How to Tea Stain Lace Curtains

Bright white lace curtains can sometimes look too new, especially if your room decor has an old world or country feel. Staining cotton lace curtains in a tea solution is a simple way to give lace a gentle antique appearance. If you have any spare scraps of lace, experiment with different teas before staining your curtains because the resulting color will vary depending on the tea used.

Create a lovely old-fashioned look with tea dye.

Step 1

Put the four pints of water and the 20 teabags into the saucepan and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 15 minutes, then remove the teabags.

Step 2

Place the lace curtains into the simmering tea water and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. 

Step 3

Prepare a setting solution in the plastic bowl, allowing 1/2 cup of white wine vinegar to every 3 cups of cold water.  Place the lace curtains into the setting solution and leave them to soak for 15 minutes.

Step 4

Rinse the lace curtains in clean water, then allow them to dry before pressing them.  You can either hang them and allow them to dry naturally or use a tumble dryer set to gentle.

Things You Will Need

  • 4 pints water
  • 20 teabags
  • Stainless steel saucepan
  • Plastic bowl
  • White wine vinegar
  • Cold water


  • Use more water and tea bags if your curtains are very large. Simply keep the ratio of five tea bags to every pint of water.
  • If the first staining doesn't give you sufficient depth of color, repeat the process to create more depth, or a darker stain. Conversely, immediately rinsing the lace in clean water when it comes out of the tea solution will wash some of the color out, so if the color looks too dark you can lighten it by giving it a quick rinse before putting it in the setting solution.
  • The curtains will look darker when they are wet than when they are dry, so allow for this lightening effect as the fabric dries when you're deciding if your curtains have a deep enough color.


  • The tannins in tea can cause the fabric to deteriorate over time, so avoid staining heirloom lace curtains or special curtains that you want to hand down through generations.

About the Author

Deborah Jones started her freelance writing career in 1990. Her work has appeared in The Writer's Forum, "Reader's Digest" and numerous D.C. Thomson magazines. Jones has a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and a postgraduate certificate in education, both from the University of Derby.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images