How to Tea Stain Lamp Shades

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Things You'll Need

  • Tea (loose or bagged)

  • Bathtub or large container

Tea staining adds a subtle "antique" look to shades.

Tea staining lamp shades is a great way to add an "antique" appearance to them. It gives a subtle but distinguished look that instantly "ages" the lamp shades. Tea staining your shades is also a good way to refresh them if they have become jaded with the passage of time or have light marks that you would like to cover up. It is also cheap and simple to do.


Step 1

Run a tub or large container full of hot water (the washing machine can be used if the lamp shade will fit over the agitator part of the machine). Add loose tea or tea bags until desired water color is achieved.

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Step 2

Test a small section of similar fabric if at all possible. The stain will set differently depending on the texture and weight of the fabric. Time the soak until you are pleased with the results. Make a note of how long the fabric soaked.


Step 3

Soak each lamp shade in the tea, using a sponge or soft cloth to ensure the entire shade is soaked. If it is not possible to keep the entire shade in the water then you will have to continually wet it, rotating it in the water until it reaches the color desired.

Step 4

Rinse the lamp shade thoroughly and put it in a warm place to dry, out of direct sunlight. Empty the tub, container or washing machine and rinse thoroughly. Run the washer with some soap and no clothing to ensure it is completely clean (add a little bleach if necessary).


Add the tea bags one at a time to the hot water so that the color changes slowly--adding too many at once may make it darker than you would like. Ensure that the tea is rinsed thoroughly out of the shade when done (especially if using loose tea). Clean out the bathtub or container quickly after staining the shades, so that it does not become permanently stained.


Check the condition of the lamp shade and test a small section of fabric if at all possible to ensure the process of wetting it does not destroy it. The condition of the fabric will largely determine the quality of the staining process and how well the stain takes to the fabric.


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