The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,760 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—9,508 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! ~MaryJane
Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life …
For this week’s Beginner Level Stitching and Crafting/Dyeing for Color Merit Badge, I was already a bit of an expert. I mean, I don’t like to brag or anything (“Toot toot!” That may or may not be the sound of my own horn.), but I have been dyeing for a long time now.
I’ve been a brunette, a strawberry blonde, a platinum bombshell, and every shade in between. I’ve had highlights and lowlights, frosted tips, and bleached roots. I’ve had Clairol and Garnier and L’Oreal. I’ve done …
Wait. That’s not what we’re going for?
Well, color me embarrassed.
(Get it? Color me?)
But I could still use my hair color know-how and safety lessons learned in my newfound adventure of dyeing other things besides my tresses. For example: preparing your workstation (or head). Always put on an old shirt that you don’t mind getting stained, and wear gloves, chickadees. Once I went Nicole Kidman-inspired red, and my palms were stained for days. It looked like I had murdered someone. I was housebound for a week, and by the time I could leave, my beautiful locks had faded to Carebear pink. Sigh. Learn from me.
Another precaution before you start playing around experimenting responsibly with dyes, is to choose products that won’t trigger a headache or stomachache, if you are prone to those niggles when an overwhelming odor assaults you. Or, if you must use a chemical-laden dye, do it outside. No one will appreciate your shade of chartreuse on your hand-dyed bedspread if you are face down in it halfway through the procedure, gasping for breath like a fish out of water.
For my first venture into the unknown of Dyeing for Color, I chose tea.
That’s right … tea. It’s not just for breakfast anymore.
I decided to dye a lovely, vintage lace tablecloth that had a roast chicken stain smackdab in the center. Up ’til now, I had simply plonked a vase of flowers right over the offending mark, but now I had a better plan. Color the whole thing Roast Chicken Drippings.
Side note: Crayola should probably hire me as a color namer. I’m really good at it. Some of the others I’m working on: Wet Seagull, Glistening Pepperoni, Vampire Skin, and Tuna Noodle Casserole Surprise.
Anyway, I was hesitant to use a good-quality tea for something that wouldn’t involve guzzling it, but then I remembered if you are cooking with wine, you should use a wine you’d like to drink. So, I figured the same rule applied here, right? So, I poured myself a glass of wine and got to work. Hee hee.
I brewed up a very large batch of Earl Grey, mixed with Oolong and just a sprinkling of Constant Comment. Your tablecloth may not be so particular, so go with your gut. Darker teas will, of course, dye your fabric a darker color, but don’t worry, even Turkish coffee won’t turn your fibers jet black.
I swirled my tablecloth around in the tea, making sure it was properly submerged and tucking it in gently. Then I left it for about 60 minutes. You can go longer or shorter; just keep checking on your fabric.
Rinse and wring out. If you don’t like the smell of tea, you can wash it out. Although, if you don’t like the smell of tea, well, there’s not a whole lot anyone can do for you.
Line dry, and enjoy your pretty new creation.
Now my tablecloth is less Roast Chicken Drippings, and more Recently Bathed Golden Retriever.
Seriously. Someone get Crayola on the line. I’m on fire.