and unnatural) dyes into fabrics. For this project we used white vinegar. Measure out 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water into a large pot, and place on stove top to boil. Once boiling gently, and carefully, using your tongues, place the fabric you are dying into the boiling pot of vinegar water. Place a lid on the pot and turn off the heat. Let fabric sit in the water bath for 1 hour.

o   After an hour, remove the lid and let water and cloth cool. About an hour. Ring out the excess water well. 20200517_175343.jpg3.     If you want to create a pattern and tie dye, this would be the time to do this. I tied off just the centre of the sheet with an elastic band. I wanted to keep it fairly simple.20200414_132929.jpgSorry this is not the crib sheet, its a previous piece I dyed to make masks out out. But just wanted to give you and idea as I forgot to take a picture of what I did for this project.

4.     Place your fabric in the avocado dye and let sit at least overnight. You can stir it around and disturb it a bit if you wanted to get the dye in everywhere. I like having the color a bit blotchy, like a very subtle tie dye, so I just shoved the cloths into the pot and left them to sit.20200518_121039.jpg5.      In the morning you can remove the cloths from the dye and rinse well under cold water until the water runs clear.

6.     Wash with gentle detergent on a cold setting by themselves so they don’t discolor any of your other cloths.

7.     Hang to dry indoors. The heat and the sun can remove some of the color.

8.      Enjoy! And tag me in your creations @talldorkandmatching on Instagram 20200520_134631.jpg20200520_134825.jpg

As a blogger, our content includes affiliate links from advertisers. We may earn money from actions readers take on these links, such as a click and purchase. However, these are the tools that we recommend fully and have helped our blog tremendously

Ombré Avocado Dyed Macaramé Cord

When my good friend over at Backyard Bedding gave me 2 large jars of avocado dye, I had to take some deep breaths and slow down before I avocado dyed everything in my house!

I’ve vowed to do one project at a time before my entire house turns millennial pink.

Here is the first of most likely many avocado dye projects: 

It’s been a year since we put up our Industrial Copper Macramé Plant Hangers. With the new gallery wall behind it, it was looking a bit monotone and crowded. So I decided to take down 2 of the hanging plants and dip dye every other fringe to add a little color.

*** I have since done a post on how to make your Avocado Dye yourself and how to dye fabric as well. Link here.**20190925_210804.jpgI will do a separate post breaking down how Backyard Bedding prepared the Avocado Dye for me. You can use any fabric or natural dye for this project.  Honestly I feel a bit silly even writing a blog post about this as it’s so very simple, but here it is!!

What you will need for this project:

–       Macramé cord

–       Avocado dye

–       Tall water containers – I used pint glasses

–       Paper towelAny size wood. We used 1x8x8 unfinished pine.pngI wanted a bit of an ombre affect to mine so I dyed my cord twice in order to intensify the color in certain areas. It takes a bit longer but I wanted a softer line where the dye started.

1.     Filling a pint glass with avocado dye I fashioned a sturdy base so I could place the pint glass under the cord and have the cord bath in the dye overnight. 20200510_163356.jpg *If your cord is not attached to anything you can simply place it into an avocado dye bath. No need for these elaborate structures.

2.     In the morning I transferred the cord from the dye bath to a cold water bath for about 5 minutes so the excess dye could leak out. I then scrunched the cord with a paper towel to get the excess water out so it wouldn’t drip on my counter and stain anything. You can use a towel is you like, just make sure it’s a towel you don’t care about or a darker color as it will stain. 20200510_162644.jpg·      This project works for macramé hangings, or ornamental fabrics as they do not need to be washed regularly. If you were using avocado dye for clothing you would need to pre-treat the fabric so it wouldn’t fade in the wash.

This made a beautiful light rusty pink on the cord. So Beautiful!

3.     I then unbraided the cord to a couple inches under where the dye stopped. This created an interesting tie dye look as the dye wasn’t able to get into the centre of the cord. You can leave it like this if you like that look, but for this project I wanted an ombre look. Once the cords were unbraided I dunked them back into the avocado dye bath overnight. This time only up to where I had unbraided to.20200511_181529.jpg20200510_163352.jpg4.     In the morning I repeated the cold water bath again. This time after I scrunched the water out of them with the paper towel, I gave the bottom of the cord a scrunch with my hand. This helped bring back some of the wave from the braid and made it look less stringy.

5.     Let dry! And Bravocado (couldn’t help myself), it’s so easy and so pretty.

We love the pop of color, its subtle and so pretty! Would love to see if you use this technique. Tag me on Instagram @talldorkandmatching20200511_181652.jpg20200511_181502-1.jpgHave you tried this project? Tag us on Instagram for a change to be featured in our stories! @talldorkandmatching

As a blogger, our content includes affiliate links from advertisers. We may earn money from actions readers take on these links, such as a click and purchase. However, these are the tools that we recommend fully and have helped our blog tremendously

DIY Barn Board

If you are following along, we are showing you little projects we did to collect enough interesting pieces together for our front hallway gallery wall. We first showed you our Quick and Easy Dried Flowers and now we are going to show you how to make a new piece of pine wood look like barn board to do a simple and minimal height chart for baby C.DIY BARN BOARD.pngwhat you will need .png

What you will need for this project:

-A light grey based wood stain. We used Weathered Oak by Minwax

-A Dark brown based wood stain. We used Provincial by Minwax

-Black paint. We used Valspar interior matte (stay away from anything gloss)

-White paint. We used Valspar interior matte (see note above)

-A piece of pine

-Old rags

-Paint brushes, we used foam brushes

*Picking out your wood: When we purchased our wood we looked for one that was already previously a bit distressed. It had a crack in the bottom and plenty of knots. The more distressed it is to start, the easier it will be for you.

1. Distress your wood. You can use anything you can find around your house or garage. We used steel wool and a mallet, but you could use cans of soup and a fork! Be creative. Anything that can make dents without breaking the wood will do. I focused heavily around the edges of the wood and the knots. I rubbed the steel wood all over the board and made small dents with the mallet to make it look older. I even rubbed gavel over parts of it. Make sure the wood is on an even flat surface so you don’t break it. A big of cracks are good but you want to keep the wood in 1 piece! Screen Shot 2020-04-29 at 3.11.47 PM.png

2. Get a base tan! For your wood of course. Getting the weathered look is all about layers. So I started with the grey based stain and poured it on the wood(not everywhere) leaving it for about 5 minutes before I rubbed it in. Making the areas under the sitting stain to darken slightly more. I then took my rag and rubbed it into the remainder of the wood.20190920_192058.jpg3. You will want to do the same with the dark brown stain next but instead you’ll want to focus your pours over the knots in the wood. That will darken the knots and add more dimension. Leave the pools of stain on the knots for 2-5 minutes before spreading it out. 20190920_192303.jpg–       I did step 2 and 3 twice. The second time focusing on smaller areas, not spreading it out over the entire plank of wood. Ie: using the dark stain and only spreading it 5-10inches around the knots. Starting to gain some contrast in colors. Use your knots as guides. Knots should be dark and become lighter as you move out. 20190920_192333.jpg4. I mixed a bit of white in with my black paint to create a dark grey and then watered it down (3 parts paint to 1 parts water) to create a thicker stain. I poured this down the centre of the wood and left it for 5 minutes. When I spread it out after I made sure to really wipe any extra away around the perimeter so it had a gradual lightening affect around the edges. 20190920_192848.jpg20190920_193056.jpg5. Time to highlight! You will use your whites to highlight your knots. The best way to make those darker knots pop is to highlight them. You’ll want to take your brush and make small brush strokes around your knots (2-3 inches away from the knot). Use your cloth to rub them in so they don’t look like lines. If you know anything about highlighting makeup, you’ll be a pro at this.20190920_193515.jpg20190925_210804.jpg*Use your eye and go slow. You can always layer more. If it gets too dark, add more light! If it gets too light, add more dark! You are working with transparent stains and light colors so it’s very easy to fix. Also the more you work at it the more layers you get = the better it will look.

Once it was dry we drilled it directly into the wall and stenciled a black Z for our last name to the top. We now use it to track Cs growth. Its functional and it looks great in our front hall.

Have you tried this project? Tag us on Instagram for a change to be featured in our stories! @talldorkandmatching

As a blogger, our content includes affiliate links from advertisers. We may earn money from actions readers take on these links, such as a click and purchase. However, these are the tools that we recommend fully and have helped our blog tremendously

Quick and Easy Dried Flowers

We’ve been wanting do a gallery wall in our front hall for a while now. First step is finding enough interesting pieces to make up a nice gallery! So I decided to make a few pieces myself using a very easy and very quick flower drying technique.

I love the simple look of specimen art so I decided to recreate that using dried flowers.

I experimented with a bunch of different flowers using a bouquet (thanks Matt) that was about to turn. I tried different ones until I got the look I wanted.QUICK AND EASY DRIED FLOWERS copy.pngWhat you will need for this project:

–       2 heavy microwave safe plates

–       Paper towel

–       Flowers or greenery

–       Frames Copy of Untitled.pngI used heavy clay plates for this project.

You will want to first prep your flowers by cutting them as close to the bud as possible. You will want your flower to be as flat as possible so get rid of anything that isn’t visually appealing and adds bulk.

You will then want to line your plate with a few sheets of paper towel. The paper towel will absorb and pull away the excess water from the flowers, allowing the flower to dry. 20190913_203215.jpgAfter the paper towel is in place you can place your flowers on the paper towel lined plate. Remember that this is how your flower is going to dry and harden so place them with care and adjust as you like. 20190913_204150.jpgPlace an additional paper towel on top of the flower and secure in place by adding the second plate on top. Like a flower sandwich with the plates as bread!Not happy I forgot to clean the microwave before I took this pic! hahaNot happy I forgot to clean the microwave before I took this pic! haha

Next is to start microwaving, this will be a bit of trial and error, so go slow. This depends on the strength of your microwave. I placed my flower sandwich in the microwave for 30 second intervals and checked them. A few of the pieces I used had a lot of moisture in them so I left them in a bit longer, and replaced the paper towel in between sessions so they would be sitting in soggy paper and were able to crisp up nicely. My average microwave time was between 1 and 1.5 minutes.

When you take your plates out of the microwave please wear gloves and be very careful. They will be very hot!

After my flowers were removed from the plates I carefully moved them to a fresh and dry paper towel to cool off and crisp up. I left them out overnight and they were perfect in the morning.20190913_204419.jpg20190913_205547.jpgI placed them sparsely in simple frames and I’m so happy with how they turned out.20190926_221423.jpg20200429_142111.jpg20200429_142130.jpgHave you tried this project? Tag us on Instagram for a change to be featured in our stories! @talldorkandmatching

As a blogger, our content includes affiliate links from advertisers. We may earn money from actions readers take on these links, such as a click and purchase. However, these are the tools that we recommend fully and have helped our blog tremendously

DIY Chalk Paint

We love chalk paint in this house! Mostly because it sticks to just about anything, plus it’s easy to clean up and has a stylish matte finish to it.

What we don’t like about chalk paint is that it comes in such a limited assortment of colors and it can be really expensive.

So when we were putting together our dining room furniture we decided to DIY some chalk paint in our own color so we didn’t have to compromise.

What you’ll need for this project:

–       Plaster of Paris

–       Flat interior paint, we use Valspar brand in the color Chimney Smoke

–       Paint stir stick

–       Sealable container

–       Measuring cup (we used an old container from the recycling)

–       Paint brush or roller

–       Gloves

–       Exacto knife (if you chose to recycle a container as your measuring cup)


We decided to mix our chalk paint in an old baby formula container. They are air tight and we go through so many, so are very glad to give them a second life when we can.

For measuring, we reused an old 500ml cream container instead of using our dishes for this. We took the old cream carton, washed it out, and used an exacto knife to remove the rim to make it easier for scooping! First thing you’re going to do is scoop a cream carton full of Plaster of Paris into your desired vessel. You’ll then mix some water into your Plaster of Paris until it’s the consistency of yogurt (not Greek yogurt!). Mix the paste for a few minutes until all the chunks has been dissolved and it’s a consistent texture. Be sure to scrape the sides of the container while you stir to make sure you mix it all.

Once your paste is a consistent texture, you can add 3 parts (3x the amount of Plaster of Paris you used) of your choice of paint. We used ‘chimney smoke’ interior paint from Valspar in a matte finish.

We used Smokey Chimney from Valspar

Here are a few examples of the paint to plaster ratio:

  • 1 part plaster to 3 parts paint
  • 1 cup of plaster to 3 cups of paint
  • 1 old milk carton full of plaster to 3 old milk cartons full of paint

 You get the idea? Use the appropriate vessel for measurement depending on how much paint you need. Go as low as 1 teaspoon of plaster to 3 teaspoons of paint, to 1 gallon of plaster to 3 gallons of paint – although I wouldn’t recommend mixing this much unless you have a huge project you’re completing quickly, but you get the point!

Mix the one part plaster paste to 3 parts paint for about 5 minutes to really make sure they are thoroughly mixed.

That’s it! You’re ready to paint!

**Things to consider:

–      Although we were very happy how to color turned out, the watering down of the paint does lighten the color slightly. So take this into consideration when choosing your color.

–       If you are doing multiple coats, remix the paint before each application as the plaster can settle.

–       Create an air tight environment for your paint if you intend to reuse it again. For example, we use an air tight emptied baby formula container, we then used painters tape to tape off where the opening of the container is, then put the container in a Ziploc bag. No air was getting in!

–       If you want more of a textured farmhouse look use a brush, it will create a bumpier finish. If you want a smoother finish, use a sponge or roller.

– Only use chalk paint in low traffic area. It is not a resilient paint.

Our first project with the chalk paint was for our dinning room table. Tutorial here!

Photo_1567262057584.jpgAs a blogger, our content includes affiliate links from advertisers. We may earn money from actions readers take on these links, such as a click and purchase. However, these are the tools that we recommend fully and have helped our blog tremendously

A Rusty Problem

If you haven’t had a chance to check out our Gold Leaf Ikea Hatten Table Hack. Please have a look for more context on this post

 Hi, Abby here!

My first inclination when I got this table was to just paint over the rust. I mean, it’s a $20 table that we found for free on the side of the road. But luckily for me, Tall Dork and Matching is a 2 person endeavour and thankfully so as it always gives both of us multiple opinions when making decisions. Matt is methodical and structured and I’m creative and whimsical. Thankfully Matt convinced me that taking the extra 10 minutes would be worth it.  Heres a few reasons:

1.   The paint would go on so much smoother

2.   The table would last longer and not rust through the paint. Even though Rustoleum claims to be able to paint over rust. I didn’t want to take that chance and add more work for myself in the future

 If you do decide to take the easier path as I initially was going to, make sure to use Rustoleum. Most paints will cover well and prevent oxygen and moisture from coming in contact with the metal, however the paint will eventually peel off.

 We have attached affiliate links at the end of this post at no additional charge to you. We will earn a commission when you link though and purchase.

Things you will need for this project:

 –      A rusty piece of metal

–      An electric sander with 360 grit and 120 grit pads

–      A cloth to wipe off the project with

–      A drop cloth

–      A spray paint of your choosing – we used Rustoleum Universal Metallic spray paint in Satin Bronze

– Face mask

– Protective eye wear

This is such an easy task if you have an electric sander, and maybe a little more work if you are doing it manually. So be like Matt, not me, and just do ALL the work.

I used the Black and Decker “mouse” sander with 120 grit pads for this project.

I didn’t bother clamping the legs down as they are round and I was nervous with the vibrations that they wouldn’t stay put. So I simply held the leg and slowly moved the sander up and down the length. It was so satisfying watching ( through my protective eye wear of course!)  the rust come off so easily!

I inspected the legs outside in the natural sunlight on all angles before I cleaned up, to make sure I didn’t miss any rust. There were a few spots I saw I missed when I saw it in natural light. So make sure to check them in different lighting to make sure you didn’t miss a spot.

Once I had removed all the rust, I went over the legs with the sander again but this time with 360 grip paper to make sure to smooth out any lines or small imperfections I made during the initial sanding.

After you sand you will want to wipe down the legs with a damp cloth and let dry completely before refinishing.

I decided to use Rustoleum Universal Metallic spray paint in Satin Bronze but you could leave them as is after you remove the rust. The spray paint however acts as a rust inhibitor and is non-toxic once dry which is ideal for a nursery.

See how we achieved this lookSee how we achieved this look

 As a blogger, our content includes affiliate links from advertisers. We may earn money from actions readers take on these links, such as a click and purchase. However, these are the tools that we recommend fully and have helped our blog tremendously