Take Tea with Tina – Using Tea to Create Tilda Doll Hair

My Mum used to say that a nice cup of tea could cure all ills.  I think she was right.  For this project, I used a nice cup of tea to make a natural looking head of curly hair for my latest Tilda doll.  What do you call a doll whose hair was made from a cup of tea …?

Come and meet Tina!

Making realistic hair for a doll is always a challenge.  Buying authentic Tilda hair costs a fortune and I wanted to find a creative way of making my own, using up-cycled materials if possible.

Using natural fabric dyes is also something I plan to do a lot more of, so I thought I would start with a nice cup of tea.  Tea is one of the easiest natural brown fabric dyes you can find.  If you enjoy this post, keep reading/subscribe – there will be lots more posts about natural fabric dyes.

Here is the story of how Tina’s pretty natural looking hairdo was created …

Take Tea with Tina Featured Image

I created Tina using the same methods I have set out on previous posts, so you can refer back to those if you want further detail of how the doll herself is created.

I will reserve this post to share with you how I made Tina’s hair. I started by making a nice cup of tea.  Well actually – it was a bowl of tea with 2 teabags.

Take Tea with Tina - Dyeing Process
The Dyeing Process - A Nice Cup of Tea


Take tea with Tina - Wool Before
Donated Wool - thanks Nicky!


Take tea with Tina - Wool After

This was the oddment of wool that I started with.  It was donated by my sister – thanks Nicky!  I don’t think she envisaged me tipping a strong cup of tea all over it before I used it?

I left the wool in its dye bath for a couple of hours then washed it clean under a warm running tap for a few minutes and then wound the wool around the thickest knitting needle I could find.

I then left it to air dry overnight.

By the time the sun came up again the next morning, I had a lovely natural looking soft, light brown hair complete with little ringlets.

The tea had created a lovely range of colours in the wool.  Dark brown in the wool that had rested right next to the tea bag; pale brown in the wool that stood proud of the tea but absorbed the colour a little and several nuances of brown in between.  Really lovely and very natural looking.

It was time for Tina’s hairdresser appointment …

Heart Up-Cycling!

Take tea with Tina - Pinning for Style
Take tea with Tina - Pinning for Style

Tips and Tricks

When I make a Tilda doll’s hair, I usually use large headed pins to  create a framework to drape the hair around.  They are easier to pull out than normal pins and you don’t risk leaving one buried inside her hair.

I try to get a gentle, natural look to my dolls hairstyles.  They need to be firmly fixed, but left with enough give and flounce to look convincingly real.  You need to be firm – but very gentle at the same time.

Take tea with Tina - Hair styled
Hair styled and ready for felting
Take tea with Tina - Needle Felting
Needle Felting the Hair
Take Tea with Tina
Tina's Finished HairDo

I secured the hair with a fine tipped felting needle and then removed all the pins.

After felting, the hair was secured firmly into place using a single strand of hair coloured cotton thread and tiny hand stitches.

Tina - All finished and ready to go to the Carnival

Take Tea with Tina Featured Image
Take Tea with Tina
Take Tea with Tina - Dyeing Process

Tina’s first outing will be to Harborne Green Village Fete next Sunday 12th September where she will be keeping me company on Birmingham St. Mary’s Hospice stand.

Take Tea with Tina - Back View

See you There?!

This year, the Harborne “Green” Village Fete is focussing on being environmentally conscious – a perfect fit with the ethos of Heart Up-Cycling.

Tina New Home - Georgia USA

Tina’s new home is with Judy in Georgia, USA.  I am sure she will be very well cared for.

Read more about Tilda Dolls

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Beverly Wagoner

    I live in Denver,. CO and am having difficulty finding local sources for Tilda doll making hair, accessories etc.
    Have you found a good source for ordering online?
    Thanks, Beverly


      Hi Beverly. I stopped buying genuine Tilda doll hair a while back. I found that any 100% wool works well and now purchase wool from small farms in the UK that keep alpaca goats/rare breed sheep etc. Much cheaper, great quality and supports small businesses. I am just waiting to take delivery of 8 balls of assorted colour browns/blondes. Good luck with your sourcing – and your Tilda doll making. Let’s keep in touch …


        PS – The very best supplier I have found of alpaca wool is Elaine Robins – Edge Fold Wools and Yarns. Elaine.robins@talk21.com. http://www.edgefoldwoolsandyarns.co.uk. She obviously isn’t local to you, but would give a reasonable price for a bulk order I would think? Her wools are just perfect for Tilda dolls and come in all hair shades. Enjoy!

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