Make your shirt vintage with tea!

Ok, I have to tell you…I wanted to name this post, “How to tea bag a T-shirt”.  BUT I was worried about what google searches I would come up under.  We try to keep the riff-raff out over here, and I thought that title might be a slight distraction to the craft at hand ;)


So, onto vintage shirt making…

You will need:

  • a white or very light colored shirt
  • 5-6 tea bags
  • 2-3 cups white vinegar

I actually used a size small men’s v-neck undershirt for the project…

You will need a big sauce pot that you should fill about 1/3 of the way up with water and bring to a boil.  When it has reached a boil remove from heat and throw in your tea bags.

Let the tea steep in the water for 20 minutes and remove the tea bags.

Put your shirt in the tea and submerge completely, flattening out the air bubbles.  Let it sit in the tea for at least an hour…the longer it sits, the darker the color.  Also remember that the color will fade when washed, so although it might seem dark, it will certainly lighten up.

When you’re ready remove the shirt from the pot.

Rinse in the sink with cold water…

and then ring out the excess water.

Now, put the shirt in the sink and pour white vinegar over top to set the color.

Then rinse it again with water.

I then, washed my shirt in the regular wash and dried in the dryer.

When it came out I scruffed up the edges with a bit of sand paper.

I attached a few super cute flower pins I bought from the Pleated Poppy and there you have it!

*Stay tuned, though, because I am going to have a DIY on how to make the buttons yourself!

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  1. 1
    Samantha says:

    You should call it vintage tea-shirts! Love the idea, looking forward to the button how-to.

  2. 2
    Renee says:

    That’s hilarious–I’m terrible at laundry so all my white shirts look “vintage.”

  3. 3
    Ashlee says:

    Samantha I love it, ‘tea-shirts’, too cute.
    Just sent the link to my best friend and we have a new weekend project. Thanks for the great idea :)

  4. 4
    caryn says:

    seriously! You guys are just freakin’ amazing….freakin’. amazing. I. say.

  5. 5

    Such a cute idea…if I had white shirts that weren’t totally stained from my kids sticky fingers…I would make this!!! As for the post title…you so should have went with “How to Tea bag a shirt” just out of curiosity to see who would find the post, I’m sure it would be an “eclectic” mix of young teenage boys…!!!

    • 5.1
      Shelly says:

      Did you read my opening statement? I TOTALLY wanted to name the post that, but was too worried about google and all the creepers we would attract :) hahaha!!

  6. 6

    Excellent idea!

    I had to laugh about the teabag Google search because I removed the term “booty poppin’” from one of my posts because I didn’t want the riff raff at my place either! LOL

  7. 7
    John Standridge says:

    I used your tutorial to discolor a shirt for my steampunk set. Thank you so much for this.

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