Monday, August 29, 2016

How To Tea Stain IKEA Linens

I love IKEA. When I visit a store (which is not that often), I'm usually overwhelmed and amazed...floor after floor, room after room, so many things to see. It's like walking through a catalog or magazine. It is so easy to become a kid in a candy store. "I want one of these, and one of these, and one of those, too!"

There are some bargains that are just too good to pass up. Take, for instance, the IKEA feather down pillow inserts. SO cheap! And the pillow covers? You can find a zippered cover for $6. I couldn't make one for that price.

So last winter, I came home from an IKEA shopping trip with some of these lovely buffalo check Smanate and Akerkulla pillow covers. And while I loved their crisp colors in the store, they just looked too stark in my home decor.

This weekend, I had the bright idea to tea stain these linens.

I put on the tea kettle and got to work.

To begin with, you will want to wash the linens ahead of time. Do not use fabric softener. Just rinse with water. Let them dry completely. (I will show you why this matters later).

For starters, you will need big bowls, or a work sink or bucket will do nicely. I used five Lipton tea bags, fully caffeinated. I let the tea bags steep for at least fifteen minutes, then removed them and inserted my pillow cover.

I let the cover soak for at least an hour, turning frequently so that the coverage was even. After that, I squeezed out the tea water and put the pillow cover outside to dry.

Jemma thought they smelled pretty good, too!

While I still had all of this perfectly good tea water waiting, I decided to stain the Akerkulla cover as well. I had washed it, but it was not fully dry when I began the process. For this reason, it did not stain quite as darkly as the other cushions, but I was fine with that. I really just wanted to bring the white down a notch or two.

An hour or two later, and the covers were still a little damp, so I threw them in the dryer with some old towels we use for rags. I let them tumble dry, then quickly removed them and pressed them with the iron. I think this does a good job of heat setting the dye. You may want to protect your ironing board cover by laying a towel over it first. I did not, and didn't have any tea residue at this point as the items were completely dry.

* Only use towels you don't care about, as they will become a bit tea stained as well.

*Remember to wipe down everything after the job, including that drying rack! It would be a terrible thing if you laid your nice white denim jeans on that rack and gave them a funky striped tea stain pattern. Unless that's the look you were going for...but I doubt it.

And here's the finished result!

Perfect! The tea stain softened the gray, and took the harsh white down to a nice ecru. This looks so much more like the decor in my house now.

And here is the Akerkulla embroidered cushion cover next to the Smanate cover. You can see that it's just a bit lighter. I love it! It now looks like the sort of vintage linens you'll find at a flea market. Jemma loves it, too!

A little bit of autumn is creeping in to my home decor. I can't help myself! I love this time of year, when all the world mellows to a golden hue.

The front entry is now ready to embrace fall.

Blessings on your Monday, cafe friends!


  1. What a great idea! They're beautiful! I am anxiously awaiting fall decor too!

  2. Neat transformation! I also put out my small collection of velvet pumpkins last week! The rich colors of autumn are my favorites!