I am a tea-a-holic (if you hadn't noticed already)! I never drink coffee but you will always find a tin of it in my fridge. Why? Well, although I do brew an occasional cup of coffee for my hubby, I use it mostly for staining fabric! Sometimes that perfect fabric for a project is hard to find especially when you are a perfectionist like me... this fabric is too white... that one is too bright... That's where coffee comes in.
I prefer fabrics and trims with a natural tone but sometimes they are hard to find. I will start with a fabric that has a white background, and a white cotton trim (sorry I forgot to take a before picture).
I hand-wash my trim in warm water and use a bit of soap to remove the sizing which are chemicals added to the fabric to make in more rigid and to protect it from stains. This will allow the fabric to to absorb the coffee stain evenly.
Fill a small sack with lots of ground coffee. I over-do it and use about a cup... much too strong to drink! Tie it closed and throw it into a pot of boiling water. Brew it for about 10 minutes and remove the sack.
Let your fabric simmer in the pot for 10-20 minutes depending on how dark you want to stain it. Remember: Once the fabric is dried, the stain will become MUCH lighter. Remove from the pot with tongs and immerse in very cold water with some white vinegar added. At this point, immersing the fabric in hot water would remove some of the stain. Rinse in cold water.
If you don't want to ruin your ironing board, cover it with an old pillowcase or spare cotton fabric. Iron the fabric or trim by sections with a hot dry iron until it is completely dry. The stain is now set.
Here is the fabric against a white background so you can see how it has been stained. Now, I don't use coffee purely because I would rather not sacrifice any of my precious tea... I find that different types of tea will yield different tints. Orange pekoe will give a much warmer yellow-orange tint. I prefer coffee because it produces a more neutral tint. I giggle when I think that I stain my tea fabric with coffee!
Sometimes if the colour or print of the fabric is too bright or if I want a more antique look, I will even bleach the fabric a bit before staining it. The cowboy fabric in this quilt started out as a very bright orange and green print...
See more of the Mister Peanut bunny quilt that I made in 2007 here.