How to Make the Color Ivory

tomettes et chaussures image by nancy artieres from

Dyeable accessories are a sensible solution for your wedding day. They are readily available at good prices. With some skill and patience you can make these accessories match your more expensive, designer wedding apparel. Unfortunately, the color ivory is one of the most difficult to match. It can be done, but be prepared for a time-consuming project because you will likely need to tweak the dye and dye time multiple times before you achieve the result you want. The good news is that the color ivory is inexpensive to produce because it can be made with tea.


Ensure that your accessories are dyeable. Many shoes are labeled as such, but if they are not or you plan to dye other accessories, find out if they are made of natural or synthetic fabric. Synthetic fabrics will not soak up dye, whether it is tea staining or other commercial dye products.

Purchase several types of tea. Different types of tea will produce different hints of colors. To dye fabric an ivory color, try black teas and green teas. Stay away from oolong teas, as they produce an orange tint that will be very obvious next to another ivory or white.

Purchase a test fabric. This fabric should be made from the same type of fiber and the same shade of white as your accessory that you wish to dye. If you are not familiar with fabric types, you may bring your accessory to a fabric store and ask the employees to help you find the best match.

Cut your test fabric into several small, two-inch squares.

Testing the Dye

Bring four cups of water to a boil.

Add one tea bag, and allow it to steep for about five minutes.

Remove the tea bag.

Place a square of test fabric into the tea and water mixture and stir it constantly for two minutes.

Remove the test square from the tea and rinse it with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water.

Examine the color. It will be darker when wet than when it dries.

If you believe you have a good color match, continue. If the color is off, go back to step one and adjust the tea to water ratio, the type of tea used, or the amount of time the fabric is allowed to soak in the mixture. If the color is too dark, it is best to allow less time for the fabric to soak. If the color is too light, add another tea bag to the mixture. If the tint is off, try another type of tea.

Dry the test fabric in a clothes dryer and examine the final color. In order to ensure the best results, hold the fabric next to the ivory color you are trying to match. If you are happy with the results, dye the accessory itself. If not, continue tweaking your tea and water mixture.

Note the ratio of tea bags per four cups of water you used to get the perfect shade of ivory.

Dyeing the Accessory

Place your accessory into a large pot.

Add enough water to completely cover the accessory, four cups at a time. Keep track of how much water you add altogether.

Remove the accessory from the pot.

Bring the water to a boil and add the tea bags. Remember to add enough tea bags to keep the ratio the same. For example, if you found two tea bags to be the right number in your test fabric, the ratio was two tea bags for every four cups of water. At that ratio, you would need six tea bags for 12 cups of water.

Allow the tea bags to steep for about five minutes and add your accessory.

Remove the tea bags.

Allow the accessory to soak in the mixture for the exact amount of time as your test fabric. Remember to stir the accessory constantly to ensure even dyeing.

Remove the accessory from the tea and water mixture and rinse with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water.

Place the accessory in the dryer to set the tea stain.